Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn has promised that viewers will witness “a real tragedy that’s going to affect a dozen or so of our characters” in the New Year.

“It is going to be spectacular and a little bit heartbreaking,” says Stuart.

“Last year, we had David and the car crash and of course that was a stunt, but it genuinely felt like it had come from story,.

“It wasn’t us suddenly deciding that we needed to do something spectacular to get the viewers. It’s the same with what we’re planning because it’ll come from a relatively long-running story,” OK! magazine reports, quoting Stuart.

And that’s not all…

Stuart is also planning to bring back another of the soap’s most popular characters early next year. As part of the tragedy?

The Mirror reports that Stuart has revealed Weatherfield will be rocked by a blast from the past when a classic character returns next year, but is remaining tight-lipped on who the person in question is.

Stuart has already brought back Liz McDonald (Beverley Callard), Jim McDonald (Charles Lawson), Todd Grimshaw (Bruno Langley) – and, any minute now, Cilla Battersby (Wendi Peters).

“I love Jim’s story [prison top dog, giving booze to alcoholic Peter Barlow] and Charlie Lawson has played an absolute blinder on that one.

“Even prior to all of that happening, we did start making plans for the return of another popular character, so there is another one on the way. I won’t say who yet as it’s still to be signed, sealed and delivered, but we do have plans and the character will be back on screen early next year.”

Names in the frame include Kevin Kennedy as Curly Watts, Julie Goodyear as Bet Gilroy, Nick Cochrane as Andy McDonald and Bruce Jones as Les Battersby.

But we so want it to be Katherine Kelly as Becky McDonald. Her little sister, Kylie (Paula Lane), really needs her right now.

We know Kylie’s ex – Max’s birth father – Callum is going to appear soon… And we have a feeling that’s going to mean that Kylie, Max, Lily and David will need help from someone tough enough to deal with the ex-jailbird – and that would be Becky.

Coronation Street continues on ITV on Monday, August 25, 7.30pm & 8.30pm.