On Christmas Day, Debbie Oates will settle down with her family to watch Coronation Street just like millions of others around the country.
But Debbie will be an even more avid viewer than most – because she actually wrote the episode.
The festive twists and turns in the lives of the Croppers, the Barlows and the McIntyre-Platt-Tilsleys all came from Debbie’s fertile imagination.
“It was a real privilege to write the Christmas episode,” she said.
“I’ve written a few memorable episodes, like Mike Baldwin’s funeral, Becky’s exit and Roy and Hayley’s second wedding, but this was the first time I’ve been given the Christmas one.”
Debbie began writing for the nation’s favourite soap in 2002 and says: “It’s a huge responsibility.
“Coronation Street is like one massive machine, a huge employer with lots of different skills.
“There’s 40 of us on the writing team who meet every three weeks for two days. We have 70 regular characters to write for and it can get very heated!
“The Roy and Hayley cancer storyline has been an absolute gift and I enjoy writing for Norris and Rita too. When I first started and I was watching my first episode in the pub with a load of mates, and when Rita said something that I’d written, having grown up watching the show, it was amazing.”
Debbie has also worked closely with fellow Corrie scriptwriter Peter Whalley from Hest Bank, who recently retired after 35 years of working on the Street.
The Corrie scriptwriter’s work is well-known to Lancaster audiences too, as she penned The Dukes theatre’s current festive play ‘A Christmas Carol’.
She has known Dukes director Joe Sumsion since they met at Bristol University.
“I love Lancaster, I’ve been to the city quite a bit doing research for the show.
“I found out a lot about local history, spoke to people at the Visitor Information Centre, and found out about local ghosts like Mary Holden, who poisoned her husband, and the Grey Lady who haunts the Grand Theatre. I wrote them into the show and I’m delighted that people seem to enjoy it.”
You can see Debbie’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol at The Dukes in Lancaster until January 4. Call 01524 598500 to book.