Peter Barlow (Coronation Street)

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Peter Barlow
Peter Barlow (Coronation Street).jpg
Chris Gascoyne as Peter Barlow (2011)
Coronation Street character
Portrayed by John Heannau (1965–70)
Christopher Dormer (1970–71)
Mark Duncan (1971)
Linus Roache (1973–75)
Joseph McKenner (1977–78)
David Lonsdale (1986)
Chris Gascoyne (2000–14)
Duration 1965–71, 1973–75, 1977–78, 1986, 2000–03, 2007, 2008 –14
First appearance 5 April 1965
Last appearance 14 November 2014
Introduced by H. V. Kershaw (1965)
Eric Prytherch (1973, 1974)
Susi Hush (1975)
Bill Podmore (1977, 1978)
Jane MacNaught (2000)
Steve Frost (2007)
Kim Crowther (2008)
Classification Former; regular
Profile
Occupation Sailor (1981–2000)
Businessman (2008–14)
Bookmaker (2000–03, 2008–13)
Barman (2008–10)
Factory Co-owner (2013–14)
Unemployed (2014–)
Home Weatherfield (1965 - 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1986, 2000 - 2003, 2008 - 2014)
Prison (2014 )
Portsmouth (2014-)
Cruise ship (1986, 1987 - 1999)

Peter Francis Barlow is a fictional character from the ITV television soap opera Coronation Street. The character first appeared onscreen when he was born during the episode aired on 5 April 1965. Currently portrayed by Chris Gascoyne,[1] who has portrayed the character in episodes since the live 40th anniversary show in December 2000, the character has been previously portrayed by five different actors.

Raised with his twin sister Susan, by his grandparents from the age of five after the death of his mother Valerie Barlow (Anne Reid), Peter grew up apart from his father Ken (William Roache). He joined the Royal Navy in 1980 and married Jessica Midgeley 10 years later. The marriage lasted 10 years, after which Peter returned to Weatherfield. Having bought the Bookies, Peter married both Shelley Unwin (Sally Lindsay) and florist Lucy Richards (Katy Carmichael) in a high profile bigamous storyline. Having been discovered, Peter was left alone and fled Weatherfield. He returned in 2008 with a son Simon (Alex Bain) whom he had by Lucy who had died from cancer. Struggling to cope with fatherhood, Peter took to drinking and after numerous relationships, got engaged and married Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) in the 50th anniversary episode; however, they separated in February 2012 after his affair with Carla Connor (Alison King) was exposed. He later married Carla and then had an affair with Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan). It has been confirmed that Gascoyne will be leaving the show in Autumn 2014, alongside Marc Baylis who plays Rob Donovan leaving in November.[2]

Storylines[edit]

1965–2007[edit]

Peter and his twin sister Susan were born on 5 April 1965. Their names were decided the next day and they went home on 26 April 1965.

In January 1971, Ken and Valerie planned to emigrate to Jamaica as Ken had been offered a teaching post there. On 27 January, the residents of Coronation Street organised a leaving party in the The Rovers Return Inn. While Valerie was getting ready for the party she was electrocuted and killed by a faulty hairdryer. Wanting the best for the twins, Ken sent them to Glasgow to live with Valerie's parents.

Peter couldn't make it to Ken's wedding to Deirdre Langton (Anne Kirkbride) in 1981 as he had joined the navy after leaving school and was away at sea. In 1986, he visited when Susan married Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs). As Ken refused to go to the wedding, Peter made an emotional appeal, saying that he and Susan had barely seen their father in the last 15 years and that he always assumed, given half a chance, Ken would step up if his children needed him and he was able to help. Ken reconsidered and attended the wedding.

Peter returned in December 2000. In early 2001, he accidentally let slip that Susan had a teenage son, Adam Barlow, fathered by Mike Baldwin. Deirdre told Dev Alahan (Jimmi Harkishin), who then told Mike. Susan (Joanna Foster), who had been visiting at the time, tried to flee when Mike threatened legal action and she is tragically killed in a car accident. Peter is devastated, blaming himself and Deirdre for Susan's death. Peter took a job at the local bookmakers, stealing money from the dodgy owner and making it look at the time, like a break-in. He began dating barmaid, Shelley Unwin, but when Peter's old Navy friend, Ciaran McCarthy (Keith Duffy), visited, he made a pass at Shelley. Peter believed Ciaran's side of the story and Shelley moved out, though the couple later reconciled. Peter later met florist, Lucy Richards, when buying flowers for Shelley. He was attracted to her and a brief affair began but didn't last.

Lucy, unknown to Peter, hired his stepsister, Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford), to cover her maternity leave. Tracy told Peter that her employer was pregnant and Peter realised that he was probably the child's father. Peter married Lucy while engaged to Shelley, promising Lucy it is over with the Rovers' landlady. Lucy gave birth to their son, Simon, in early July 2003 but wasn't sure if she wanted Peter involved with the child. Peter was torn between his son and Shelley but married her in a big church wedding, thus committing bigamy. However, both woman realized what Peter had done when Lucy saw Shelley sticking her wedding photos into an album and recognized the groom and the bridesmaid. Lucy returned the same day and showed Shelley her wedding photos in the back room of the pub, just as Peter arrived. Horrified, Shelley threw Peter out and he left briefly, so Shelley and Lucy took control of the bookies and investigated pressing charges for bigamy. When he returned, he reclaimed the bookies and when Lucy saw that Shelley and Peter could reconcile, Lucy tricked him into thinking they had a future together. After he told Shelley in front of a packed pub that he is leaving her for Lucy, Shelley punched him and Lucy announced that she and Simon were emigrating to Australia alone. Peter resigned himself to never knowing his son and left the Street soon after.

On 8 January 2007, Peter returned to the street after Ken contacted him regarding Tracy's stormy relationship with boyfriend, Charlie Stubbs (Bill Ward). Only hours later, he was viciously attacked by Stubbs who thinks that Peter and Tracy have slept together. Tracy later killed Charlie, supposedly in self-defence, and Peter decided to stay when she is charged with murder. He had a brief dalliance with Maria Sutherland (Samia Ghadie), who was also involved with Charlie. However, once Tracy was convicted and sentenced to fifteen years in prison, Peter returned to Portsmouth, taking Adam (Sam Robertson), with him.

2008–2014[edit]

In 2008, Lucy died from ovarian cancer and Peter got custody of their son, Simon (Alexander Bain). Peter brought him to Weatherfield, seeking Ken and Deirdre's help but Ken suspects, correctly, that Peter planned to leave Simon with him. Peter changed his mind when he learnt that Lucy had left her estate to him, providing that he used it for Simon's benefit. He bought the local bookmakers and renamed it "Barlow's Bookies".

Peter became attracted to Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) but she was initially non-committal, suspecting that he had a drink problem. Eventually, Leanne agreed to go out with him but they only dated a few times before Peter had to return to Portsmouth briefly. While he was away, his drink problem came to a head and he ended up in rehab. When he returned, Peter admitted that he had a fling with another woman, resulting in Leanne dumping him and leaving Weatherfield. However, Peter's drink problem was far from under control, coming to a head again when he passed out and accidentally set fire to the flat, almost killing himself and Simon. Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien) and Luke Strong (Craig Kelly) rescued them and Peter finally admitted that he was an alcoholic, giving up booze and attending a support group. He dated Michelle Connor (Kym Marsh) briefly but they decided it would not work. Leanne returned and she and Peter reconciled.

Peter and Leanne decided to open a bar, but Ken was hesitant about the venture because of Peter's alcoholism, but Lucy's father, George (Anthony Valentine) offered to fund the project. The bar never opened because Peter fell off the wagon and returned to rehab. While he was away, George (having been granted temporary custody of Simon), applied for full custody. He and his wife, Eve, took Simon to Blackpool but he ran away. Peter frantically searched for him but Simon came home alone and unharmed and George renounced his custody case. Peter and Leanne got engaged, but Peter felt threatened by the return of Leanne's ex-husband, Nick Tilsley (Ben Price), until Leanne convinced him that Nick was just a friend. Nick decided to open the bar and offered Leanne a job, believing that it would make Leanne happy. Peter persuaded her to take the job and started mentoring Leanne's friend, Carla Connor (Alison King), when he realised that she also had a drink problem, but became annoyed by her attempts to seduce him.

Peter had his stag party in his former bar, The Joinery, on 6 December 2010, but there was an explosion due to a problem with the gas. After the explosion, as a crowd gathered in the street, a tram came along the viaduct track, unaware that some of the viaduct had been destroyed. The tram plunged from the viaduct into the street. The bar was destroyed and Peter was trapped with Ashley Peacock (Steven Arnold) and Nick. Peter was crushed but Nick and Ashley helped him out. Peter was rushed to hospital with crush injuries to the legs and trauma to the lower back and chest, and suffered a cardiac tamponade. Aware that he was unlikely to survive, he married Leanne immediately but went into cardiac arrest moments after the ceremony concluded. He survived and left hospital in a wheelchair, moving in with Ken briefly until he could manage stairs again. In late December 2010, he and Leanne went on their honeymoon but when they returned, Nick manipulated Peter to fall off the wagon again but he stopped for Simon's sake. Leanne and Peter decided to renew their vows but Peter was devastated to learn that Leanne had an affair with Nick. Peter used the blessing to announce the affair to the congregation, telling Leanne that he wanted a divorce. Peter got revenge on Nick by scaring him with an iron bar in the ruins of the Joinery before reconciling with Leanne. Peter, Leanne and Simon went on holiday to celebrate their reunion. On their return, Peter returned to work, despite walking with a crutch.

In June 2011, Peter became friendly with Carla again, making Leanne extremely insecure and causing several arguments. The new manageress at the Rovers, Stella Price (Michelle Collins), saved Leanne from an armed robber while Peter was collecting Simon from school. In gratitude, Peter and Leanne invited Stella to dinner and Stella took a picture of Leanne from the flat. Peter found it in Stella's purse and confronted her - where she admitted that she was in fact Leanne's mother. During Leanne's 30th birthday party at The Rovers, Stella told Leanne, who was furious that Stella abandoned her as a baby and also blamed Peter for not telling her when he found out. In July, Leanne discovered that she was pregnant and was overjoyed, but Peter had doubts, admitting to Ken that he wasn't sure they were ready. Carla overheared Ken and Deirdre congratulating them in the Rovers and pushed Peter into confirming that Leanne was pregnant. Leanne was furious when she realised Carla knew and had dropped hints to Simon about it. She confronted Peter and they argued again. After Leanne insulted Peter about his alcoholism and he stormed out. Feeling guilty, Leanne went after him but fell down the stairs at the flat. Stella eventually found her and raised the alarm. At the hospital, a doctor confirmed that Leanne had miscarried. Peter felt guilty about the stress Leanne was under, thinking that he had jinxed the pregnancy with his reservations. When Leanne realised that Peter had doubts, she assumed it meant that he hadn't fully forgiven her for the affair with Nick and ordered him to leave. Carla found Peter in a highly agitated state and took advantage of his vulnerability to try to seduce him again - he almost succumb, but at the last minute pushed her away. After discussing the situation with Ken, Peter returned to the hospital and told Leanne that he wanted them to try again when she had recovered.

In December 2011, Peter began drinking again and had an affair with Carla, telling her that she was the woman he loved and that he'd leave Leanne. Leanne learnt about this when Frank Foster's mother gave her photos of Peter and Carla kissing while Peter was giving his testimony at Frank's rape trial. She offered to forgive him and try to work it through but Peter informed her that he loved Carla. Leanne left in a taxi with a tearful Simon running after the car, begging her to stay. Simon then started misbehaving with Peter as he blamed him and Carla for Leanne's departure. Ken offered Peter his support when he saw that his son truly loved Carla but Deirdre made her disapproval clear and Stella barred them from the Rovers. Everyone gradually accepted the relationship, including Leanne, and Stella allowed them back into the Rovers.

In March 2012, Carla's ex-partner Frank Foster (Andrew Lancel) bought Carla out of the factory and conned her out of a deal they had made. Peter attempted to attack Frank but Carla and Sally Webster (Sally Dynevor) stopped him. When Frank was later found dead in the factory with major head injuries, many residents were suspected of the killing at first, including Michelle Connor, Sally Webster, Kevin Webster, and Carla. Carla initially suspected Peter of killing Frank, especially when he didn't come home, and when he did finally return he had blood stains on his shirt. Realizing that Carla was likely to get the blame for Frank's killing as she was the last known person to see him alive, Peter confessed to Frank's murder but was released when a friend from his alcohol addiction support group provided him with an alibi.

It was finally revealed that Frank's mother Anne was the culprit. Peter began a custody battle with Leanne over Simon, with Leanne eventually winning a residency order, herself beginning another relationship with ex-husband Nick Tilsley. Peter began drinking again and ended his relationship with Carla in a drunken row. He later abducted Simon from school and planned to run away to Lanzarote on a boat with Simon and Carla. However, Carla's sister-in-law Michelle thwarted their plan and told Leanne, who followed them to the railway station where Simon chose to stay in Weatherfield with her. Peter said an emotional goodbye before he and Carla decided to go anyway, saying the break is what they needed to sort themselves out. They returned about a month later. In July 2013, Peter got engaged to Carla and she signed 49% of her clothing factory Underworld over to him when he lost possession of the bookies.

When Leanne's husband Nick was involved in a car accident, he succomb to brain damage and Simon moved in temporarily with Peter and Carla. They employed Tina McIntyre as their nanny and Peter developed romantic feelings for her. They nearly kissed in The Rovers toilets but were caught by landlady Liz McDonald. The next day, Peter still went on to marry Carla but while she was asleep in the hotel bridal suite, Peter and Tina share a passionate kiss in the reception hall. The next day, Peter insisted to Tina that it was a one off and he went on his honeymoon with Carla. When they returned, Peter learnt that Tina had kissed Carla's brother Rob, who was dating his sister Tracy. He confronted Rob and warned him not to hurt Tracy, but he was actually jealous and couldn't bear to see Tina with another man. When Peter and Tina were alone later in the flat, while Carla was visiting a sick Hayley, they had sex in Carla and Peter's bedroom. For Christmas, Carla gave Peter a further 1% of the factory, making them equal partners.

Carla found out that she was pregnant and confided in Michelle that she maybe wasn't ready to be a mother. Carla almost had a termination but couldn't go through with it. Carla informed Peter that she was pregnant, and on the same day that Tina told Peter that she might be pregnant. Peter went on a drinking spree and confided in Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) about his affair with Tina. Tina asked Peter to move with her to a new life away from Weatherfield. Peter initially agreed, but after realizing how much he loved Carla, he decided to stay in Weatherfield. During Carla's announcement in the pub that Peter and herself were to become parents, an upset and angry Tina listened to it all teary eyed and threatened to tell Carla everything about their affair. Peter resigned himself that he was going to have to come clean to Carla about the affair. Carla was devastated, stunned that she could be betrayed by the man she loved and Tina whom she classed as a close friend.

Before Carla could confront Tina however, Rob Donovan went to Tina's flat above the builder's yard to have it out with her. During a tussle between the pair, Tina fell from the balcony, landing in the street below. Panicking, Rob ransacked the flat to make it look like a violent robbery, but when he went into the street he found Tina still alive, trying to stand up. Relieved that she wasn't dead, Rob began to phone for an ambulance, but Tina threatened him that she was going to tell the police about he and Tracy's dodgy dealings in the shop they ran together. Rob's rage built inside him, and determined that he wasn't going back to prison he grabbed an iron bar from a skip nearby and hit Tina over the head with it. Tina never regained consciousness fully and died in hospital a week later.

Peter became the target of blame for the murder, with numerous residents such as Beth Tinker (Lisa George) and Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden) pointing the finger at him. A charm bracelet owned by Steph Britton (Tisha Merry) that had been apparently stolen from the crime scene was found in the Barlows' outhouse, and Peter was subsequently arrested and charged. On 24 October 2014 Peter was sentenced to life in prison and was told he would spend fifteen years before any chance of parole.

On the eve of Tracy's wedding to Rob, Rob admits to his sister, Peter's estranged wife Carla, that he was the one who murdered Tina. Carla is wracked with guilt and on the day of the wedding, calls the police on Rob, who manages to escape after apologising to Tracy. Tracy is confused as she doesn't know what's going on. Carla tells her that Rob killed Tina but she doesn't believe her and Rob goes on the run.

Rob phones Tracy and she meets him at a B+B where she tells him that she will run away with him. She meets him the next night at a disused warehouse and after stalling their departure, the police arrive and arrest Rob after Tracy had phoned them. Ken is told that Peter will be released the following week, and plans a party tea for his son. Peter arrives home and is thrilled to see Simon and hands him the diary he kept in prison. Steve shakes Peter's hand and offers an awkward apology, which Peter accepts as he is keen to move on, now he is a free man once more. Later, when Carla takes the factory girls to The Rovers to celebrate a new order, Peter enters and locks eyes with Carla. Peter pleads with Carla to give him 5 minutes and hear what he has to say. In The Rovers back room, Peter thanks Carla for handing him a lifeline. Carla makes it crystal clear that she didn't do it for him but for the sake of justice.

Despite this, Peter suggests that they could make another go of their relationship. Desperate and casting dignity aside, Peter gets down on his knees and tearfully begs Carla to take him back, but Carla refuses.

Michelle calls at Number 1 and hands Peter an envelope containing Carla's wedding ring. Peter's day goes from bad to worse when Steph lays into him, pointing out that had Tina never met him, she'd still be alive.

Ken is later horrified to find a bottle of vodka stashed away in Peter's jacket. At breaking point, Peter drops a bombshell on Ken. He is leaving the street, for good.

After agreeing to rent the bookies flat to Owen Armstrong (Ian Puleston-Davies), Peter calls in the pub and tells Steve and Michelle that he is leaving. Michelle is glad to see the back of him, but Steve wishes Peter well.

After arranging for any rent to be paid to Leanne for Simon's maintenance, Peter breaks the news to Simon that he is moving to Portsmouth. Simon is clearly upset and when he launches himself at Peter, begging him not to leave, Peter isn't persuaded and tells his son that he has to leave.

Simon is upset, blaming himself for not believing in his own dad's innocence and causing him to want to leave. Peter assures Simon that it's not his fault.

Later, Carla finds Peter and a tearful Simon on Maxine's bench. Carla joins them and promises Simon that she'll arrange for him to visit his dad in Portsmouth whenever he wants to. Peter bids farewell to Ken, Leanne and Tracy, and leaves the Street in a cab driven by Steve, with Simon, to the station so Simon could say goodbye properly.

Creation[edit]

Casting[edit]

Peter in 1986 as played by David Lonsdale.

Robert Heanue was the first actor to portray the character from 1965 to 1970. Chris Dormer played the role from 1970 to 1972 when the 7-year-old actor was written out of the soap due to his parents' emigration to Canada. He did not continue to act and reflected on his time as the young Peter in 2001, "I really enjoyed the Street. I remember Pat Phoenix and Julie Goodyear kissing and tickling me because they thought I was cute. Most of the actors were nice, but some weren't. Violet Carson, who played Ena Sharples, was very grumpy. She didn't like children and really scared me." On-screen Peter and his sister Susan were written out of the soap to live with their grandparents when their mother Valerie Barlow was killed off.[3]

One of the seven actors who has portrayed the character is Linus Roache, the real-life son of William Roache who portrays Peter's father, Ken Barlow in the programme. Linus returned to the show in 2010, playing Lawrence Cunningham, another son of Ken Barlow.

Personality and characterisation[edit]

Upon the character's return to the show in October 2008, Chris Gascoyne spoke of his character's destructive personality in an interview with Digital Spy, he stated, "He's been trying against the odds to sort his life out, but he can't. And when it doesn't work and it all goes wrong for him, he has a drink. There are hurdles in his way all the time. He's stubborn and resents people telling him what to do. He'll listen to advice, but he won't take any notice if he thinks the person giving it isn't in a place to do so. That happens a lot with Ken."[4]

In an interview with ITV Chris Gascoyne said, "Drink is becoming an issue and his self-esteem is low. He can’t see a way out and he can’t imagine doing this for the rest of his life (fatherhood)."[1] During the storyline he described his character as being seen as a coward,[1] adding, "He has the potential to be a very good dad but at the minute he feels like everything is conspiring against him and he hasn’t got the confidence or the self-esteem to cope."

It was announced in September 2013 that Peter would begin an affair with Tina, and will go on until her exit in the summer of 2014.[1]

Reception[edit]

Ahead of the fire storyline in March 2009, the fire minister Sadiq Khan said: "I would like to thank Coronation Street for highlighting this very important issue. Peter Barlow's actions show how dangerous it is to go to sleep while smoking, putting not only his but son Simon's life at risk too".[5] The episode in which the fire was screened drew in 10.3 million viewers (42.6% audience share) in March 2009.[6]

In February 2011, Gascoyne was nominated for Best Actor at the 2011 All About Soap Bubbles Awards for his portrayal of Peter.[7] He was nominated in the category of "Best Actor" at the 2011 British Soap Awards.[8] In 2014, Gascoyne has been nominated for "Sexiest Male", "Villain of the Year" and "Best Actor" at The British Soap Awards

Sarah Ellis of Inside Soap said that Peter was great to watch when he is with Carla. She also opined that the pair are "like a car crash waiting to happen".[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Webmaster (22 October 2008). "Coronation Street News - Peter Barlow". ITV. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  2. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (11 January 2014). "Coronation Street producer on Tony story: 'He's a man with an edge'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 4 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "The soaps' lost children; HOW YOUNG STARS COPED WHEN AXE FELL ON FAME.". The Mirror. 2001-05-02. Retrieved 2010-04-09. 
  4. ^ Kris Green (16 December 2008). "Chris Gascoyne (Peter Barlow, Corrie)". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  5. ^ Sadiq Khan (27 March 2009). "Fire Minister Thanks Coronation Street for Highlighting Dangers of Fire". Manchesterfire.gov.uk. Retrieved 2009-06-10. [dead link]
  6. ^ Kris Green (31 March 2009). "Soaps Ratings Roundup: March 30". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  7. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (13 February 2011). "In Full: All About Soap Bubble nominations". Digital Spy (London: Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  8. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (7 March 2011). "British Soap Awards 2011 voting opens". Digital Spy (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 2011-03-07. 
  9. ^ Ellis, Sarah (18–24 February 2012). "Soapbox". Inside Soap (Hearst Magazines UK) (7): 97. 

External links[edit]

Peter Barlow at itv.com