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From Sunderland to Weatherfield: Graduate lands dream TV role

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Published on 11 January 2023

Katie Stubbs on the Coronation Street set
Katie Stubbs on the Coronation Street set

Despite only graduating six months ago, Katie Stubbs has already bagged herself a job on one the world’s longest-running soaps.

The 22-year-old is currently working on the iconic ITV show – Coronation Street – as a 3rd Assistant Director (AD).

The role sees her out on the famous cobbles coordinating extras, preparing and cueing them as well as sometimes directing them in any required background action. 

Katie, who graduated from the University of Sunderland with a BA (Hons) Screen Performance degree in July last year, said: “It’s still a very surreal experience, even after working there for over four months. 

“I feel very grateful every time I am at Coronation Street. It’s such a lovely team of cast and crew to be a part of and everyone is very down to earth. The most recent storyline I’ve been working on is about Max and Griff’s gang and the issues around far-right extremism. I was 3rd AD for a lot of the larger crowd scenes, where the bomb exploded.”

Before joining Corrie, Katie was no stranger to Soapland having spent the summer of 2021 working as a 3rd AD for ITV’s other much-loved show, Emmerdale. 

This experience was extra special for Katie, as she got the chance to work alongside her dad, Gary Stubbs, a freelance Director and Assistant Director, and University of Sunderland Programme Leader for MA Media Production (Film and Television).

“Working on Emmerdale with my dad was really amazing – almost surreal,” Katie, from Cleadon, South Tyneside, said.

“Since I was little, we used to make short films together and enter them into competitions. He taught me a lot and has always been my biggest supporter, so working together was quite an achievement for us both.

“It’s something we always joked or talked about but being in the village and it actually happening was just an amazing experience. We were also the first daughter/father duo to work as part of the assistant director team on Emmerdale.” 

Speaking about his daughter’s success, Gary said: “It’s the most amazing feeling in the world to see Katie working as a director and doing so well in a job she loves, but it’s even better to have had the opportunity to work with her on some of the productions. It was also really funny to see who could figure out we are related because on set she calls me Gary, not dad!

“Katie’s dream job from a young age was always to work on Corrie and now she’s doing it. I hope Katie is an inspiration to young people and proof that you can achieve your goals if you're willing to work hard.”

As well as two of the UK’s biggest soaps, Katie’s CV boasts an array of TV and film roles.

In 2021, she started her career as a Runner on Season 9 of CBBC’s The Dumping Ground, then went on to work on shows such as BBC 1’s King Gary, Netflix series The Last Kingdom, the BBC’s Gentleman Jack, Channel 5 series All Creatures Great and Small, ITV’s Vera as well as feature films The Railway Children Return and Paramount’s Dungeons and Dragons, which is yet to be released. 

Before she had even finished her degree Katie returned to work on The Dumping Ground, but this time as a full-time 3rd AD.

In September last year, Katie achieved her first 1st AD credit when working on an up-coming campaign by international clothing retailer Primark. She then worked as a 1st AD for two British Film Institute (BFI) films before taking up a 3rd AD role on BBC Scotland’s River City. 

Katie puts her success down to hard work and determination, but also to the support she received from the University of Sunderland. 

In her second year, Katie was selected for the Lord Puttnam Scholars Scheme, creating an online documentary during the COVID-19 pandemic about life in lockdown, which Oscar-winning film producer Lord David Puttnam included in an Open University talk.

Katie, who received funding from the University’s DOSH (Development Office Scholarship) Award to help her with hotel and travel costs during shoots, said: “Working with Lord David Puttnam on the Lord Puttnam Scholars Scheme really helped me to believe in myself and prepare me for the industry, as he really believed in me. I still keep in touch with him and update him on how I’m doing and what I’m working on. 

“I also think the Live TV module really helped me find my passion for directing and made me really see it as a career. It was really insightful and prepared me for the pressures of the industry.”

So what does the future hold for Katie?

“I’m currently still working at Coronation Street as I just love it there,” she said.

“I would absolutely love to work on another feature film, ideally Marvel or Disney! That would be the dream.”

 

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