Coronation Street has confirmed the long-term future of the Rovers Return following fears that it could shut down for good.
The Street's iconic pub was recently closed by its new owners, who ordered a major refurbishment and sacked the existing staff members.
Since then, there have been few updates on the business' future or a possible reopening date.
Speaking to Digital Spy and other media in a recent press call, Coronation Street's producer Iain MacLeod admitted: "We don't want the Rovers shut for too long because it's almost like a character in its own right.
"Closing it felt almost like a death – it's almost as big a deal for me as any of the people that might have met their sticky end at the hands of Stephen Reid. The idea that the pub is boarded up was horrifying – and even walking up the lot and seeing that, it's like a dagger to the heart.
"So it's not going to stay closed for that long. In fact, it reopens on New Year's Eve, but the interesting thing is that the circumstances of it becoming open again are all tied up with Stephen's legacy.
"Somebody will do something that is at best, naughty, at worst, slightly criminal to get their hands on the keys to the pub and reopen it. So it will reopen, but the reopening of it will be based on this slightly shaky foundation of a criminal act."
He continued: "I suppose the viewers will be wondering: 'Well, okay, so the pub is open, but what disaster will befall the person that's allowed that to happen, because it's all based on this misdeed that they've committed?'
"We didn't want it to just open up again and it was like nothing had ever happened. We wanted it to open up with this kind of buried bomb underneath it that we will explode later in ."
MacLeod also assured viewers that, despite recent on-screen talk of a big refurbishment, the pub won't look too different when it opens its doors again.
He said: "It's not going to look radically different. With certain sets, I'm not saying they should never change, but I'd certainly feel like I don't want it to be modernised and gastropub-ified or turned into a chain pub – in the same way I feel weirdly protective of Deirdre's wallpaper at number one.
"I do feel like the Rovers decor is going to be updated a touch. But for the most part, I really like the look and feel of it at the moment. So it's going to reopen looking quite similar, but the circumstances of its ownership are going to be much more fraught."
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm on ITV1 and streams on ITVX.
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