Tag Archives: Peter Barlow

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.

Corrie Street 30 Oct 2016

Grand Tour

The Grand Tour of Europe, the trip Ken Barlow has yearned to do. He’s going to do it. A long ago rite of passage for young men and women of the upper class. A past and a social stratum in which he ken-in-dining-room before Grand Tourwould have fit so well, despite his working class ideology.

Ken started the week helping Tracy in the florist shop. Helping her right out of a large order of corsages for a school prom. Tracy was furious. But Ken didn’t care. He hoped he had made the customer think about the Americanization of British culture. No, she’d just ordered her corsages from another florist, Tracy told him. No matter, Ken said. Proms and Thanksgiving dinners celebrated by people with no US connections! Taking a stand against importing traditions, that’s what matters.

Having done his bit for Old Blighty, he took to looking at travel websites. The Grand Tour excursion package, that’s what he needs. With Amy’s encouragement, he decided that he could do it. So he would. Tracy had another fit. How would she manage without him? Like other people do, he told her, by doing it yourself.

peter-turns-from-kenThe night before he leaves, Peter comes home. Although glad to see him, Ken is suspicious. What does he want, what is he running away from? Peter tells him a smooth story but Ken doesn’t buy it.

The household settles in for the night. Ken has to be at the airport in the early morning for his flight to Italy. Then Peter calls someone and goes out. When he gets back, Ken is up. He is waiting for his taxi and waiting for Peter.

ken-with-peter-watchingWhere has he been? What is he doing? What kind of trouble is he in? Just a job interview, Peter tells his father. When will you stop lying, Ken shouts. When were you ever around to know what I was doing, Peter shouts back. And he starts playing that old record again, as Ken says.

ken-clutches-railingA knock at the door. Going to open it, Ken collapses. Heart attack or stroke. No flight to Italy now, no Grand Tour.

I wondered if trip plans and especially Peter’s return meant William Roache was leaving Coronation Street for good. And I don’t know. Ken’s collapse completely shocked and surprised me. I am so glad that I did not stumble on any hints about this.

If I were to give any predictions about next week, it’s that Tracy will be as upset about the money as she is about her father, assuming Ken’s ticket is non-refundable. Peter too. I hope I’m being too harsh.peter-clutches-ken

In Ken’s honour, here are links to Grand Tour books. One is by Sister Wendy, whose short videos on art can be caught at the end of PBS programmes if you’re lucky.

Corrie Street July 26/15

all-because-of-youKen has a lot on his mind, things to sort out with Tracy.  Despite his snipes at her during the funeral, he hadn’t intended to confront her right then, right after the funeral.

He is at the wake and leaves to come home to talk Tracy into coming back with him. There, he finds her and ex-husband Robert, half-dressed, “cavorting” on the couch. He sends Robert packing and explodes.

Ken Blaming Tracy

Tracy is stunned by his vehemence and what he tells her, that her too-ashamed-of-youmother died away because she was ashamed of her and didn’t want to face friends. But Tracy recovers and flips the guilt back on Ken. Maybe she had hurt her mother, but so had he.

They both give voice to present and past resentments, eddying way beyond Deirdre’s death. Ken lets loose, with no Deirdre to make him back off. Tracy retaliates, reminding him of how, and with whom, he had hurt Deirdre. And no Deirdre to make her stop.

where-have-you-beenInto that Peter walks, too late for the funeral but in time for the acrimony. Ken greets him with joy. Tracy is hurt by Ken’s ability to turn on a dime. The ‘prodigal son’ can do no wrong. Peter blames train delays. Anyone else would come the night before, Tracy points out, not leave something so important to the last minute. Doesn’t matter, Ken smooths and soothes, you’re here now.

tracy-annoyed-as-peter-and-ken-talkHaving just had strips torn off her by Ken, Tracy thinks Peter’s lateness does matter. She is not feeling charitable toward him or what she sees as a lack of respect for both her mother and his father.

Tracy Blaming Peter, Peter Blaming Tracy

she-was-my-motherThen Peter jumps in arguing Ken’s points, telling Tracy how much she hurt her mother and so many other people, how despicable she has been, and how people loathe her. She tells him just how much grief he too has caused people, including Deirdre, over the years.

you-and-your-ex-cavortingWe see parts of those years and lives all around the living room. The photos that frame Ken as he sits at the table. Everywhere the camera goes, we see pictures of the family as its three surviving adults vent their grievances and their sorrow.

one-of-two-thingsTired of it all, Ken goes for a lie-down. Standing at the top of the stairs, he listens to Peter and Tracy debate which of them is the worst human being and parent’s child.

gonna-changeLater, he returns. Feathers are smoothed and, having exhausted their cruelty, maybe the three can rebuild something in the absence of the mother.

Emma Hynes, at Bluenose Corrie, gives an eloquent assessment of the beauty of Friday’s episode.

Corrie Street Nov. 23/14

simon-pleads-with-peterFriday saw leave-takings, and sad hearts. Peter took his taxi ride off the street. He is off to Portsmouth to get himself together. Cilla is off back to Wolverhampton, with Fiz. Both Peter and ches-watches-from-windowCilla have damaged relationships with their children. They succeeded in repairing some of the damage done, but not all, with the help of others.

Soon after getting out of prison, Peter realized he needed to get away. Carla was not go-back-to-normalgoing to forgive and forget, he had no job or prospects, the temptation to drink was there, he couldn’t let his very wary son down again or his ever-hovering father. Even the Barlow house was a constant reminder of Rob, and therefore Tina. Time for a fresh start.

Simon pretended he didn’t care when he a-right-cowheard his father’s news. He’s built a huge defensive wall around himself. But that wall collapsed and he pleaded with Peter to stay. Out to the bench for chips and a talk they went. Along came Carla. She quickly saw what was going on and fixed the impasse father and son were at. She asked Simon to be honest about his feelings toward her and carla-hugs-simonshe paid him the same respect by doing the same about him. Peter was horrified, but it did the job. Simon saw that he was not the only one with mixed feelings about people and that events, past and present, couldn’t just be magically swept away. Sometimes life sucks but, with luck, there are others around you who feel the same way and together you might muddle through.

cilla-and-fiz-at-bistroAt the same time as the Barlows were sorting out packing and life’s vagaries, so too were the Battersby-Browns. But no Chesney coming to the good-bye party. Ches has accepted that, this time, his mother is genuinely ill and in need. He has tried to keep that in mind while thinking about his own childhood. But that childhood is not ches-and-sinead-in-kebab-shoplong ago. He does have a bit of distance to give him some perspective, and what it tells him is that maybe his mother does regret her actions. But she still came back to them only because she needs their help – just like always. He has had to come to that conclusion all on his own. He hasn’t had the help from others that Simon got from Carla.

cilla-gets-in-carWith soft-heart and good intentions, Sinead has pleaded with him to forgive. And Fiz, so happy to have yet another person on a short leash, quickly forgave, forgot and moved on to her controlling form of fussing over. Beth, I think, could help Ches understand his mother and his relationship to her. But she is still trying to figure Cilla out herself and, like Carla, Beth doesn’t do touchy-cilla-looks-at-housefeely. Maybe Simon and Ches would be the best support group for each other. They both know what it’s like to be let down by parents but still go on loving them.

Corrie Street Sept. 14/14

“Never work with animals or children,” W. C. Fields said. They always steal the show. Corrie actors might add so too do the words ‘Hello Elizabeth’.

There were many good moments this week. Michelle with some laugh out loud funny lines. Jason’s distress over his unwitting part in Tyrone’s injuries. Tony’s brooding presence at the breakfast table. He’s worried about the worksite accident and about Liz going to see her volatile ex-husband, and he’s also perplexed about the ways women craft a message through make-up and apparel.

War paint in place and a different top on, Liz waits in the prison visitors’ room. Jim files in with the other prisoners, expecting to see Steven. I didn’t even realize I was waiting for it – until he said it. “Hello, Elizabeth”. Delight and memories washed over me at hearing those words that are unique to Jim, and to Liz in relationship to him. (And, oh yes, he noticed the change in lipstick shade.)

Something as simple as that manifests what creator Tony Warren said about the appeal of Coronation Street for its audience. It is “something warm, something friendly and something familiar, and they return to it” (Other Worlds, pg. 128). Aye, Tony, so they do.

Following soon after that was Jim back in his cell, despondent. In comes Peter, whining for more booze please Jim, I did my part Jim, you owe me. Big Jim is not in the mood for it. It looks like Peter will end up in hospital, at the receiving end of Jim’s fists. But no, not yet.

Pairing up actors Charles Lawson and Chris Gascoyne is brilliant. I have had trouble with accepting Peter’s sudden and dramatic descent into the DTs. When he first was in prison, he showed no ill effects from alcohol withdrawal at all. Then all of a sudden, he looked he looked like he’d just crawled out of Reefer Madness. Was this written for him because he does drunk and disorderly and desperate so well? When he, and we, met The Landlord it all made sense. That’s why: a reason for Peter and Jim to interact was needed. It worked. The two are absolutely fabulous together.

It’s a nice touch having photos of Jim on the mantel in the Rovers’ back room. If I were Tony, I’d add that to my list of things to brood about.

Corrie Street June 8/14

Tuesday Steve said to Peter what we’ve all been saying. Friday, Rita did the same with Tina. Neither of the recipients paid a blind bit of notice, but at least the words were said.

you-need-to-stay-herePeter having a pity party for himself behind the Rovers. Steve happened by so Peter told him all about the mess his life was. Steve told him that if he loved Carla as he said he did then he should stay with her, that if he cared at all about Simon and his unborn child then he should stay with Carla, that if he was ruining Carla’s life by staying with her then why wouldn’t he maybe ruin Tina’s life as well if he ran away with her. Peter whined on, so Steve asked the central question, “what do you want?” and Peter answered honestly, if unhelpfully, “I don’t know.” In essence, Steve told Peter to grow a pair, the words he used in their next counseling session on the Rovers’ patio.

On Friday, Tina was saying her goodbyes. At the Kabin, she told Rita she was in love and he-went-through-with-itleaving with her new man. And he was married. And he was Peter Barlow. I don’t know why she would think that Rita would just say ‘congratulations’ and wish them well. But evidently she didn’t expect the volley she got from Rita. Rita’s words were not diplomatic. He uses people, he’ll leave you for the next passing fancy just as easily as he’s leaving Carla, he has a son, he’s only been married five minutes. Tina’s rebuttal was that he had known the marriage was a mistake while he was doing it because they already loved each other. Didn’t make it any better in Rita’s books. He did pretty well out of the “mistake”. So he’s moving on backed by Carla’s resources? “Love for sale” was Rita’s opinion on Peter’s loyalty. That comment tipped Tina over the edge.

Tina matched, and surpassed, Rita’s angry words. Who is Mrs. Tanner-Sullivan-rita-slaps-tinaFairclough to sneer about anyone else buying or selling love and friendship, she spat. Rita slapped her. This is a relationship casualty that I would lay at the doorstep of Peter Barlow. As Tina said before the blow-up, she and Rita have been friends, mother-daughter, grandmother-granddaughter. But no more, not unless Tina has the chance and desire to do a huge amount of groveling.

Before the night was out, Tina saw the truth of Rita’s words, in the spirit if not the Tina-hears-baby-announcementspecifics of her charges against Peter. She heard the evidence of his lies from his own mouth. Rita wasn’t at the Rovers to say “I told you so” but Steve was. The look he gave Peter said “you’d better get yourself out of this somehow, mate.” He then gave Tina the same look. I just hope Steve gets left out of explanations. He might want to use one of those tickets to Portsmouth before Michelle finds out what he knew and when he knew it.

Corrie Street June 1/14

A good story is like a good sausage: you enjoy it without thinking about how it’s made. This week two scenes, both pivotal in moving their stories along. One caught you up in can't-you-guessthe drama and the characters and in the other you saw the wheels going round.

Peter coming home after missing Carla’s first ultrasound scan. “You were out – come on, that’s your cue, you were -“. “Drinking” he says, “It’s complicated”. Carla, not knowing the half of it, denies that there is any complexity in an alcoholic drinking.

we-have-no-chanceCarla’s hurt and rage is emotionally exhausting to watch. I can’t imagine what it felt like for Alison King to act it. And Peter trying to not slur his words and carefully moving his feet so he doesn’t fall over, trying to convey the enormity of what he is dealing with without telling her what it is he’s dealing with. His affair with Tina, his guilt over that, and with Tina’s presence. She is everywhere he is all the time.

He crumples on the floor, the baby scan photo in his hand. Evidence of another reason for him to feel guilty. Another reason to stop crying-on-floordrinking or keep on drinking depending on how he looks at the reality of a baby while his other child will not speak to him. A baby with the wife he loves while he continues a love affair with another woman.

Nearly three minutes at the end of Monday’s episode. Everything in Peter’s life is colliding and collapsing in on itself. This story is reaching a crescendo. And it’s doing it through fabulous acting and writing that propels action while maintaining character integrity. Writing wheels greased so they are noiseless.

Another story headed to culmination this week, propelled by needs of the plot. Maria tells audrey-crosses-to-fizAudrey that she and Tyrone are in love. Audrey realizes something is seriously off with Maria, and runs across the street to tell Fiz. That put Fiz in pursuit of Maria and Tyrone, in time to misinterpret a hug. So the crisis has been reached, but has been moved along by action that does not keep with character.

I don’t think Audrey would make a bee-line for Fiz simply on the strength of what Maria said. She would think about it, maybe ask Gail’s advice. If David had confirmed that yep, where-to-start-actuallyMaria was being weird, maybe she was decide this was serious enough to break Maria’s confidence and tell Fiz. And that would have been very simple to write in, just with a mention by Audrey that “David said”. The action would still have moved along the same path but would have stayed true to Audrey as we know her. Wheels clunk-clunking their words out of sync with their character.

Corrie Street May 4/14

say-that-againPeter is slick with the ladies. He has proved he can juggle wives, lives and emotions. But when Tina girded herself for battle, Peter didn’t stand a chance. Tina has nothing to lose. She had already lost Peter, so one final surge would either leave her exactly in the same position or would win her the prize.

She started her preparations at Audrey’s salon. ‘Give me the works’ was her instruction, and I could hear the bell toll for Peter and his marriage. It was the first time that I can remember someone coming out of Audrey’s Peter-watches-Tina-in-Roversactually looking different than when she went in. Looking good, with armour of make-up and hair mousse in place, Tina sought her quarry.

Of course Peter was at the Rovers, and of course he noticed. He tried to keep his emotional distance – have a good time, shouldn’t let that go to waste – but he didn’t have the sense to keep his physical distance. He had to go out back for a smoke. How many times had he chased Tina out to that same patio when she was putting garbage out or getting cases of whatever? If he had been thinking strategically, he’d have gone out the peter-kisses-tinafront door to the sidewalk for his smoke – somewhere public, somewhere even Tina wouldn’t risk standing very close to him, kissing him, telling him she’d be home alone all night.

If Carla had been at the Rovers, she would have known something was up with Tina. If Tracy had seen Tina and witnessed her interaction with Peter and their mutual disappearance out back, she likely would have detected something amiss. But alas, no woman with her radar up was there and paying you-can-say-stopattention. Steve should have known but he, like Peter, fails to see the nuances of female wiliness and is just as likely to fall into the trap.

And so of course Peter went to Tina’s place. He did not need to, should have known that doing so was the stupidest thing he could possibly do. But I think he had the best intentions, to tell her he planned to stay with Carla and Carla only. Probably he had a bit of cockiness about it too: he knows how to tina-in-bedroom-doorwayhandle women. He can pick them up and he can let them go and do both with style and grace.

But for all his skills as a Lothario, he was a babe in the woods once inside her apartment. Not a snowball’s chance that he was coming out of there in time to make the movie and dinner with his wife and child. After he finally left, he did the only thing that seemed reasonable to him at the time: go to the factory, find a bottle and get peter-drinking-in-factorywasted. But he should have stayed there all night. Going home to the wife and child in the state he was in showed just how rattled he is by all this.

Corrie Street Apr. 20/14

two-petesPeter Barlow in a pub, drinking himself legless, trying to forget his wife is pregnant and his girlfriend might be. Steve comes in to take him home. Peter introduces Pete, his buddy on the next barstool. “Two Petes,” he says, delighted with his own wit. Steve is not so amused. Especially when they end up sharing a small bed in a small room above the bar so that Peter’s state peter-and-steve-in-bedcould be kept secret. Nor when Peter confesses all to Steve: an affair, with their mutual neighbour and Steve’s employee no less, a baby with Carla and maybe another with Tina.

Later at home Peter is trying to conceal his hangover, and we see just how crowded the world is when you’re “two Petes” rolled into one. While reassuring Carla that he is delighted about the baby and that of course he didn’t take a drink, his phone is constantly beeping. It’s Tina, but Peter again blames that poor schmuck from AA.

tina-comes-out-of-bathroomWhen Carla goes out the door, Tina barges in. To his horror, she takes the pregnancy test right there and then. He looks like he’s going to be sick. He fears Carla’s return any moment, is terrified Tina’s going to announce she is having his baby and, even worse, is planning to keep it. Sadly for her, the test is negative. He has to conceal his delight. Maybe his pounding head and been-there-and-done-itqueasy stomach helped him with that. He puts on his soulful face and tells her it’s not you, it’s me. He’s no good for her, she deserves someone better, she deserves children and rose petals and bluebirds of happiness, and it ain’t me babe, no, no, no. Yes yes, she says, I want you. And your babies. Oh, you don’t want babies? Ok, just you, that’s all I need. We’ll be happy together.

look-at-meEvery cliché of romance and breaking up was voiced and shown by facial and body gesture by both of them. It was superb. My husband speculated that the writers were asked to compile every dumping line they had ever heard in their lives. I added that they also wrote down every word they had ever said when trying desperately to keep someone. All these were strung together and the script was born.

peter-looks-at-door-as-tina-criesWhy Peter just didn’t tell Tina that Carla was pregnant, I don’t know. Maybe he thought it was more honourable to convince her that he was bad for her. Maybe he just thought it was easier at that moment and he’d worry about the next hurdle – the announcement of Carla’s pregnancy – later. Or maybe lying is so engrained in him that, tina-realizes-it-is-overeven when the truth could get him out of a bad spot, he doesn’t think of telling it.

Corrie Street Mar. 23/14

Tina hangs up her coat in the Rovers’ back hall, listening to Carla extol the virtues of tina-hangs-up-coatPeter the romantic, Peter the sex god.  A surprise overnight getaway to a posh hotel – what a guy!  Who could ask for more?  Well, Tina for one.  The posh hotel was supposed to be hers.  Peter wanted to make up for her always being second to Carla, so suggested a romantic night away.  But Carla took the call from the hotel, and why would she assume the room hadn’t been booked for Peter and her?

tina-listens-to-carlaGet used to it, Tina, this is what it’s like.  You will come second to the wife and the wife’s assumptions of hotel bookings and the wife’s cooking of dinner.  Sneaked kisses and conspiratorial glances are good, and they need to be because that’s the best you’re going to get.  The thrill of maybe getting caught, maybe a look being seen by the wrong person.  The risk is a large part of the romance of an affair.

This affair is being played awfully close to home; same street, shared local, shared carla-and-peter-in-roversfriends.  There are a lot of balls to juggle and Peter has them. He comes to the Rovers to explain to Tina what went wrong with their hotel plans, but Carla drops in.  With Tina right there, he plays kissy-face with Carla as she tells Liz and anyone who cares to hear what a wonderful husband she has.  If Carla had looked at Tina, she might have wondered about her expression.  Maybe not all share her joy in her perfect marriage.  liz-look-of-disgustLiz’s thoughts about Peter’s acts of love and devotion were reflected perfectly on her face.  Peter caught it, did Carla?  She didn’t seem to, but sometimes one can see something without it fully registering at the time.  Later, a lot of things can add up and make sense.

What’s adding up for Tina is that she can’t play the long game.  It’s too close at hand, and your-romantic-prowess-too demeaning not only to have to wait on the availability of one person but of two.  Carla does not know it, but Tina must make her plans according to Carla’s needs and whims.  And, with everyone being so near each other, Tina gets to hear the before and after of marital life for Carla and her husband, Tina’s lover.

For Peter, this threesome is a real test of his strategy, navigation and gambling skills.  When bigamously married to Shelley and Lucy, his two households were in different peter-kisses-tinaparts of town.  In his seduction of Carla while married to Leanne and of Leanne while engaged to Carla, there was a fourth party in the game.  That made it more complex but also gave him breathing room.  Both women had to take their fiancés/husbands into account so weren’t always free to see him.  And when, as with Carla after Frank’s demise, there wasn’t another man, there was always the bottle, providing endless excuses for Peter to disappear without explanation.  Now he’s called upon to give reasons, which his AA friends are unwittingly supplying, but he still is peter-looks-for-tinaanswerable and can’t just say ‘I was blotto.’  Now, it’s just him and Carla, married, and Tina, free agent and in love.  Success depends solely on his skills.  It’s a game of chance, and he likes those.  He’s a bookie without a shop, a gambler without a racetrack.

Lloyd, I think, would choose Dusty’s version of The Look of Love, so here it is.