Emily Bishop’s brief Coronation Street cameo via video phone marks the first time that actress Eileen Derbyshire has been on screen for almost three years.
The special guest appearance was for the auspicious occasion of old pal Ken Barlow (William Roache)’s 80th birthday celebrations on Wednesday 9th October.
Emily became a part of the fun, remotely, when she’s dialled up by an also returning Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden), back to wish Ken many happy returns in the flesh.
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But where exactly in the world is Mrs Bishop calling from? And why did she leave the cobbles in the first place?
When was Emily Bishop last on Coronation Street?
In January 2016 (New Year’s Day, to be precise) the plucky pensioner announced she was off to Peru to help eco-activist nephew Geoffrey ‘Spider’ Nugent with his charity work. Derbyshire’s absence was, and still is, described by Corrie bosses as a temporary, extended break from the role.
Derbyshire has played the well-meaning widow since January 1961, just weeks after the first episode, and is the second longest-serving cast member after Roache.
Where is Emily Bishop living now?
Fast forward a few years to January 2018 and there was an update on the character’s whereabouts as Ken told Sophie Webster he’d received word Emily had returned to the UK to look after her ill niece Freda Burgess up in Edinburgh.
In June 2019, Emily’s former housemate Norris Cole arrived in Weatherfield (after an absence of a few years due to Hebden’s ill health) to oversee the sale of their former house, the iconic Number 3 Coronation Street, to the Bailey family. It turned out Norris had got engaged to Freda and they were shacked up in Edinburgh.
So it’s the Scottish capital where the soap veteran currently resides, and sends her message from.
Will she be returning to the show permanently?
Producer Iain MacLeod has reassured worried fans selling the house does not mean the end of Emily – or Norris, for that matter – and that they are in “constant talks with Eileen, but there no plans for a permanent return… The door is definitely open.”
A full-time return seems more likely for Norris, as the show boss says: “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. It is my hope, and I think Malcolm’s, that we can bring him back in for good at some point.”
With Emily too? Ken would have to put them up. He probably wouldn’t mind…
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