Coronation Street spoilers follow.
Show bosses have decided to bring back Tommy for a romance storyline involving an established female character.
Guest character Tommy was first introduced to Corrie in 2016 as a Weatherfield County footballer, who befriended Steve McDonald and Tim Metcalfe after hiring Michelle Connor as a wedding planner.
He has made further sporadic appearances over the next few years and was last seen in 2021, when he retired from his footballing career.
Speaking to Digital Spy and other media in a press call, Coronation Street's producer Iain MacLeod commented: "You'll see Tommy again on Christmas Day! Since leaving football, he has made some bad business investments, including opening a Tommy Orpington-themed gourmet burger restaurant. They've all gone belly up!
"Tommy's wife has left him – and he's now had to return to the trade he had when he was a non-league footballer, which is painter and decorator. You'd think, given all that, it'd be quite miserable – but he's not at all.
"Tommy actually finds the act of painting and decorating quite zen because no-one's telling him what to do. He hasn't got the gaffer screaming at him – he can just whip out his paint and his roller and stick his ear buds in, and he finds it quite meditative.
"He's in a good place where we find him. There might be one of our female characters that needs some decorating done. A story evolves where this attractive, historically successful man arrives into one of our female character's lives and upsets the apple cart in fairly spectacular fashion."
He continued: "You'll know quite quickly who I'm talking about, probably when you see the episode, but I'd rather not say too much now, just so that you can enjoy that surprise for yourselves when we get to Christmas.
"Matt Milburn, who plays Tommy, has been in and out of the show. Tommy has often been slightly 'over there' as an untouchable figure on a pedestal for our characters to hero worship.
"This will be the first time we've done anything more significant with him and Matt is absolutely over the moon to be doing something a bit more. He's thrilled with the storyline and thinks it's a lot of fun.
"The cast involved are really up for it as well. It's very funny. It's potentially quite sad in certain places. It triggers something really big for us over the next 12 months, a big new direction for some characters – so yeah, Tommy Orpington will finally be coming off the subs' bench."
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm on ITV1 and streams on ITVX.
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