Ashley Peacock

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Ashley Peacock
Ashley Peacock2.jpg
Ashley Peacock in 2009
Coronation Street character
Portrayed by Steven Arnold
Duration 1995-2010
First appearance 1 February 1995
Last appearance 8 December 2010
Introduced by Sue Pritchard (1995)
Brian Park (1996)
Classification Former; regular
Profile
Occupation Butcher (1995–2010)
Entrepreneur (2006–10)

Ashley Sibelius Peacock is a fictional character from the UK television ITV soap opera, Coronation Street. Portrayed by actor Steven Arnold, the character first appeared onscreen during the episode airing on 1 February 1995.[1] On 23 April 2010, it was announced that the character had been axed along with his on-screen family by new producer Phil Collinson.[2] Ashley was a victim of the tram crash and died as part of the show's 50th birthday in December 2010.

Character Development[edit]

Background[edit]

Ashley is the son of Fred Elliott and Kathleen Gutteridge. He was conceived when his father had a relationship with Kathleen who was an employee at his family's shop. Fred proposed to Kathleen, wanting to provide stability for his son but Kathleen rejected his proposal as she didn't want to be tied down at a young age. When Ashley was born, Kathleen agreed to let Fred's sister Beryl Peacock and her husband Sam, raise Ashley as their own son. Ashley grew up believing Fred was his uncle and Beryl was his mother.

Storylines[edit]

Ashley is first seen doing bicycle deliveries for his uncle, Fred Elliott, from his butcher's shop and later dates Kelly Thomson, the nanny of Daniel Osbourne. In October 1996, he moves out of his mother's house and becomes Don Brennan's lodger. Don later sets fire to Mike Baldwin's factory and frames Ashley to cover his tracks. Ashley is arrested but later released without charge. After his relationship with Kelly ends, Ashley is involved in an on-off relationship with Maxine Heavey. Eventually, Maxine moves in with Ashley at No4 - his Uncle Fred's house.

When teenage runaway Zoe Tattersall comes to Coronation Street, Ashley takes pity on her and allows her to stay in the spare bedroom. Maxine is uncomfortable with the arrangement and leaves. Eventually Ashley falls in love with Zoe and sets out to be a provider for her and her baby daughter, Shannon. However, Zoe exploits Ashley's good nature and runs off to join a cult after Shannon dies of meningitis.

In 1999, Ashley and Maxine get back together, and finally marry in September. Ashley also finds out that his Uncle, Fred, is actually his father. Fred tells Ashley about Kathleen and her reluctance to be a mother at a young age. Fred also explains to Ashley that Beryl, who he believed to be his mother is actually his Aunt and that Fred let her raise Ashley so he could watch him grow up. Ashley decides that he wants to meet his birth mother but Fred begs him not too, believing it would hurt Beryl. Ashley, however, tracks Kathleen down to her home in Oldham. He is initially very bitter towards her for abandoning him but they reconcile and Ashley lets Kathleen attend his and Maxine's wedding.

Ashley as he appeared in 1995.

Ashley and Maxine decide to have a baby and after months of trying, it is discovered that Ashley's reproductive system needs minor surgery. While he is in hospital overnight, Maxine gets drunk and has a one night stand with local doctor Matt Ramsden and subsequently becomes pregnant with his child. When Joshua is born in 2002, Maxine lets Ashley believe that he is the father and Ashley is listed as Joshua's father on the birth certificate. Maxine tells Ashley the truth and he is hurt and betrayed by her actions, but he forgives her and agrees to raise Joshua as his son and asks her never to reveal to anybody that he is not Joshua's biological father.

In January 2003, Maxine is murdered by Richard Hillman, leaving Ashley devastated. At Maxine's funeral, her boss Audrey Roberts causes a scene and accuses Richard of murdering Maxine and attempting to kill her and Emily Bishop. Later at the wake in the Rovers', Ashley is very angry with Audrey and doesn't accept her apology. However, he accepts the support of Audrey's daughter, Gail. Richard's wife. Ashley is further devastated when a blood test confirms that Matt is indeed Joshua's biological father. Ashley realises that he needs help looking after Joshua, and hires a nanny, Claire Casey. Ashley and Claire bond over Joshua and they eventually fall in love. In September 2004, Ashley proposes to Claire in the Rovers and she accepts. They get married on Christmas Day 2004.

In November 2005, Fred challenges another butcher, Eddie Maddocks, to a boxing match between Ashley and Eddie's son, Marvin, a local boxing champion. On the day of the fight, Fred drops a weight on Ashley's foot and he is hospitalized. Ashley recovers and goes ahead with the fight but a riot breaks out amongst the spectators. In order to restore order, Ashley and Marvin agree on a tie.

On their first wedding anniversary in December 2005, Claire tells Ashley that she is pregnant. Their son Thomas, is born on 17 July 2006. Around the same time, Matt contacts Ashley and demands access to Joshua. Ashley refuses and the matter goes to court. Eventually, Claire persuades Ashley to make Matt an offer of limited access which he accepts but ends up delivering Claire's baby when she goes into labour on Matt's first visit and congratulates Ashley on becoming a father himself. Ashley is supportive of Claire when she suffers from post-natal depression and is sectioned after trying to kill Freddie. Ashley stands by Claire during her ordeal and they reconcile when she is allowed home.

In October 2006, Ashley is devastated when Fred dies of a heart attack. Fred had been due to marry Bev Unwin but visited his former lover, Audrey Roberts's, house. Although Ashley swore that Fred and Audrey weren't having an affair, other residents didn't believe him. Ashley had to cope with the loss of his father and people gossiping about why Fred had been at Audrey's house. Ashley blamed Audrey for Fred's death because she told him that she loved him and wished he was marrying her instead of Bev. Ashley is comforted by Claire who suggests that they rename their son Freddie, in Fred's honour. Ashley takes over the running of his father's shop.

In May 2007, whilst Ashley and Joshua visit Maxine's parents, the Peacock's house is set on fire. Claire is rescued and Freddie goes missing but is later found in a local park. Claire suspects her former friend Casey Carswell but Ashley does not believe her. One day whilst Claire is out, Ashley kisses Casey and they agree to forget it ever happened. However, Casey has no intention of forgetting anything, manipulating Ashley into having an affair. They are almost caught when Claire returns from a trauma support group. Feeling guilty about his affair, Ashley confesses to Audrey and Kevin Webster. Ashley decides to make his marriage work and ends things with Casey but, adamant that Ashley loves her, Casey pesters him constantly. This makes Claire suspicious, as Casey had stayed with Ashley while she was away, and she asks Ashley if he had slept with Casey but he denies it. Casey becomes obsessed with Ashley and was prepared to do anything to get his attention, eventually kidnapping Freddie and tells Kirk that Ashley asked her to collect Freddie, so Kirk allows her to take him. She takes him to her house, knowing Ashley would come to get him. When Ashley arrives, he is horrified to see Casey has photographs of him everywhere. He tries to reason with her until Claire arrives. Casey tells Ashley to get rid of her but she barges in and Audrey, who also accompanied them, calls the police. Claire talks to Casey and she reveals her affair with Ashley. Claire rescues Freddie and Casey is arrested and confesses to starting the fire at the Peacocks' house. After Ashley and Casey's affair is revealed, Claire tells Ashley their marriage is over. He moves out, staying briefly with the Websters then moving in with Audrey, her lover Bill Webster and her grandson, David Platt. Ashley sees Joshua and Freddie regularly, but it is clear that Claire is angry and hurt by his actions. She struggles with childcare and work but cannot bring herself to forgive Ashley until Audrey convinces her to do so and the couple reconcile.

During 2008, Claire is shocked to discover that she and Ashley are struggling financially. Ashley confesses to using their savings to keep the butcher's shop going until things improve. Claire discusses housing options with Sally Webster when Sally mentions that her daughters are getting too old to share a room. Ashley and Claire's sons are young enough for room sharing not to be a problem so Claire and Sally decide to swap houses. Initially, both Ashley and Kevin are reluctant to move but are persuaded to do so by their wives. The couples agree to value the houses and the Websters agree to give the Peacocks the difference in cash. Eventually, the purchase price is agreed and both families move.

In July 2009, Claire is rushed into hospital after collapsing due to a near-fatal blood clot, brought on by a miscarriage. Neither Claire nor Ashley knew of the pregnancy. During her recovery, Claire decides not to have any more children and insists Ashley have a vasectomy. He agrees but when he arrives at the clinic for the surgery, he changes his mind and goes home, telling Claire that he has had it done. Eventually however, he tells her the truth, causing tension between the couple; eventually he agrees to have the operation.

On 10 November 2008, Ashley employs Graeme Proctor at his shop following the teenager's release from a Young Offenders Institution and he and Ashley form a close bond and friendship.[3]

Since Autumn 2009, Ashley developed a friendship with Steve McDonald due to Claire's newly developed friendship with Steve's wife, Becky.

In August 2010, Claire is babysitting Joshua, Freddie, Aadi and Asha Alahan and Simon Barlow. She is forced to leave the children when her mother is taken ill and asks Sophie Webster and Sian Powers to watch the children. Whilst she is gone, Aadi and Simon have a fight and Aadi hits his head and later collapses and is rushed to hospital. He recovers and Aadi's parents Dev and Sunita tell the police Claire was babysitting. When Claire is questioned, she tells the police about Sophie and Sian babysitting. Claire later tells Ashley she is concerned that her past mental health problems will be brought up but he reassures her that she has nothing to worry about. The Peacocks' are angry with the Alahans for telling the police about Claire.

After the police question Sophie and Sian, Sally confronts the Peacocks' at Roy and Hayley Cropper's wedding and accuses Claire of using the girls as a scapegoat and causing Aadi's injury herself and mocks her former mental health problems. Claire then reveals that Sophie and Sian are lesbians and that she saw them kissing after returning home but the girls deny it. Ashley and Claire leave the ceremony and Claire shouts at Sophie as they walk past her for letting everyone believe that she is a liar.

Claire then goes to stay with her mother and leaves Joshua and Freddie with Ashley. Ashley is angry with Sunita when she comes into the butchers to ask after Claire and he orders her to leave. When the truth is revealed about Simon causing Aadi's injury, Ashley angrily confronts Simon's father Peter and accuses Simon of lying to cover his tracks and causing Claire's problems. Peter apologizes to Ashley. When Claire returns home, Sunita comes round to apologize but the Peacocks' do not accept it and Ashley orders Sunita to leave.

In order to put her ordeal behind her, Claire asks Ashley if they can move away from Weatherfield for a fresh start. Ashley is reluctant at first but agrees. However, Claire's mother Yvonne later visits and she convinces Claire to move to France, where she lives. Claire is enthusiastic and agrees but Ashley changes his mind about moving, not wanting to leave the country.

In October 2010, Ashley is closing the butcher's shop when he witnesses Graeme get run over by his former friend David Platt. Ashley calls an ambulance and has to restrain Graeme's girlfriend, Tina McIntyre, David's ex-girlfriend, from attacking David. Ashley and Claire accompany Graeme to the hospital and Ashley believes Claire is having second thoughts about leaving. Ashley is angry with David and accuses him of deliberately running Graeme over, saying some horrible comments. However, upon learning that David had an epileptic fit at the wheel and didn't mean to run Graeme over, he feels guilty and apologises off-screen.

In order to change Ashley's mind about moving, Claire arranges a romantic meal for them but Ashley realises that she is trying to win him round when he notices that the food and wine is French. Ashley refuses to move again, but suddenly feels a pain in his chest. Believing he is having a heart attack, Claire rushes him to hospital. Ashley discovers that he was suffering from indigestion but he does not tell Claire this and he lets her continue thinking that he has heart problems in order for her to change her mind about moving and it works. Ashley is given indigestion tablets and removes them from their packet and puts them in a biscuit tin in the kitchen. Later, Joshua feeds Freddie one of Ashley's pills and Claire panics and takes Freddie to hospital. Ashley is forced to admit that the tablets were for indigestion and not heart problems. When Claire returns home she apologizes to Ashley for forcing him to move and tells him that she will move to France alone, with Joshua and Freddie and leave him behind.

Ashley is forced to sleep on the sofa and later gets drunk in the Rovers. Graeme and Tina take him home and let him spend the night at their flat in order to sleep off his hangover. Ashley attends Jack Dobbs' christening and Jack Duckworth asks him how things are between him and Claire. Ashley is forced to admit that his marriage may be over but Jack convinces Ashley to speak to Claire and he does so in the Rovers but they end up arguing again.

Jack dies two weeks later and at his funeral Ashley comforts Claire. At Jack's wake Ashley and Claire reconcile and he agrees to move to France with her. Ashley tells Graeme he will be selling the shop. Graeme is sad but wishes Ashley and Claire well.

On 6 December 2010 Ashley attends Peter Barlow's stag night at The Joinery Bar. Ashley gets drunk and decides to go home. He goes into the office to say goodbye to Peter. He wishes Peter well and tells him never to turn his back on his fiancee Leanne Battersby. He also asks Peter to come and visit himself and Claire in France once they have settled down and the two men embrace. An explosion then tears through The Joinery, severing the overhead railway line and derailing a tram. Ashley is trapped in the office with Peter and bar manager Nick Tilsley. He then helps Nick free Peter who is buried under debris and badly injured. Ashley tries to search for a way out and realises he is seriously injured when he coughs up blood. He then tries to call Claire but gets no reply. He leaves a message on her phone telling her that he loves her and is looking forward to going to France with her and the boys. Ashley and Nick then manage to carry Peter to a hole in the wall after hearing firefighters call out to them. The roof starts to collapse and Ashley is trapped but holds the ceiling up long enough for Nick to pass Peter out to safety. Nick offers to stay behind and help Ashley but realising it is too late to save himself, Ashley shouts at Nick to get out and save himself. The roof then gives way and Ashley is crushed to death. Claire then listens to the voicemail that ashley left her whilst he was trapped in the joinery.

A distraught Claire then goes to identify Ashley's body at the morgue along with Graeme. Ashley's funeral was held on 16 December 2010, off-screen. The character has been referenced to several times since his death.

Reception[edit]

For his portrayal of Ashley, Arnold was nominated in the category of "Most Popular Actor" at the 1999 National Television Awards.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Webmaster (2009). "Coronation Street - Cast & Characters - Ashley Peacock". ITV.com. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  2. ^ Daily Mail Reporter (25 April 2010). "Coronation Street's Ashley and Claire Peacock Axed". London: Daily Mail. Archived from the original on 28 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  3. ^ New Corrie butcher is David Platt's old cellmate (2008-10-16). "New Corrie butcher is David Platt's old cellmate : Corrieblog". Corrieblog.tv. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  4. ^ "TV stars prepare for battle". BBC News ((BBC)). 26 October 1999. Retrieved 2 April 2012. 

External links[edit]