Coronation Street producer Iain MacLeod has reassured fans that good guy turned bad Gary Windass will not be departing the cobbles any time soon.
Gary - played by actor Mikey North - has gradually embraced his dark side over the last 18 months, killing local loan shark Rick and then taking over his business.
With Rick's teen daughter Kelly (Millie Gibson) back on the scene, however, the question of his whereabouts has been raised again.
Speaking to reporters on a Zoom call this week, MacLeod revealed: "I don't want to give too much away, but the end is not nigh for Gary. I think Mikey's fabulous and [I've enjoyed] Gary's complicated, messed-up evolution from back in the day when he was a scally and a thug.
"When Gary lost Sarah, he turned back to the dark side that he'd emerged from when he was a teenager. Gary going back to his scally, criminal roots has been really interesting. So I'm in no hurry to press the ejector seat on that story, I think it's really fascinating and interesting.
"[Gary's] selfless gene kicks in again and he tries to help Kelly out in any way he can, but unfortunately that arouses a certain degree of suspicion in some of his rivals on the street, who start to think: 'What on earth has he got to do with this kid?'
"When they find out that Kelly is Rick's kid, suspicions start to go into overdrive in a way that precipitates a massive explosion in Sarah, Adam and Gary's lives – in the run-up to Gary and Maria's wedding. That will be going out sometime later in the summer."
North has now been with the long-running soap for 11-and-a-half years.