Conflict comes to Coronation Street later this year when a shocking event kicks off a sprawling storyline that sees Weatherfield's mightiest families at odds, and is set to become one of the biggest plots of 2020.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com about what's coming up in the next 12 months, Corrie producer Iain MacLeod revealed plans to pit some of the soap's clans against each other in the aftermath of a twist no one will see coming. "There’s a huge event in early spring that has the most far-reaching impact of any story we’ve done since I’ve been on the show," he said.
"Something horrifically difficult draws in three to four different families and forces them to deal with the hardest thing imaginable. Having survived the New Year indiscretion with Paula, Steve and Tracy’s relationship will be back on its strongest footing just as this occurs, which builds into a ‘clans at war’ story.”
As a result of the ruckus between relatives, mouthy matriarch Liz McDonald will bow out in the summer following actress Bev Callard's announcement late last year she was quitting the show - although MacLeod is quick to point out the door will be left open.
"Bev is going out with a bang and we are certainly not killing Liz off," he assures. "Steve finds himself in a nightmare situation and Liz attempts to do something heroic for her son to save him.
"Ultimately, that will determine the best place for Liz is not in Weatherfield as she and Steve are upsetting each other."
Mikey North, aka bad boy builder Gary Windass, has also hinted at a game-changing story coming up, teasing us in December that his arrogant alter ego will turn over a new leaf at the start of the year, but it won't last due to the ambiguous event on the horizon.
"After the fallout of Christmas and his part in the siege, the early part of 2020 will see Gary go good again for a little bit,” he said. “Then he’s going to turn back to the dark side when something very unexpected happens – and I can’t say any more!”
Is this one and the same thing? Could killer Gary's crimes come back to haunt him, throwing the community into disarray? Or will he be forced to take another life in his continuing efforts to cover his tracks of the deaths he's already responsible for?
Loan shark Rick Neelan is buried in the woods after his fatal bludgeoning, and MacLeod hinted the corpse may well be unearthed around the end of May, when the soap traditionally goes big in the same week as Britain's Got Talent's live shows.
Gary may not be involved at all, with the only concrete thing we know being that the sensational story directly involves the McDonalds and Barlows.
We'll just say this - expect the unexpected…
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