Coronation Street's Becky Granger appears to be settling into the life she's always wanted. She has a steady relationship, an (almost) perfect man in Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) and a regular roof over her head.
Despite ruining her first wedding by turning up to the register office three sheets to the wind, the brash barmaid - played by 29-year-old Katherine Kelly - now has her heart firmly set on becoming the fifth Mrs McDonald in a lavish August white wedding.
However, the surprise reappearance of Slug (Marshall Lancaster) - an old face from Becky's less-than-sparkling past - could threaten her plans. Now a mobile phone salesman operating under what's believed to be his real name, Neil, Becky's old flame sauntered back into her life on Monday.
Suited, booted and claiming to have turned over a new leaf, Slug's apparently squeaky clean from drugs and alcohol.
"At first [Becky]'s gutted," says Kelly. "He's not shown his face in a few years and things are going so well for Becky. Slug's not really crossed her mind so when he walks into the pub she's really shocked, especially by the change in his appearance. He's wearing a suit, he's had his hair cut and he's smartened up his act."
What Becky believes to be a one-off visit to catch up on old times soon turns into a regular occurrence and for reasons unknown to Becky, Slug decides to make The Rovers his new watering hole. She continues: "He keeps popping up and he persuades her that he's changed too. He tells her he's got his life sorted - he's got a job and he's back on track. She believes him because she wants to. It happened to her so it can happen to him."
Not one to forget her character's past, she smiles: "Marshall and I have invented a whole back story between us. It's nice to remember where Becky came from and what a journey she's had. Slug was an important part of Becky's life - they’ve got a lot of history. They grew up together and looked out for each other so she wants to believe it's possible [that he's changed]."
But does Becky believe that one man can really shake his bedraggled image and wicked ways? And more to the point, is she prepared to let him back into her life so easily?
"She doesn't want that Slug back in her life but this [new version of] Slug she wants to believe in," Kelly explains. "The more they chat, the more they slip back into their old ways."
Becky's undergone a major transformation over the years, from her drug years with Slug to residing with the Croppers at the café and now with Steve at The Rovers.
Recalling Becky's past life with Slug, Kelly says: "They clung together but it wasn't love. They spiralled out of control together and were only separated by prison. It was a very complicated relationship; they were each other’s world but purely because they didn’t have anyone else. It was quite dark. Before the Croppers, Slug was everything to her, because he was the only thing she had and vice versa."
While catching up on old times over a drink, though, Becky's completely taken aback by his claim that he still loves her. Not wanting to risk anything, she quickly rebuffs his attempts to reignite the spark they had as young lovers.
"It comes off the back of a long conversation about their past," Kelly explains. "He says he still loves her but she just brushes it off and says 'no you don't'. She tells him he may think he loves her but they didn't know what love is. [Becky] does now, though, and she's in love with Steve."
With the prospect of a lavish wedding on the horizon, Becky's in her element planning for her big day with her true love. "Steve is it, he's everything to Becky," she beams. "He's the one big time for her. She knows what love is now and she wouldn't go back to Slug even if Steve was out of the picture.
"Becky's moved on a lot, she's changed and as the weeks go on, you can see that Slug doesn't really understand who she's become. He thinks it's an act but the Becky he loves doesn't exist any more. There is no agenda to Becky and he finds that odd…"
But will Slug be content in seeing Becky begin a new life as Mrs McDonald Mk 5? Or is there something more sinister afoot? Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad