CORONATION Street bosses have confirmed Norris Cole’s return to the soap.
The former newsagent – who is played by actor Malcolm Hebden in the ITV soap – has been only an occasional guest star ever since the actor suffered ill health in 2017.
But the soap has now confirmed his comeback in the announcement that Ken Barlow will leave the cobbles for a new life in a luxury retirement flat.
Future episodes will follow his and Claudia’s new life at Still Waters Luxury retirement complex where they will meet their neighbours – Norris and wife Freda.
Actor Bill Roache said it was a “big decision” for Ken, who regretted not taking earlier opportunities to leave the street.
He said: “Filming that final scene of the episode was very poignant, just Ken and Eccles (his pet dog) and the cobbles.
“He breaks the news to the family next week and they are surprised but very soon Peter and Tracy start squabbling over who will be given first refusal on the house.
“We have already started filming at the retirement complex and I am really enjoying it, it always feels different when we film away from the street.
“It seems fitting that Ken makes this decision in the 10,000th episode but it will be strange not filming in number 1 after all this time.”
Monday night’s episode will feature Ken and Claudia breaking the news of their departure to family and friends, leaving his children to fight for one of Corrie’s most famous homes.
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Next month, viewers will see the elderly couple moving into the luxurious retirement development – complete with cocktail bar, book club and even fencing lessons.
And the veteran character will bump into his old friends Norris and Freda, who are already settled in to life at Still Waters.
Roache has played Ken since Corrie’s first episode on December 9, 1960.
The Guinness World Records named him the longest-serving male television star in a continuous role.