Peter Barlow (Coronation Street)
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)
Bookmaker (2000–03, 2008–13)
Factory Co-owner (2013–14)
Cruise Ship (2014–)
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, 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). In January 2014 it was confirmed that Gascoyne would be leaving the show, alongside Marc Baylis who played Rob Donovan. Their final scenes aired in November.
Peter and his twin sister Susan are born on 5 April 1965 to Ken and Valerie Barlow. Their names are decided the following day and they return home with their parents on 26 April 1965.
In January 1971, Ken and Valerie plan to emigrate to Jamaica with the twins as Ken had been offered a teaching post there. On 27 January, the residents of Coronation Street organise a leaving party in the The Rovers Return Inn. Whilst Valerie is getting ready for the party she is electrocuted and killed by a faulty hairdryer. Wanting the best for the twins, Ken sends them to Glasgow to live with Valerie's parents and only sees them sporadically over the following years as they grow up.
Peter is unable 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 visits when Susan (Wendy Jane Walker) marries Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs). As Ken refuses to go to the wedding, Peter makes 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. Due to Peter's intervention, Ken reconsiders and attends the wedding.
Peter returns in December 2000 after leaving the navy. After unsuccessfully chatting up Linda Sykes (Jacqueline Pirie) and Karen Phillips (Suranne Jones), he drunkenly attempts to kiss Liz McDonald (Beverly Callard) in the pub after closing time and she throws him out. In early 2001, he accidentally lets slip that Susan has a teenage son, Adam Barlow (Iain de Caestecker), fathered by Mike. Deirdre tells Dev Alahan (Jimmi Harkishin), who then tells Mike. Susan ( now Joanna Foster), who had been visiting at the time, attempts to flee when Mike threatens legal action and she is killed in a car crash. Peter is devastated, blaming himself and Deirdre for Susan's death. Peter takes a job at the local bookmakers, stealing money from the dodgy owner, Rob Lucas (Mark Powley) and making it look like a break-in. He starts dating barmaid, Shelley Unwin (Sally Lindsay), but when Peter's old Navy friend, Ciaran McCarthy (Keith Duffy), visits, he makes a pass at Shelley. Peter believes Ciaran's side of the story and Shelley moves out,but the couple later reconcile. Peter later meets florist, Lucy Richards (Katy Carmichael), whilst buying flowers for Shelley. He is attracted to her and a brief affair occurs but it does not last, as Peter chooses Shelley.
Lucy, unknown to Peter, hires his stepsister, Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford), to work for her, covering her maternity leave. Tracy informs Peter that her employer is pregnant and Peter realizes that he is probably the child's father. Wanting to be a part of his child's life, Peter marries Lucy whilst engaged to Shelley, promising Lucy his relationship with the Rovers' landlady is over. Lucy gives birth to their son, Simon (Oscar and Jake Hartley), in early July 2003, but is unsure of whether she wants Peter involved with the child. When she discovers that Peter is still seeing Shelley, she throws him out and bans him from seeing Simon. Peter is torn between his son and Shelley, but eventually marries her in a big church wedding, committing bigamy in the process. Both women discover Peter's secret when Lucy, whilst searching for Peter, arrives in the Rovers and sees Shelley putting her wedding photos into an album and recognizes the groom and the bridesmaid, Tracy. Lucy returns the same day and shows Shelley her wedding photos in the back room of the pub, just as Peter arrives home. Horrified and disgusted by his betrayal, Shelley throws Peter out and he leaves Weatherfield briefly, and in an act of revenge Shelley and Lucy take control of the bookies and press charges for bigamy. When Peter returns, he reclaims the bookies and when Lucy discovers that Shelley still has feelings for Peter considers a reconciliation with him, Lucy tricks him into thinking they had a future together with Simon. After he tells Shelley in front of the packed pub that he is leaving her for Lucy, Shelley punches him and Lucy announces that she and Simon are emigrating to Australia alone. Peter resigns himself to never knowing his son and leaves the Street soon after, moving back to Portsmouth.
On 8 January 2007, Peter returns to Weatherfield after Ken contacts him in regards to Tracy's stormy relationship with her boyfriend, Charlie Stubbs (Bill Ward) and he stays with Tracy at Number 6. Only hours later, he is viciously attacked by Stubbs who thinks that Peter and Tracy have slept together. Tracy later kills Charlie, supposedly in self-defence, and Peter decides to stay when she is charged with murder. He has a brief dalliance with Maria Sutherland (Samia Ghadie), who had also been involved with Charlie. However, once Tracy is convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, Peter returns to Portsmouth, taking Adam (now Sam Robertson), with him to open a new Bookies.
In October 2008, Lucy dies from ovarian cancer and Peter is given custody of Simon (now Alex Bain) who is now five-years-old. Due to his business in Portsmouth failing, Peter brings Simon to Weatherfield, seeking Ken and Deirdre's help but Ken suspects, correctly, that Peter plans to leave Simon with him. Peter changes his mind when he learns that Lucy had left her estate to him, providing that he used it for Simon's benefit. He buys the local bookmakers and renames it "Barlow's Bookies".
Peter is attracted to his employee Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) but she is initially non-committal, suspecting, correctly that he has a drink problem. Eventually, Leanne agrees to go out with him but they only date a few times before Peter has to return to Portsmouth briefly. Whilst he is away, his drink problem gets worse and he is forced to go into rehab. When he returns, Peter admits that he had a fling with another woman, resulting in Leanne dumping him and leaving Weatherfield. However, Peter's drink problem is far from under control, and one night he passes out and accidentally sets fire to the flat, almost killing himself and Simon. Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien) and Luke Strong (Craig Kelly) rescue them and Peter finally admits that he is an alcoholic, and he vows to give up booze and attends a support group. He dates Michelle Connor (Kym Marsh) briefly but they decide their relationship would not work. In September 2009, Leanne returns and she and Peter reconcile.
Peter and Leanne decide to open a bar, but Ken is hesitant about the venture because of Peter's alcoholism, but Lucy's father, George (Anthony Valentine), who has tracked them down and wants to get to know Simon, offers to fund the project. On the opening night, Peter falls off the wagon and gets drunk and is forced to return to rehab. Whilst he is away, George, having been granted temporary custody of Simon, applies for full custody of his grandson. He and his wife, Eve, take Simon to Blackpool but he runs away when he discovers that George wants him to live with them. Peter frantically searches for him but Simon comes home alone and unharmed and George renounces his custody case and agrees to stay away from them. Peter and Leanne get engaged, but Peter feels threatened by the return of Leanne's former husband, Nick Tilsley (Ben Price), until Leanne convinces him that Nick is just a friend. Nick decides to open the bar and offers Leanne a job as bar manager. Feeling guilty for ruining her previous venture, Peter persuades her to take the job and starts mentoring Leanne's friend, Carla Connor (Alison King), when he realizes that she also has a drink problem. Carla begins to lean on Peter emotionally for support and she later attempts to seduce him. Peter then tells Carla that he cannot see her any more.
Peter celebrates his stag party in his and Leanne's former bar, The Joinery, now owned by Nick on 6 December 2010. The premises is destroyed by an explosion caused by a problem with the gas supply. Following the explosion, a tram derails and crashes into the street. The bar is destroyed and Peter is trapped inside with Ashley Peacock (Steven Arnold) and Nick. Peter is trapped and badly injured but Nick and Ashley rescue him. Peter is rushed to hospital with crush injuries to his legs and trauma to his lower back and chest, and suffers a cardiac tamponade. Aware that he is unlikely to survive, he marries Leanne in his hospital bed and goes into cardiac arrest moments after the ceremony has concluded. He survives and is shocked to learn that Ashley was killed and feels guilty for surviving. Peter leaves hospital in a wheelchair, moving in with Ken briefly until he can walk again and manage the stairs to his flat. In late December 2010, Peter and Leanne go on their honeymoon. When they return, Nick who wants to get back together with Leanne, manipulates Peter to fall off the wagon again by drinking in front of him but he stops drinking for Simon's sake. Leanne and Peter decide to renew their marriage vows but Peter is devastated to learn from Tracy, who has been released from prison, that Leanne had been having an affair with Nick in the weeks before the tram crash and Ken had known. Peter uses the wedding blessing to get revenge on Leanne and announces their affair to the congregation, telling Leanne that he wanted a divorce. The next day, Peter confronts Nick and threatens him with an iron bar in the ruins of the Joinery telling him that he will kill him if he crosses him again. The day after, Peter forgives Leanne as she plans to leave for London and they reconcile. Peter, Leanne and Simon go on holiday to celebrate their reunion. On their return, Peter returns to work, despite walking with a crutch and eventually makes a full recovery.
In June 2011, Peter supports Carla again after her mother dies, and this makes Leanne, who knows about Carla's feelings for Peter, feel insecure and causes several arguments between the two women. The new bar manageress at the Rovers, Stella Price (Michelle Collins), saves Leanne from an armed robber at the Bookies whilst Peter is collecting Simon from school. In gratitude, Peter and Leanne invite Stella and her partner Karl Munro (John Michie) to dinner and Stella steals a picture of Leanne from the flat. Peter finds it in Stella's purse and confronts her and she admits that she is Leanne's mother. During Leanne's 30th birthday party at The Rovers, Stella tells Leanne, who is furious that Stella abandoned her as a baby and also blames Peter for not telling her when he found out. In July, Leanne discovers that she is pregnant and is overjoyed, but Peter had doubts about being a father again, admitting to Ken that he wasn't sure they were ready for a baby. Carla overhears Ken and Deirdre congratulating them in the Rovers and pushes Peter into confirming that Leanne was pregnant. Leanne is furious when she realizes that Carla knew and had dropped hints to Simon about it. She confronts Peter and they argue. After Leanne insults Peter about his alcoholism, he storms out in a huff. Feeling guilty, Leanne goes after him but trips and falls down the stairs. Stella eventually finds her and raises the alarm. At the hospital, a doctor confirms that Leanne had miscarried. Peter feels guilty about the stress Leanne had been under, thinking that he had jinxed the pregnancy with his reservations. When Leanne realizes that Peter had doubts, she assumes it meant that he had not fully forgiven her for the affair with Nick and orders him to leave. Carla finds Peter in a highly agitated state and takes advantage of his vulnerability to try to seduce him again - he almost succumbs, but at the last minute pushes her away. After discussing the situation with Ken, Peter returns to the hospital and tells Leanne that he wanted them to try again for a baby when she had recovered.
Peter is later shocked to discover that Carla has been raped by her fiancé and business partner Frank Foster (Andrew Lancel) and feels guilty when he discovers that Frank had attacked Carla because he thought they had been having an affair. Peter confronts Frank after he is released on police bail and when Frank goads him and makes insulting remarks about Carla, Peter punches him and is arrested. Leanne begins to feel threatened by Peter's support of Carla and discovers from Frank that Carla had caused an accident in which her mother had been run over and badly injured. Carla had been driving Frank's car whilst drunk and Frank had taken the blame to protect her. When Leanne threatens to go to the police, Carla takes an overdose and is rushed to hospital. Leanne apologizes to Carla but asks her to stop relying on Peter for support.
In December 2011, Peter begins drinking again during the tram crash anniversary and goes to Carla's flat, telling her that she was the woman he loved and that he would leave Leanne for her. He and Carla sleep together that night and an affair begins. Leanne finds out about the affair when Anne Foster (Gwen Taylor) gives her photos of Peter and Carla kissing while Peter is giving evidence at her Frank's trial for Carla's rape. She offers to forgive him and try to work on their marriage but Peter tells her that he loves Carla. Leanne leaves in a taxi with a tearful Simon running after the car, begging her to stay. Simon then starts misbehaving with Peter as he blames him and Carla for Leanne's departure. Ken offers Peter his support when he sees that his son truly loves Carla but Deirdre makes her disapproval clear and Stella bars them from the Rovers.
In March 2012, after he is acquitted of rape, Frank attempts to buy Carla out of their clothing factory, Underworld, and cons her to sell her share of the business for a cheaper price in a deal they had made. A drunk Peter attempts to attack Frank but Carla and Sally Webster (Sally Dynevor) stop him. When Frank is later found murdered in the factory, Peter comes under suspicion of the crime. Carla tells him, when he has sobered up, that he did not come home and when he did eventually return he had blood stains on his shirt. Realizing that Carla is likely to get the blame for Frank's murder as she was the last person to see him alive, Peter confesses to the police that he is responsible and is charged and remanded in custody. Peter is released and cleared when his sponsor from his alcohol addiction support group provides him with an alibi. It is eventually revealed that Frank's mother Anne is his killer.
Leanne fights Peter for custody of Simon and Leanne eventually wins a residency order, at the same time reconciling with Nick. Angered by this and feeling jealous of Nick's relationship with Simon, Peter punches Nick at Simon's birthday party and Leanne denies him access to Simon. When he discovers that Nick and Leanne plan to move away with Simon, Peter begins drinking again and ends his relationship with Carla following a drunken row. After unsuccessfully attempting to convince Leanne to take him back, Peter goes missing. He later abducts Simon from school and contacts Carla and apologizes to her for his behaviour and they reconcile and plan to flee the country with Simon. However, Michelle thwarts their plan and tells Leanne, who follows them to the railway station and Simon chooses to stay in Weatherfield with her. Peter has an emotional goodbye with Simon and he and Carla decide to go on their own, after Carla convinces him that a break is what they need to sort themselves out. They return five months later in December and discover that Leanne and Nick are now engaged. After another row with Leanne, a distressed Carla goes back to Los Angeles where they had stayed on their trip. Peter and Leanne bond over Simon whilst taking him ice-skating and they attend Simon's school nativity play together. Thinking that Peter is trying to come between him and Leanne, an angry Nick punches him. On Leanne's hen night on Christmas Eve, Peter convinces Leanne to give their relationship another chance. On the morning of the wedding on Christmas Day, Leanne goes to visit Peter but discovers that Carla had returned the previous night and Peter has taken her back. After Nick jilts Leanne and calls off the wedding, Leanne confronts Peter and blaming him, she tells him that she wishes that he was dead and accuses him of ruining her life.
Peter takes an instant disliking to Carla's brother Rob Donovan (Marc Baylis) after Rob had roughed him up on their first meeting after seeing him shouting at Carla. He is further dismayed when Rob and Tracy start dating. Peter supports Carla when Rob and Tracy try and rip her off and Carla buys Rob out of the factory. Rob later places a bet on at the bookies which leaves Peter unable to pay him and facing bankruptcy. Rob threatens to sue him and blackmails him into allowing him to rent the bookies to him and Tracy to open a pawnbrokers shop. Carla gives Peter a job at the factory and she signs 49% of Underworld over to him. In July 2013, Peter and Carla get engaged.
When Nick is badly injured in a car crash, and suffers severe brain damage, Leanne focuses on helping him recover and Simon moves in temporarily with Peter and Carla. They employ Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan) as a nanny and Peter develops romantic feelings for her. They nearly kiss in The Rovers toilets but are caught by Liz, who is now the pub landlady and Tina's boss. Still disliking him due to his previous advances towards her, Liz warns Peter off Tina. The next day, Peter and Carla marry but whilst she is asleep in the hotel bridal suite, Peter and Tina share a passionate kiss in the empty reception hall. The next day, Peter insists to Tina that it was a one off and he goes on his honeymoon with Carla. When they return, Peter learn that Tina had kisses Rob, who is still dating Tracy. Peter confronts Rob and warns him not to hurt Tracy, but he is actually jealous of Rob and Tina. When Tina finds out about this, she visits Peter and demands an explanation, whilst Carla is visiting a sick Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh). Peter and Tina succumb to their feelings for each other and they have sex in Carla and Peter's bed. For Christmas, Carla gives Peter a further 1% of the factory as a present, making them equal partners.
Carla later finds out that she is pregnant and confides in Michelle that she isn't ready to be a mother. She almost has a termination but cannot go through with it. Carla informs Peter that she is pregnant, and on the same day Tina also tells Peter that she might be pregnant. Peter goes on a drinking spree and confides in Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) about his affair with Tina. Tina's pregnancy scare is later discovered to be a false alarm and Peter vows to stand by Carla and raise their child. Tina asks Peter to move away with her to a new life away from Weatherfield. Scared that the affair will be discovered, Peter initially agrees, but after realizing how much he loved Carla, he decides to stay in Weatherfield. During Rob and Tracy's engagement party in the Rovers, Carla announces her pregnancy just as Tina arrives with her bags packed. Upset and angry, Tina storms off and Peter follows her back to her flat. She accuses Peter of using her and realizes that he had no intention of moving away with her. She threatens to tell Carla about their affair and viciously attacks Peter scratching him on the face. Peter leaves and decides to come clean to Carla about the affair before Tina can tell her. He tells her in the Rovers back room and Carla is devastated by his betrayal.
At the same time, Rob visits Tina and begs her not to tell Carla about the affair but Tina refuses and following a confrontation, falls from the balcony of the builder's yard. When she comes round and threatens Rob, he attacks her with a metal pipe. Peter is devastated when Tina is found seriously injured and hospitalized. Carla throws him out the following day, and he is questioned by the police over Tina's attack. He denies being responsible and is released on bail. Tina later dies of her injuries and Peter finds out when he comes into the pub drunk and begs Carla for another chance. She gives him a bottle of wine and tells him to drink himself to death. Carla later suffers a miscarriage and Rob swears revenge on Peter, blaming him for everything.
The Street turns on Peter in the aftermath of Tina's death, with everyone believing him to be responsible for her murder. A bracelet belonging to Steph Britton (Tisha Merry) that Rob had stolen from the flat to make it look like a burglary, is discovered in the Barlows' garden shed where Rob had accidentally dropped it. Peter is arrested after his fingerprints are discovered on the bracelet, after he had moved it in the kitchen. Peter is charged with Tina's murder and remanded in custody.
In prison, Peter discovers that Jim McDonald (Charlie Lawson), Steve's father, who is serving a sentence in the same prison for armed robbery, is operating a booze smuggling venture. He begs Jim for drink and Jim agrees to supply on condition that he convinces Steve and Liz, his ex-wife, to come and visit him. Peter contacts Steve and tells him of Jim's demands. Steve and Liz later both visit Jim, and Jim threatens to hurt Peter is Liz does not come to see him on a regular basis. When Liz refuses, Jim takes his frustrations out on Peter and refuses to give him any more alcohol. Peter later finds Jim's stash and drinks it all and is hospitalized. When he regains consciousness he asks to see Carla and she comes to visit him. Thinking he is going to die, Peter tells Carla that he believes that she killed Tina and that he will take the blame for her and take her secret to the grave. Carla then realizes that Peter is innocent if he genuinely believed her to be guilty.
Peter recovers and goes on trial in October. Whilst giving evidence, Carla tells the court that she believes that Peter is innocent. Despite this, Peter is found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of fifteen years before he can apply for parole. Carla eventually discovers that Rob is the killer and reports him to the police. He is arrested and Peter is released from prison with his conviction overturned. He begs Carla for another chance but she refuses, telling him she did what she did for Ken and Simon and that their marriage is over. After Steph blames him for Tina's death and he is tempted to drink again, Peter decides to leave Weatherfield. He decides to move back to Portsmouth and Simon begs him not to go but Peter convinces him that it is for the best. Simon accompanies Peter to see him off, as Steve drives him in a taxi to the railway station .
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.
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
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."
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)." During the storyline he described his character as being seen as a coward, 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.
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". The episode in which the fire was screened drew in 10.3 million viewers (42.6% audience share) in March 2009.
In February 2011, Gascoyne was nominated for Best Actor at the 2011 All About Soap Bubbles Awards for his portrayal of Peter. He was nominated in the category of "Best Actor" at the 2011 British Soap Awards. In 2014, Gascoyne has been nominated for "Sexiest Male", "Villain of the Year" and "Best Actor" at The British Soap Awards
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- Kilkelly, Daniel (11 January 2014). "Coronation Street producer on Tony story: 'He's a man with an edge'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
- "The soaps' lost children; HOW YOUNG STARS COPED WHEN AXE FELL ON FAME.". The Mirror. 2001-05-02. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
- Kris Green (16 December 2008). "Chris Gascoyne (Peter Barlow, Corrie)". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
- Sadiq Khan (27 March 2009). "Fire Minister Thanks Coronation Street for Highlighting Dangers of Fire". Manchesterfire.gov.uk. Retrieved 2009-06-10.[dead link]
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