CORONATION Street bosses are in talks for legendary actress Eileen Derbyshire to return to the studios for the first time in four years.
The Emily Bishop star has been away from the Street HQ since December 2015 when she took extended leave.
She last appeared in the ITV soap in the following January when her character Emily left to visit Peru.
In October a brief clip of Emily wishing Ken Barlow a happy 80th was aired during an episode but it was filmed at actress Eileens home.
Now executives are hoping to tempt Eileen back to the studios in 2020 for a string of smaller roles.
A source said: Eileen knows she can come back anytime. The door is always open.
“Shes never said shes leaving the soap, just that she needs to continue to take time off, and the bosses will never write her out or kill Emily off.
The producers are in regular contact with her and are desperate for her to return next year with the offer of a few very small parts.
The soap legend the longest-serving female in British telly soap – was granted time off by bosses for personal reasons.
Execs insist the door has been left open for her to return at any time and Emily is regularly referenced on screen.
Another show source told HOAR Online: “Talks are always on-going between Eileen and Coronation Street bosses, nothing has been confirmed yet but the conversation is always open.”
Eileen, 88, has now chalked-up 59 years in Weatherfield having joined in January 1961.
After she decided to take a break, writers explained her absence with a storyline that saw her go to South America to spend time with hippy nephew Spider.
Eileen, who won an MBE for services to drama in 2010, is one of the ITV soaps most recognisable faces.
Only Bill Roache, 87, has been on the show longer and he has played Ken Barlow since the first episode in 1960.
Eileens character Emily, a devout Christian, backed out of marrying shop manager Leonard Swindley on their wedding day in 1964.
She eventually married Ernest Bishop in 1972 but she was widowed six years later when he was shot in a botched robbery.
Other big plots included a breakdown and an attempt on her life by Gails husband Richard Hillman.
And she has been pals with some of the soaps best-known characters, including Mavis Riley, Betty Turpin, Hilda Ogden and Rita Sullivan.