Coronation Street producer Kate Oates has fuelled speculation that Denise Osbourne will return to Weatherfield after promising that "old faces" will soon be back in town.

The Corrie boss revealed that the Barlow clan will be "front and centre in the coming weeks" before adding: "They're about to face some big challenges, but there'll be a few fun twists as well - and maybe one or more old faces returning."

Aside from Denise, the only other significant former character tied to the Barlows is Jessica Midgeley (Peter's first wife), last seen in May 1986. However, it is far more likely that Denise will be reunited with son Daniel, what with actress Denise Black recently leaving Emmerdale and actor Rob Mallard having hinted as much in a recent interview.

Speaking last month, Mallard said of the possibility of Denise resurfacing: "I would love it if she were to come back to Corrie! I've been a fan of Denise for a few years - and when the audition for Daniel first came up, one of the reasons I was so keen to win the role was because of the people I'd get to work with."

Now, Kate Oates - in an interview with Inside Soap - added that the Barlows' prominence will be as part of a major plotline that is to continue well into 2017: "There's a long story coming up very soon for the Barlows. How everything pans out is going to be really interesting."

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week's episodes of Coronation Street below.

And visit our dedicated Coronation Street page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.