Coronation Street boss Iain MacLeod has addressed the future of absent stalwarts Emily Bishop (Eileen Derbyshire) and Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden), following the revelation their house is being sold to new family the Baileys, who move in to number 3 in June.
Speaking at a press event in Manchester introducing the first black family to reside on Britain’s most famous street, MacLeod confirmed the sale of the property did not mean the end of Norris, who makes a brief return this spring after leaving in 2017 following Hebden’s heart attack and subsequent recovery.
“Norris is not leaving the show, 100%,” he said. “We just thought that given the circumstances we find ourselves in it made sense to put a family in number 3 now, but it’s certainly not the end of Norris.”
Derbyshire, the second longest-serving cast member after William Roache aka Ken Barlow, made her last appearance as Norris’s tenant in 2016 and is still on an extended break. But again, MacLeod put minds at rest that the sale of her home did not equate her permanent departure.
“We are in talks fairly regularly with Eileen, but at the moment there are no plans for her to return. Again, again the door is certainly not closed there.
“But definitely in Norris’s case the hope on my part, and I think on Malcolm’s, is that we can bring him back in for good at some point.”
The Baileys, mum Aggie, dad Ed, and grown-up sons Michael and James, will take up residence when they buy the house in June and will quickly clash with next door neighbours the Barlows. Their first big storyline is expected to centre on 19 year-old football prodigy James’s coming out journey and tackles homophobia in the sporting industry.