Tag Archives: Ken Barlow

Corrie Street 25 Jun. 2017

The Golden Child

Wednesday, Ken convenes his children. Only Daniel knows why. Ken is going to tell the others what Daniel did, and that he lied to protect him.adam and peter attack daniel

When he does, they turn on Daniel. Then on Ken. And then on each other. They realize that Adam had seen Ken at the foot of the stairs and had left him there. Adam defends himself in Trumpian fashion: deflect it to someone else. Granddad let him rot in prison but, for the golden child, he will perjure himself.

golden child daniel frightenedCan’t you see Daniel is ill, Ken asks. Peter argues the same point as Adam. Making up an illness for Daniel to get him off the hook. Implied is when would Ken ever do that for him, or Tracy or Adam.

Ken has enough. He tells them that he had been suspicious of all of them, all four of them. What does that tell you, he asks. They’ve all made mistakes, himself included.ken says he had doubts about all four kids

But he’s had enough misery, he’s tired. He forgives them all for what they’ve done, past and present. He asks only that they — a pause, what’s he going to say? — in return, forgive Daniel.

In that pause, I filled in what I expected him to say – ‘please forgive me.’ So I was surprised to hear him ask them to forgive Daniel. My ken asks kids to forgive danielfirst thought was that Ken was absolving himself. That he was saying; I’ve made mistakes but never mind about that. Let’s forget that and move along. And here’s where I can be the hero, the big man, the all-forgiving and all-protective father. Look after your rather pitiable brother.

My husband came in during this scene so we watched it again. Wow, he said. Ken did the right thing, he said. Ken is telling his kids never mind about me. If you can’t forgive me, all right, but please daniel behind ken peeking out at siblingsforgive your brother. Do not allow anything I do, or you do, to break your bond. That is what a parent wants; their kids to stay united, to stay a family, with or without the parent around.

So two different interpretations of a few words. My husband’s is more charitable toward Ken than is mine. Which is more accurate, I don’t know.

Corrie Street 18 June 2017

Slam Poetry

Daniel looks dead-eyedSlammed by a poetry book. Poetic justice? Poetic irony? Possibilities for wordplay are endless. But the dramatic tension was very real. This week Ken’s attacker was revealed. It was indeed Daniel. The weapon? That huge poetry book that Ken gave him as a congratulations on being everything he ever wanted in a son.

Now Ken is alone in a flat with Daniel, who is unravelling quickly. Might he just finish the job? He even has the poetry book there. Ken doesn’t know it’s not the copy he gave Daniel – that one had blood all over it. But Daniel copied Ken’s inscription into one he bought. Ken’s Daniel holds poetry bookgift is hidden under the floorboards in Daniel and Adam’s flat.

On Wednesday, actors Rob Mallard and Bill Roache were fabulous. The make up people too. Daniel’s face did a Jekyl and Hyde as his stress and desperation increased.

You knew Daniel was guilty as soon as Adam was carted off to jail. Camera cut to Daniel, flinging his arm over Ken’s shoulder, watching the police car leave. You knew too that the whole thing would come out when Ken went to Daniel’s old flat with him. But someone would Daniel chokes Kensave him, someone would figure it out before long.

Ches was voicing suspicions of Daniel. Sinead was wondering what was going on, starting to get a sense something was wrong. They will come to the rescue, I thought.

Just as Daniel is seriously losing it, a knock on the door. It’s mum, back after all these years! And that’s where I suddenly felt deflated.

Denise looks through door at DanielI knew Denise was returning, thanks to an online “as we all know.” But it wasn’t unexpected. There had to be a resolution to what happened to her. I can see the dramatic value of her return right at a critical moment. But that is also maybe the worst time and manner of bringing her back. It’s asking way too much of suspension of disbelief. Too contrived, yet also too easy. How do we get her to see Daniel? I know, let’s just plop her at his place. No!

Have her go first to Ken’s house. There’s a greater likelihood that he Daniel shocked at seeing mumwould still be in the same place than that Daniel would be. Have Daniel and Ken discovered by someone more probable – Sinead, Tracy, Peter. Have Denise turn up with them. Anything except her suddenly appearing at that exact moment as if she’d just returned from the corner store.

Aside from that, this storyline has been great this week. As too have the others – Shona, Bethany and the creepy men getting creepier, and three dads on a day out.

Corrie Street 28 May 2017

To what end?

Ken says to what endWednesday, Ken asked the question I’ve been asking myself about his storyline. “But to what end? It doesn’t make sense.” Ken was commenting on why Tracy would have hit him over the head. I was commenting on the whole storyline since its early days.

Ok, I can see having each of his children a suspect for a time. But my credulity has been strained, as has my patience. Too many people getting dragged into it – to what end? The whole plot has become too busy. So many people, so much sneaking around. It doesn’t make sense.

Ken sees photo of deirdre is goneBringing Rob back? In order for that to explain that, a whole off-screen story had to be told. And why? To put Tracy and Amy in a convoluted, and unbelievable, story that involved a nice location shoot.

Tracy suspected Amy of being the one who had hurt Ken. At the end of the episode, Rob voiced something else I’d been saying to my tv. “I just did what you should have at the start. I asked her if she was the one who hurt Ken. She said no.” That was in answer to Tracy’s question of how he knew that Amy hadn’t done it. Yes, Tracy, it can be that easy! That Tracy would volunteer herself for prison and let her father believe she’d harm him? Without asking Amy for sure? Not easy to believe.

ken looks at stairwayKen’s story started as an exciting whodunit. A large cast of suspects, goody, let’s all be Hercule Poirot! But then the circles started spinning off into new circles. You need a playbook to remember everybody involved and everybody’s story. Now I don’t care who they arrest, just let it end.

Manchester Stand Strong

In real life, the Manchester bombing also raises the question “But to what end?” Twenty-two people were killed and many more injured as they left a concert. One of those killed was Martyn Hett, a Coronation Street, and Deirdre, “super-fan”.

Martyn Hett stuffed marrow videoHe has wonderful videos on YouTube. My favourite is his cooking lesson on making Deirdre’s Stuffed Marrow. Thank you for that, Martyn, and for the the “Audrey Roberts Noise”. My condolences to Martyn’s family and friends, and to all the victims of this tragedy. Like Ken said, “it doesn’t make sense.” And, as Manchester is saying, “stand strong.”

See my Aug. 2, 2015 post for stuffed marrow made by Robert Preston on the show and by Martyn Hett on YouTube.

Corrie Street 23 Apr. 2017

Barlow Fecundity

Friday, Peter encourages Toyah about the baby quest: “You’ve got Barlow fertility on your side now. We’re famous for our fecundity.”beer and pizza - barlow fecundity

True! But, funny and kind of creepy as that remark is, it is not my choice of the week. I kept thinking of the beginning of the week. A scene that spotlighted the fruit of that Barlow fecundity.

tracy-with-beer-bottleThe Barlow kids, grandkids and significant others sitting around the dining room table – in a complete mess. I gasped in shock. In all the years of seeing that room and that dining table, never ever have I seen it look like that. What a mess! Deirdre would have had a fit. Ken too.

sinead looking guilty and daniel rolling eyesIt was funny in a ‘while the cat’s away, the mice will play’ kind of way. Pizza boxes piled high. Beer bottles and cans everywhere.

And them all sniping at each other. Who gets what in Dad’s will? Who tried to off Dad?toyah and peter look guilty

But that scene of the Barlow spawn, along with other recent scenes of them en masse prompts a question for TPTB at Corrie.

What about Ken’s other son and grandson? Remember Lawrence Cunningham and his son James?*Peter Barlow meeting new family in Rovers

They turned up in 2011, a complete surprise to viewers and indeed to Ken. He hadn’t known that Lawrence, Ken’s son with his first girlfriend Susan Cunningham, even existed. But Lawrence does exist, and he has kids susan cunningham with frank and david barlow in first episode(further evidence of that famous fecundity). Ken became involved in their lives for a time.

So where are they? Why has Ken not mentioned them? And are they in Ken’s will? Grandson James could even be a candidate for bashing Ken in the head. He has form, having knocked Ken in the head before.

Barlow fecundity and an apparent forgetfulness on all their parts of James fights Ken to get phone awayjust how many kids Ken actually has. Could lead to more character returns and even more suspects. As Audrey said last week, “There’s more than one member of that family that’s been up on a murder charge before”

*Both characters were played by William Roache’s sons, so having them back would be great at both the fictional and real levels. You can read more in my Scenes of the Week Family Trees (July 3/11) and The Real James (Jan. 8/12).

Corrie Street 16 Apr 2017

Mad Street

Wednesday, Barlows scurry around, all upset about different things. All mad at Ken for different reasons. Pat Phelan like an injured bull – mad at Ken. Ken angry too, with his kids and about a kitchen torn apart for too long.ken-listens-to-music

Finally alone in the house but for Eccles, he sits in his chair and listens to music. Decides to have a cup of tea. Due to construction, he has to take the kettle upstairs to the bathroom to fill it. And ta-dum – a noise downstairs. Who’s there? No answer.

tracy-in-front-of-floristsWe check in on the others. Tracy is looking for Amy. She went AWOL from a recital at the community centre. She’s been frantic to get back to her grandfather’s house to hide money that she’d promised for someone.

daniel-looks-at-giftDaniel is in his apartment, fuming about Sinead. Then he looks at his father’s gift. A poetry book, with maybe an inscription. Two and two add up. He realizes Ken, and Oxford, may have played a part in Sinead deciding to have an abortion. So off he goes to confront Ken.

mad sinead-pounds-on-doorMeanwhile Sinead, drunk and mad, was pounding on Ken’s door, yelling to get in. Pat Phelan was in the Rovers, getting madder and madder about Ken – “that second rate Stephen Fry” – and his complaints.

peter-with-whiskey-bottlePeter is sitting in his apartment with a bottle of whiskey. Looking at it. Feeling it. Smelling it. His father and Toyah accused him of drinking again, wouldn’t believe that he wasn’t. He might as well prove them right. Almost, but no. Instead he smashes the bottle on the countertop.eccles-with-ken

So back to Ken. He’s on the floor, unconscious, at the bottom of the stairs. Eccles tries to rouse him. Daniel opens the door. He is daniel-sees-ken-and-phelanshocked to see his father. Then he gets another shock, as do we when the camera pulls back. Pat Phelan is standing over Ken. He says he just got there, and that he too is shocked. But is he?

Is it another stroke? A fall? Murder or attempted murder? If so, by whom? Family or neighbour? Ken has upset a lot of people lately, All of them were scattered, out of camera sight, during whatever happened.

adam-at-busIncluding one more Barlow. Hurrying to catch a bus, Adam in a hoodie and ball cap. Not in Canada, obviously, and also staying well clear of the family.

Corrie Street 9 Apr 2017

Life Lesson

Ken sits Sinead down Thursday for a talk. A life lesson. It was a spine-tingling good scene. A history of his life and of Coronation Street. Also a glimpse into the future, of what might be for Daniel and Sinead.ken-starts life lesson

More than that, it was an exchange between generations. The discussion that never works, can’t work: don’t make my mistakes. The one where the elder says to the younger, I know how this is going to go because I’ve done it.

This scene encapsulates Coronation Street at its finest. While  incorporating its own history, it speaks to universals. It should be on the best clip reel for actors William Roache and Katie McGlynn and Coronation Street itself.

throw-away-his-futureKen tells Sinead what Oxford University means in his world and Daniel’s, also what refusing it will mean. He is blunt, even cruel. But he is desperate to keep his son from the path that was his own. His life journey that “can be covered in ten paces”, from No. 3 to No. 1 Coronation Street.

But you had Deirdre, Sinead says, you loved Deirdre. Yes, Ken says, but it’s not enough. “Not the life I would’ve chosen at 22.” “Does it matter?”, she asks. “Of course it does. That 22 year old had such sinead-in-shockdreams. Now he weeps over his squandered potential and wasted years. Sometimes I sit here with him.”

Now Ken is seeing the future: his son, exceptional enough for Oxford, joining the spectre of his own young self at that dining room table, weeping over what might have been. He tries to tell Sinead. But she has no idea what he’s talking about.

You can almost see the glass wall between them. It’s not a wall of education or class. It’s age. He is looking back, able to see all the circumstances and choices that led to his future – now his past and present. But too late to change them. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.tracy-and-amy-in-hall

For Sinead, however, it starts and ends with ‘love will keep us together’. Oh, and I’m carrying his baby, your grandchild. And that does give her a vested interest in Daniel’s decisions.

more-to-life-than-loveAnd who knows? Everyone has something they regret, some path they wish they had or had not taken. Maybe, if he shed Sinead and the baby for Oxford, sitting at his dining room table late at night, Daniel would weep for the chance at fatherhood.

Another powerful intergenerational scene was Jack Duckworth and Molly (Sept. 4/11). It was just before Jack died.

Corrie Street 2 Apr 2017

Remittance Man

adam-in-hospital-bedAdam Barlow is in trouble, worse, bringing trouble to the family. So, here’s your bag, here’s some money, now go. A modern day remittance man. A way the colonies traditionally helped solve family problems. Out of sight and mind, with payments sent to help the unwanted one establish a life somewhere else. Swim or sink, but do it far away. Lucky old Canada!

It was a bit sudden on Tuesday, Ken sending Adam off like that. Realistic? Perhaps, in light of Adam bringing risk to Amy and Tracy. ken-shows-bag-to-adam remittance manBut we viewers saw much more of the risk than Ken did. Seemed like more talking about what happened, some verifying, might be wanted. Not just here’s a change of clothes, I’ll send the rest. And there’s enough cash to buy a plane ticket. Cash? Very much a ‘here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?’ exit.

It’s a great opportunity for a Corrie spin-off movie, though. please-granddad adam says to kenRemittance Man:  Son of Mike. Have Adam bounce right across Canada, from lawyer office to street dealer to cop shop in town after town. A sesquicentennial celebration in a camel coat. I do hope the coat was packed in that bag.

The Barlow boys are falling apart rapidly, or maybe falling into form. Peter, as usual when he comes to a fork in the road, is trying to take both paths. Once again, two women want him and he’s doing his best to accommodate both.

Daniel is heading down the same path as his father. But it’s not the path he or Ken had planned on or hoped for. The letter from Oxford, maybe of acceptance, has to take second place to a surprise baby on the way. And also a life on the Street with Sinead – ‘I dunno, I’m just a fak’try girl who does, like, craft stuff’ – Tinker. Just like Dad.

ken-leaves-hospital-room distraughtAnd Adam, now presumably gone with his remittance. I doubt, however, that Ken has the money to continue paying Adam to stay away. Even if he does now, his other kids will soon relieve him of that.

It’s a pretty dim outlook for Ken when Tracy appears to have the best grip on her life and future prospects.

Corrie Street 5 Mar 2017

Bangers and Mash

Hmm, what wine goes best with bangers and mash? A question for Ken to ask himself. A much better question than those he was asking at dinner with Daniel and Sinead on Thursday.ken gives pop quiz over bangers and mash

It must take the prize for most hideous dinner party ever. Sinead thought inviting Ken for dinner would put things back on a good footing for father, son and girlfriend. Oh, dear sweet Lord!

Last week, I talked about Daniel seeming to channel the young Ken Barlow. This dinner party channelled over half a century of dining table class warfare in the Barlow household. From Ken’s father sinead looks bored at ken's questionsgetting in his face about his la-di-da attitudes to Deirdre rolling her eyes at what she saw as his pretensions. Now, Ken giving a pop quiz on American history to Daniel over dinner? Why, Ken, why?

I think I agree with Ken, that Sinead is going to drag Daniel down. Although I like her and at first liked the idea of them together, she is overplaying the “I dunno all that fancy stuff, I’m just a faktry girl” schtick. Daniel may enjoy seeing the literary lineage of the beauty of the simple maid and simple life brought to life in her. He may also just be horny. Whatever, her eye-rolling, “dunno” responses and neediness will wear thin soon.

Meanwhile, finding that out will likely mess up his graduate studies daniel answers jfk question correctlyplan. His new emotional life with Sinead has already cost him a chance to get to know a prof outside the academic setting. It’s also made Ken doubt him, at a time when Ken is getting royally ticked off with the flaws of his recently returned children. He already knows well the flaws of the other ones.

Tracy and Peter also well know Ken’s flaws, and to some extent accept them. The new sons are discovering them for themselves. One that must have been driven home with a sledgehammer for Daniel is his father’s sometimes totally inappropriate pedantism.sinead gets up from table

If ever there was a time to not discuss American history, English literature or anything that resembled schoolwork, it was this first dinner with Daniel and Sinead in their home. Although Ken shouldn’t have needed a clue to know that, the bangers and mash should have given him one. Even Deirdre wouldn’t have made that kind of “this is me” statement. She would have gussied it up in honour of her guest with her speciality, stuffed marrow.

Corrie Street 11 Dec. 2016

Tombola

mother was locked in the church hallI had to look it up. A tombola is “a lottery in which tickets are drawn from a revolving drum.” In the case of Mary’s mother at the Scout Jamboree, it was food items in the drum rather than raffle tickets. Lucky for her. Tinned pilchards kept her alive when she was trapped overnight under the tombola.

what does that have to do with pilchardsNorris is wrong to cut Mary off in her storytelling. That was one of her best ones ever. Mother blindly reaching up into the drum, rooting around for a tin, then opening it with her teeth. It’s an image that will stay with me for a long time.

she would reach up into the tombolaA lovely scene, indeed a laugh out loud one. Brian, Norris, Rita and Mary all sat in the Rovers, talking about essentially nothing. What they can do with nothing!

Then they were joined by Ken. A good way to reintroduce him to the community of the street. Old friends. And, for him, a good way to get peter tells ken rovers is better than being homeaway from his lunatic family. It was nice, later, to see what Peter had done and to see Ken acknowledge it. Peter had used Ken’s absence to sort out his siblings about their incessant bickering and find alternate housing for the two new ones. So Adam and Daniel will be roomies in Dev’s flat over the shop. That gets the house back to normal, with only Ken, Tracy and Peter there and makes room for Amy again.

The Front Room

We got an explanation this week of how so many people can get norris leaves table for barsquashed into small houses. The front room. I’d forgotten about it. Ground floor, front of house – sometimes also called the parlour. We saw it in the Barlow house. It was Blanche’s room. When Kevin and Sally lived at No. 13, we occasionally saw the front room when someone wanted more privacy than the kitchen gave.

I can’t think of ever having seen the front room at Eileen’s house. But according to Norris, that is where Sean slept. I’m sure I remember mary, ken and rita listen to norris at barseeing Sean coming up or down the stairs to or from his room. Maybe some of them swapped rooms at some point, I don’t know. But it makes me feel much better, knowing that there is another room that can help accommodate the many people who happen by to spend the night under Eileen’s roof.

norris suggests new housing plan for sean and brianMaybe now we’ll see Emily’s front room and piano. With Sean and Brian in a bidding war, Norris has decided that they can have the two bedrooms. The extra money means he will be perfectly comfortable budged up by the piano.

Corrie Street 27 Nov 2016

Barlow Reunion

Friday we got the explanation. I wondered all week why Ken and his storyline seemed to have disappeared behind a hospital curtain. Would one day the curtain be pulled back and there’s an empty bed, hospital-curtain-pulled-backa different person, a skeleton in a hospital gown? Maybe an emaciated Ken pleading for food and water? ‘So sorry, Mr. Barlow,” the nurse might say, ‘we forgot about you.’

You just can’t put Ken in the hospital and leave him there, with Tracy and Peter occasionally mentioning that Dad won’t see them. Is it contract negotiations? Vacation or other obligations? What?

It’s a Barlow reunion. We knew Ken’s grandson Adam was returning. At least Peter said he had called him in Canada and Adam had promised he’d come. Remember, Adam is the son of Susan (Peter’s deceased twin) and Mike Baldwin.

adam-with-jaquarAdam did return and he’s played by the same actor, Sam Robertson, who portrayed him a decade ago. He may use the surname Barlow but he’s Mike Baldwin’s Mini-Me. He pulls up in a Jaguar, just like Dad. Lights a cigar, Mike’s smoke of choice. In the factory office, he looks for the Scotch where he expects it to be from the days of Mike, and there it is. The factory may have changed hands, but traditions last.

He finally stops marking his territory in the factory and goes to the peter-tracy-adam-in-waiting-roomhospital with Tracy and Peter. No, they’re told, they can’t just go barging in, someone is with Ken. It’s the mystery visitor who has been there every day.

Sibling surprise

In they barge anyway. A young man is reading to Ken. It’s Daniel, daniel-and-ken-see-newcomersKen’s youngest son. I had forgotten about him. So, it seems, had Tracy and Peter. Tracy thought he was a con man.  Peter thought he was a volunteer visitor. Neither recognized him. I think Adam has never met him.

Like all of Ken’s children, Daniel was packed off to Scotland. He is the product of an affair Ken had in 1994 with a hairdresser named Denise Osbourne. He and his mother were last seen in 2007 when Tracy, Adam, Peter look gobsmacked barlow reunionKen tried to be a good father to him. They must have kept in touch.

With the return of Daniel and Adam, the Barlow reunion is almost complete. Only the eldest son Lawrence and his offspring are missing. Unless, of course, Ken has more kids out there. Maybe someone should scout around Scotland.