There's a blast from the past in Coronation Street on Monday 12th August when the name Fiona Middleton is mentioned for the first time in over 20 years, as she is revealed to be the mother of ditzy hairdresser Emma Brooker (Alexandrea Mardell) – which means Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) may be her biological dad.
Emma has been keeping a bedside vigil in hospital as her dad battles terminal cancer, but being on his deathbed forces the girl's father to make a game-changing confession: he is not her biological parent. Em calls her estranged mother in Australia who confirms the bombshell, and when Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls), keeping the stressed stylist company on the ward, notices the picture pop up on caller ID she immediately recognises old face Fiona.
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Aud later confides in Liz McDonald (Beverley Callard) her suspicions that Fiona's ex, and Liz's son, Steve could be Emma's real daddy… What if Ms Middleton was pregnant when she left Weatherfield back in 1998?
Steve is stunned on Wednesday 14th August when Liz reveals he could be Emma's long-lost dad, and he attempts to sneakily gain some DNA so they can do a test without Ms Brooker's knowledge. How will Emma, and Steve's wife Tracy Barlow, react to this twist?
When was Fiona Middleton in Coronation Street?
Feisty Fiona spent six years on the street from December 1992, also starting as a junior at the local salon – then run by Denise Osbourne (before she was Daniel's mum).
She was involved in a number of high-profile storylines revolving around her colourful love life. As well as dating Steve, who cheated on her with best mate Maxine Peacock, Fiona had a scandalous affair with Steve’s dad Jim and McDonald, was briefly with doomed mechanic Tony Horrocks and got jilted at the altar by copper Alan McKenna, with whom she had a son, Morgan.
Just prior to leaving town she and Steve seemed pretty loved up. They were due to marry and he was playing the dutiful stepdad to little Morgan. However, Fiona's discovery of his infidelity with Maxine put a permanent end to their relationship and she sold the salon, which she had taken over after Denise's departure, to Audrey's hubby Alf Roberts and bid a bittersweet farewell to Weatherfield in September 1998.
Her return had been the subject of tabloid speculation for months. Griffin herself mooted her own idea for a possible return back in 2014, revolving around the possibility that her character was with child when she left.
Viewers know Emma, who first appeared on screen in April 2018 as an apprentice at Audrey Roberts’ salon and had a brief whirlwind romance with David Platt, was in the school year above Bethany Platt at Weatherfield High, meaning she was born around 1999, so the dates definitely match up.
Emma recently explained how her parents had a messy split when she was a child and her mum fled to Oz, with Em briefly living there before getting homesick and returning to Manchester. Relations have been strained between mother and daughter ever since, which explains why no one has made the link to the past before now.
Corrie launched Griffin’s career: she went on to star in Holby City, Cutting It and Mount Pleasant and also enjoyed success as a presenter.
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