Cheryl Cole’s return to the UK X Factor judging panel is reportedly being kept “top secret”.

The British pop star and Simon Cowell got into a feud last year after he dropped her as judge from The X Factor USA. Before then she was a judge on the British version of the TV talent show for two seasons.

Current judge Gary Barlow is rumoured to be orchestrating a great plan to reinstate Cheryl.

“Only Gary’s intimate inner circle know. He hasn’t even discussed it with Simon or ITV bosses. It’s been seriously top secret stuff,” a source told British newspaper The Sun.

“They’re all under the impression it’s going to be Robbie. No one even noticed the dates for the recording clashed with Robbie’s new solo tour.”

Apparently Cheryl had a big part in the scheme.

She and Gary discussed details over a drink after she performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June.

“She loved the mischief of it,” the source said.