11:55 20 October 2009
Coronation Street actress Samia Smith, who plays Maria Connor, has given birth to a baby girl.
The 27-year-old and her husband, property developer Matt Smith, have named the new arrival Freya, who weighed in at 7lbs 2oz (3.2kg).
An ITV spokesman said: "Everyone at Corrie is thrilled at the latest arrival to the Corrie family."
Smith's character in the soap is about to be embroiled in an love triangle storyline involving fiance Tony Gordon.
The return of his estranged wife Carla (Alison King) puts Maria's future with Tony into jeopardy and introduces the prospect of violence.
Alison King is making a return to the show after her own maternity leave.
Smith's character Maria gave birth to baby Liam earlier this year on a beach, aided by Tony.
Her son was named after her late husband Liam, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident in 2008. However it wasn't an accident as it first appeared - the death was organised by street villain Tony (Gray O'Brien).
Maria remains unaware of his involvement in Liam's death, while Carla discovered the truth before her departure from Weatherfield. Now that she's back, the crime looks set to blown open.
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