As the residents of Weatherfield gather to pay their respects to their much-loved neighbour Deirdre Barlow, her stepson Peter returns to Coronation Street to support his grieving family.

Chris Gascoyne, who plays the recovering alcoholic, has hinted that sparks are going to fly between Peter and his ex-wife Carla when they bump into each other on the cobbles.

Alison King plays Carla Connor in Corrie
Alison King plays Carla Connor in Corrie (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“You’ll have to wait and see what happens,” the actor tells Inside Soap.

“I think there’s still a spark there for Peter. Carla was his wife and he messed it up. If he could have her back, he would do so in a heartbeat!”

Chris, who had played the character for 15 years, left the ITV soap in 2014 alongside Marc Baylis, who played Rob Donovan, with their final scenes airing on the show last November.

He says it was a no-brainer to reprise the role so he could say goodbye to Anne Kirkbride, who played Deirdre, along with former co-stars such as William Roache, who plays his screen dad Ken Barlow, and Kate Ford, his screen sister, Tracy.

Coronation StreetAnne Kirkbride as Deirdre Barlow (ITV)

“I was very happy to come back. I was very close to Annie Kirkbride and, when I heard she’d passed away, I thought Peter should come back for both her and Deirdre’s sake,” he says.

“All the drama centres around Deirdre, which is paramount. (The family) end up talking about all the good times and bad times they had around that tables with Deirdre and her mum Blanche, and it was great to film.

“It was wonderful to see Bill and Kate and everyone else at Corrie who’ve been so kind. Being able to talk to the cast again has been quite moving.”

However, he admits that filming the scenes was “odd”.

Peter Barlow returns to Coronation StreetPeter’s back in Coronation Street (ITV)

“It felt weird to be doing a scene about Deirdre’s funeral – it still feels slightly odd. There were moments when I was flipping between thinking about Deirdre and remembering Annie. They were a strange couple of days – ones I’d hoped wouldn’t come for many years.

“Annie has gone and we’ll all be in a poorer place without her, but at least now I feel I can put that to rest and accept it.”

Chris GascoyneChris Gascoyne (Ian West/PA)

The actor, who has been appearing in the stage production of The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, says he wouldn’t rule out making a more permanent return to Weatherfield.

“I hope so!” he says. “I’ve been playing Peter for so long that he’s become part of my life, and I do miss him.

“I know it’s a cliche, but it’s a nice big family here at Corrie. I’ve probably missed them all – more than I thought I was ever going to.”