Rob Donovan has made a surprise reappearance on Coronation Street, with tonight's episode revealing that he's being harboured by Tracy at the disused gym.
Actor Marc Baylis's comeback had been eagerly anticipated thanks to previously published paparazzi pictures, but the circumstances of his return had been kept a closely guarded secret.
This evening's Corrie climaxed with a battered and bruised Rob emerging from the shadows, the character now obviously a fugitive from the law. Explaining how Rob has come to be on the run, Baylis explains:
"It wasn't a planned thing. He's not got hold of a pneumatic drill and gone through the prison walls or anything like that. There's been an incident involving the police. There was a crash - and Rob has basically seized the opportunity."
As for how long Baylis will be around for, the actor adds: "It's not a permanent thing. But it's always great to come back and have a little play. And what we'll see is that Rob is a very different person from the last time he was on the show. There's more tenderness there and a lot more is unearthed about his and Tracy's relationship."
The revelation that Rob has been hiding out at the gym does, of course, now shed a whole new light on the Barlow whodunnit that has been running these past few weeks.
As viewers will see Rob was in the vicinity of Number One on the night that Ken was pushed down the stairs, hence the suspicion surrounding Tracy's movements on the night of the attack.
As it turns out, Tracy has known of Rob's whereabouts for some weeks - but does his resurfacing mean that he too should be considered a suspect? "Absolutely," adds Baylis. "Hypothetically, if Ken were to have seen Rob, I'm sure he'd have questioned him as to why he was there."
As for Rob's immediate future, the star reveals that Rob might be doomed to make an error of judgement where his liberty is concerned:
"It's a do or die situation, so he's deciding on things minute by minute. He's changing his mind all the time as to what the best thing to do is. But, as we know, a lot of the time, Rob ends up making the wrong decision.
"But all that gives me something great to play with Kate [Ford]. Rob and Tracy are two tainted characters so that gives us a lot of good material."
And if this really is 'do or die', then could this be his final stint on the soap? "Who knows? I can't say whether he'll die. And I also can't say whether it'll be possible for Rob and Tracy to stay together. Anything is possible."
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week's drama on Coronation Street below.
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