Ken Barlow's return to Coronation Street pushed the show's ratings back above the 7 million mark on Monday evening (August 4), overnight figures show.
A total of 6.68m (36.5% of the UK's total television audience) watched at 7.30pm on ITV and 188k (0.9%) on +1 as Ken arrived back in Weatherfield after more than a year away.
The audience had increased to 7.12m (33.5%) by 8.30pm, when the veteran lothario, played by Bill Roache, finally learned of Peter's imprisonment following the murder of his lover Tina.
Roache, 82, said he "needed to get back to work" at the end of his trial in February when he was cleared of rape and indecent assault charges by a jury.
He has been back filming in Manchester on the ITV show for six weeks and has key scenes with Deirdre Barlow (played by Anne Kirkbride), son Peter (Chris Gascoyne) who he visits in prison, and Carla Connor (Alison King) who breaks the news of Peter's arrest for the murder of Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan).
Bill said: "I am thrilled to be at the heart of a story which has been so huge for the show. Ken is linked in some way to all the main players, which is what the street does so well, it is the ripple effect and Ken is at the heart of it. He has always loved a challenge and it is great to show that side of Ken."