Corrie’s Norris Cole will cause shock when he returns to the soap in April as he is engaged to Emily Bishop’s niece Freda Burgess

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IT’S been well over a year since I first told how Coronation Street veteran MALCOLM HEBDEN was taking time off after a nearly fatal heart attack.

And here is his legendary character Norris Cole back where he belongs, on the cobbles.

Malcolm Hebden has returned to the Corrie set for the first time in more than a year

Now the Coronation Street legend – who first appeared on the cobbles in 1994 – was back on set this week for the first time since the actor was put in an induced coma in December 2017.

He returned to set on Tuesday for his first scenes since he was put in an induced coma.

And I’m told Norris didn’t arrive alone, but with a woman in tow who’s he’s now engaged to.

My source says that Norris, who has has been a familiar face on the cobbles since 1994, is now set to marry Emily Bishop’s deaf niece Freda, who is played by actress Ali Briggs.

The actor suffered a heart attack last year
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In a world of flash-in-the-pan no marks, it’s good to have a genuine soap legend back on telly.

An ITV source told The Sun Newspaper TV Bizarre Column: “Norris’s first scenes were never going to go under the radar. But no one thought he’d come back an engaged man.

“He turns up with Freda and reveals they are getting married and want to buy a house together. She’s been in the show before – Freda Burgess, the niece of Emily.

“She and Norris have got closer while he has been staying with her and Emily in the time Malcolm needed off for his condition.”

The star is returning to the show and has been on set
Rex Features

Freda first appeared opposite on-screen aunt Emily – played by ‘Corrie’ icon Eileen Derbyshire – for two stints between 2005-2006 and 2009-2010.

Last year, it was revealed Malcolm would be returning to the ITV soap for a “sort of cameo”.

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Show boss Iain MacLeod said at the time: “He’s back for a short stint in a little sort of cameo return in the hope we can have him back permanently in the future.

“He’s on that list of Emily Bishops of characters who are so Corrie that the show doesn’t feel correct without them in there.

“Soap characters come and go – but I am reading bits in the scripts where I know Norris would have something to say.”

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