CORONATION Street boss has promised a "blast from the past" for Rita Tanner as Leanne Battersby's new storyline takes a jaw-dropping turn.
Ian MacLeod recently lifted the lid on what's next for the former newsagent owner and PA in 2021.
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Back in November, Leanne (Jane Danson) made the heartbreaking decision to turn off her three-year-old son Oliver's ventilator after suffering from an incurable form of mitochondrial disease.
As she continues to come to terms with her loss, things aren't made any easier by her eldest Simon (Alex Bain) – who has certainly put his mum through some tough times in the past with his naughty antics.
Soap boss Ian has hinted that the person who Leanne receives help from to try and put Simon's actions right is actually a friendly face that Rita knows.
He recently told Digital Spy: "The thing that's exciting me the most is the Leanne story, which I know I've been a bit vague about. I think it's incredibly exciting.
"It will also draw in Rita at a certain point – and there'll be a blast from the past for Rita that emerges as a result of the story.
"I really think this story will end up in the place where you least expect it when you start watching it in the New Year."
Ian then went on to tease what viewers can expect will happen between the mother and son as the months go by, explaining that their relationship is definitely put to the test.
He added: "What we're trying to do with Simon and Leanne is find a way to play their grief that doesn't feel like grief stories that we've done and other shows might have done.
"We've come up with something that starts quite small, but ends up turning into this colossal, thriller-ish, high-octane piece that will play out in the first six months of next year.
"We were quite keen to use Leanne's grief as a launch-pad into something exciting. I think we've achieved that, without feeling like we're doing a disservice to the Oliver story."
Viewers of the ITV soap will know that the Christmas period hasn't been easy for Leanne.
The PA has pushed everyone who she is closest to her away from her, including ex boyfriend Nick and sister Toyah Battersby (Georgia Taylor).
She told them that she was going away for the festive period but actually locked herself away in her flat so she didn't have to speak to anyone.
Upcoming episodes of the show follow how Leanne struggles to get any sleep as she grieves for her baby boy.
Things taken a turn for the worst when Simon finds his mum unconscious in the living room after taking too many sleeping pills.
The teen was left shocked to find out that his mum had been inside her flat throughout the Christmas break, but covers for her about the ambulance that was parked outside when Nick asks about it later on.
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