Carla's comeback scenes air on Friday, December 22, when her brother Aidan meets up with her to ask for help with getting the Underworld factory back on track. She then heads back to the cobbles on Christmas Day, where it soon becomes clear that she's hiding a huge secret from her loved ones.
Alison King, who plays Carla, reveals all the early gossip on her Weatherfield return right here.
Why have you decided to return to Corrie?
"I have been away about a year and a half. Once Kate Oates had started as producer, I met up with her and said that I would be happy to come back a bit earlier than I had originally discussed. I had said I would maybe have a two-year break, but I felt ready to come back. I didn't feel like I wanted to go anywhere else.
"I wasn't keen on the idea of travelling around the country with work. I had done what I wanted to do and spent time with my daughter Daisy and we had a great time. I was there for her, and I hadn't really had time to do that and it was a crucial age for schooling etc. That is the most rewarding thing and I needed that break.
"But it was time for me to have the adult banter again. I was also excited about working with Kate as producer. She asked if I could come back for Christmas and I was more than happy to do that."
Is it easy to get back into Carla?
"Yes, it was like pulling on an old sock or an old pair of stiletto boots! My first two scenes were with Shayne Ward on location and the crew, who are like family. I got butterflies from excitement about seeing everyone, but not from nerves.
"It was so lovely, like I had never been away and I was happy I made the decision to return. I've known for a good few months that I was coming back, so I was pleased to finally be with everyone again."
How does Carla feel about Aidan getting in touch with her?
"Because it's near Christmas, it's nice to hear from him. Carla wonders what it's about, but she sees it as a chance to catch up with him as she is nearby on business. She doesn't feel too overwhelmed, because it is only him and she is intrigued and misses everybody.
"Her first reaction when he asks her to help him buy the factory is 'absolutely not'. She just isn't keen, but then she starts thinking about family. Seeing him has made her realise she misses everyone and would like to see them and be with them at Christmas.
"She has been able to switch off from the family. It has been a case of 'out of sight, out of mind' but now she can't stop thinking about them."
What happens when Carla turns up on Christmas Day?
"Aidan is not too happy as she has turned him down when he asked for her help, but then she turns up on Christmas Day and she says she has changed her mind. She really does want to help. She rallies round and is a nice person to be around. She is a bit like Mother Christmas. She is a bit more vulnerable than she has been in the past."
Carla is back with a secret! Can you tell us anything about what's going on in her life?
"She is at a stage where she is starting to think about life and family, and her secret is making her take stock. In the past two years she has acquired a family that she didn't know she had. Prior to that, she was a bit of a lone wolf. She had people like Michelle around her, but suddenly she had a family that she does really care about. The Connors mean a lot to her."
"Absolutely. She wants to be there for them all. She knows about Johnny's illness and that is one of the reasons she wants to help Aidan with the factory. As for Kate, Carla is non-judgemental, as she has been around the block a few times. She wants to genuinely be there for them all. There is nothing selfish about that, she genuinely wants to be at the centre of the family."
How is Carla's relationship with Michelle?
"Carla can tell that Robert and Michelle really love each other and she is really pleased for her. She has her reasons for being wary of Robert, as he was one of the reasons for her marriage with Nick not working out, so she has her doubts. But she knows that she hit her own self destruct button, so she hopes his relationship with Michelle is true – but she does discover some things which make her unsure..."
How are things with Roy?
"Roy is always there for Carla. He is the one person who knows her secret and he is the one person she has confided in. He has always been a father figure. He could be the key to her sticking around. She has no plans to stay when she first comes back, but if she was going to stick around for anyone, it would be Roy. He could persuade her that it is a good idea to move back.
"Carla loves everything about Roy. She would go and look at trains for a day with him, she gets unconditional love back from him. I was excited to know I was coming back to scenes with David Neilson, as he is so exciting to work with."
What has Carla been doing since she left?
"She certainly doesn't seem to have a man on the go, but she has been keeping her hand in on the business side of things. Carla has always had business as her main focus and that hasn't changed."
After the on-location scenes, what were your first ones back on the actual set?
"It was in the Bistro with Rita, Jenny, Johnny and the family. The Carla and Jenny dynamic is not one I had played before. It's fun to play, as Jenny is quite jealous. Carla is back and she is getting all this attention from Johnny, and Jenny doesn't really like it.
"Carla is oblivious. She comes into the Bistro with all these petrol station gifts for everyone and is flinging them round and can't understand why she is putting everybody out. She knocks Jenny's make-up bag on the floor and accidentally hits her on the head with a box of chocolates she is passing to someone.
"She comes in in a flurry – that is Carla – thereby annoying Jenny so that puts a new dynamic there from the start which I am enjoying."
How does Tracy react to Carla's return?
"There is a great scene in the pub when Carla has her back to Tracy so she doesn't see her, but she hears her voice and she makes a classic Tracy remark and Carla gives her a great one line response and walks off. Carla has no desire to revisit that old rivalry. She doesn't have the time for it anymore."
Could there be romance on the cards for Carla?
"She is happy on her own for now, she is not looking for love. Carla is truly happy on her own, but when she gets bored, she quite likes to do things to take her mind off stuff. There is someone she has a little fling with, but she is a bit like a cat with a mouse playing with him. It's something to do, it's not a big romance, and she also has another agenda for setting her sights on this person."
Does Carla still have feelings for Peter?
"There will always be something. She knows that she lost the good egg in Nick but she will always love Peter. She lost his baby and he knows her inside out."
Could that cause problems between Carla and Toyah?
"Toyah is a bit insecure about Carla being back, as everyone knows about Carla and Peter's on-off relationship and how powerful it was. Everyone has their own opinion of what Carla is and most of them are not very good opinions.
"She is talked about in a certain way as a diva, so you can understand why Toyah may feel threatened, but that perception of Carla is not really true. She is not seen as a woman's woman, but she actually is and we have seen that over the years and she will fight for her friends."
What else can we expect now Carla is back?
"This is a different Carla because of the secret she is keeping so the next few months we will see a more vulnerable Carla, who needs her family and friends more than she ever has before."
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on ITV.
Digital Spy Soap Scoop video – hit play below for all the latest Coronation Street gossip, as Anna Windass goes on the run and there's a shock robbery at the Bistro.
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