Angela Griffin appears in Coronation Street for the first time in 21 years on Wednesday 21st August when Fiona Middleton is seen on a video call to Australia to daughter Emma Brooker (Alexandra Mardell) following confirmation that Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) is her biological father.
The revelation that former salon owner Fiona, who left the soap in September 1998, is ditzy stylist Emma’s mother came on Monday 12th August and immediately had fans digging into the past alongside Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls) and Liz McDonald (Beverley Callard), who shared their suspicions the girl could be Steve’s daughter.
Steve previously had a tempestuous romance with Ms Middleton, who may have been pregnant when she left the street.
Get all the latest soaps news and views direct to your inbox
Steve is let in on the paternity possibility on Wednesday 14th August and by next Wednesday, the day of the man she thought was her father’s funeral, DNA test results confirm Emma is his long-lost daughter!
Some fans thought mention of Steve could be a red herring, and that his dad Jim McDonald, who Fiona also bedded, could be the daddy.
But the soap has put the audience out of their misery and also revealed stressed Emma wants to flee Weatherfield in the aftermath of the revelation. Can Steve, newly-acquired stepmum Tracy Barlow and half-sister Amy Barlow change her mind?
Fans were also in praise of Mardell’s performance in a more dramatic storyline, noting her character was usually deployed for comic relief.
The actress was named Best Newcomer at the 2019 British Soap Awards and hinted there may be more serious material ahead for her alter ego.
Speaking about being the long-lost child of Corrie royalty, she said: “I am so excited. Angela has been an idol of mine all my life. She’s always someone I’ve looked up to. I was only about five years old when Fiona and Steve were an item but I’ve seen clips now. Fiona was a brilliant character.
“Simon walked up to me in the green room and said: ‘Hello, daughter!’ – it’s nice to be tied into one of the biggest families on the street so I’m really grateful it’s happening.”
Playing Fiona launched Griffin’s career when she joined Coronation Street in 1992 to work at Denise Osbourne’s salon – that’s Denise who later hooked up with Ken Barlow and had a son, Daniel – and started a six-year cobbles tenure.
As well as dating Steve and her icky fling with his father, the glamorous hairdresser also romanced doomed mechanic Tony Horrocks and was jilted at the altar by police officer Alan McKenna, with whom she had a son, Morgan – who is set to appear as a grown-up next week at Emma’s dad’s funeral.
Fiona left after reuniting with Steve only to discover he cheated on her with best mate Maxine Peacock. She sold the salon to the late Alf Roberts, whose wife Audrey took the reins.
At the moment it appears we only see Fi on a phone screen – fingers crossed she flies back to Manchester for the showdown with Steve we’re all now dying to see…