KEN'S IN TROUBLE AGAIN...IT MUST BE CHRISTMAS.
Actress Denise Black, who played Ken's wayward lover, will return to grab the son she left behind - and help boost ratings when the show moves to a four-times-a-week slot.
Denise, who played hairdresser Denise Osbourne, quit the soap in December. She was last seen dumping Ken, played by Bill Roache, and their baby son Daniel to run off with her brother- in-law.
A show source said: "The Christmas storyline will be heartbreaking but very dramatic.
"Ken is devastated when he returns home the week before Christmas and finds his son gone.
"He simply can't believe he's been snatched by the woman who dumped them. He immediately starts a custody battle.
"Denise plays heavily on the fact that she is the mother, while Ken uses the fact that he is back in a relationship with his ex-wife Deirdre.
"Deirdre actually goes to court with him for support, but she gets angry when she finds out he tries to use their friendship as a lever to get Daniel back.
"It will be a real cliffhanger."
Ken Barlow has faced repeated Christmas heart-ache over the years. A succession of women, including Denise, have left him crying over the cake.
The source added: "I don't think anyone can remember the last time Ken had a good Christmas.
"Once again he's in for a miserable time."