Emmerdale‘s series producer Gavin Blyth has died at the age of 41, ITV has confirmed.
The show chief – who took office at the Yorkshire-based soap in January 2009 – passed away last night following a short period of ill health.
An Emmerdale spokesperson said today: “It is with great sadness that we confirm our series producer Gavin Blyth passed away last night after a short illness.
“Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this terrible time. He will be greatly missed by us all. Gavin leaves his wife Suzy and children Tom, 15, Anya, 11 and Carter, aged 1.”
Blyth first joined the world of soap in 2002, when he landed the job of senior publicist at Emmerdale. He later secured the position of script editor at the programme.
In 2005, Blyth became a story associate at Coronation Street before moving onto the role of assistant producer.
After returning to Emmerdale in the position of series producer last year, he began steering a major revamp of the rural soap. His decisions included introducing the Sharma and Barton families, bringing back the characters of Cain and Charity and signing up a number of new cast members, including Kim Thomson, James Sutton, Suzanne Shaw and Pauline Quirke.
Sally Spode’s evil revenge on village vicar Ashley Thomas, the tale of Mark Wylde’s murder and Aaron Livesy’s sexuality struggle were among the successful storylines which appeared on screens during his time with the soap.
Paying tribute to Blyth, Emmerdale‘s executive producer Steve November said: “Gavin has made an immense contribution to Emmerdale since taking over as series producer in January 2009 and during many hugely successful years at ITV.
“As a friend and colleague, he will be missed an incredible amount by us all. It is a very sad day for everyone at Emmerdale. Our thoughts are with Gavin’s family and those closest to him at this difficult time.”
Tributes have today flooded in for Emmerdale‘s series producer Gavin Blyth, who passed away last night at the age of 41.
Members of Emmerdale‘s cast and crew, fans of the soap and colleagues from Blyth’s time at Coronation Street are among those who have spoken of their admiration for him over the past few hours.
Writing on Twitter earlier today, Danny Miller – who plays Aaron Livesy on the show – commented: “A friend, a incredibly intelligent man, great father and husband! And a true gent!! God bless you mate and may you rest in peace! … Wouldn’t be the person I am today without the legend that is Gavin Blyth! Amazing man! Love him!”
Lyndon Ogbourne – who recently bowed out as Nathan Wylde – said: “Gavin Blyth was a friend, a total gent and a true legend. For everything that he did for me, and everyone. RIP.”
Suzanne Shaw – Eve Jenson in the soap – told her online followers: “Someone makes the world special by just being in it. Gavin RIP x”
Jake Roche – known for his guest role as Isaac Nuttall – said: “Just found out about the news of Gavin Blyth. Shocking. I owe him a lot. He had the final say on casting. RIP. a true gent and genius x”
Kirsty-Leigh Porter, who plays bad girl Roz Fielding, and Emmerdale‘s assistant producer Tony Hammond both spoke of how they felt “honoured” to have worked for Blyth, while programme director Lee Salisbury said that the show chief “will be missed so much”.
Coronation Street actor Antony Cotton (Sean Tully) also expressed his sadness on Twitter, while Weatherfield scriptwriter Jonathan Harvey described Blyth as a “lovely man” and “a real laugh”.
On the DS forum, meanwhile, Emmerdale fans praised Blyth’s revamp of the village serial, which began when he took office in January 2009 and resulted in a significant boost in ratings.