Tag Archives: Peter Barlow

Corrie Street 4 Feb. 2018

Metaphor in a T-shirt

Monday’s second episode, a bar fight. Must be on the production to-do roster, I thought. So now they can check that item off. Then it became a bit unusual, relatively highbrow. “Oh look, the bimbo used a metaphor,” Toyah sneers at Carla’s assertion that she is not interested in Peter.been-there-got-the-t-shirt

“Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. In fact, he was sick on the t-shirt,” Carla had said to her. “It wasn’t a metaphor, he actually did that,” she says as she throws a drink at Toyah.carla-throws-beer-on-toyah

So Toyah throws one back at Carla. Ken Barlow would be proud. The tutoring he gave Toyah all those years ago paid off. She can chuck drinks at someone while debating whether or not something is a metaphor.

In this case, it’s about Peter Barlow so it is both literal and metaphorical. Women and booze, the central parts of his life, consumed and flushed.peter-watches-fight

His relationships and his history, laid out right in front of him by his current and former squeezes. He’s got to be loving it. Four women fighting over him, the local king of two-timing, in his bar.carla-yells-michelle-glares

The fight was also a nice return to their roots for the Battersby and Connor women. They’ve dressed themselves up, literally and figuratively, but they all – Toyah and Leanne, Carla and Michelle – are hard cases. bimbo used a metaphor

Gemma Winter, the current Street guttersnipe, could take lessons from them. Gemma might be able to fight but she wouldn’t know a metaphor if it slapped her in the face. The Connor and Battersby women not only know, but can discuss what is and isn’t a metaphor while brawling in a bar. Toyah even owns the bar so she doesn’t have to throw herself or her sister out of it. Movin’ on up!toyah-throws-beer-on-carla.

Corrie Street 7 Jan. 2018

Let it bleed

peter-holds-cloth-on-legPeter presses down on Billy’s leg wound to stop the bleeding. Then he takes away his hands. He lets it bleed. Billy has been telling him a story, a confession. He has told him that he was responsible for Peter’s sister’s death.

Peter is driving Billy home from court. Billy got off with a warning for attacking Peter. Outside the courthouse, a young guy got mouthy with them and pushed Billy into the side of a car. Billy winced in pain. Turns out the four leaf clover Summer had made for him wasn’t so lucky. Its rough edges pierced his leg. Hit an artery.peter-listens-to-billy

Peter calls for an ambulance and keeps compression on the wound. Billy is losing consciousness. Talk to me, Peter says. So he does and, thinking he’s dying, he confesses.

Peter’s face changes, as he hears Billy’s words. He focusses on the leg-wound-let it bleedstory instead of just wanting to hear the voice to know that Billy is still conscious. When what Billy is saying sinks in, he lifts his hands. Peter sees the blood pour out of Billy’s leg. He seems to decide, ok, let it bleed. Let him bleed to death right here. Justice served.

Then he hears the siren nearing. He puts his hands back on the peter-looks-back-at-legwound, increasing pressure again. Is it because he realizes he can’t just sit and watch a man die? Or is it because he doesn’t want to explain to the paramedics that he did nothing to help a bleeding man? We don’t know and that’s the beauty of this scene.

That was Wednesday, first episode. Corrie is back on track! Understated, powerful, a whole story told in a gesture.peter-puts-compression-on-leg

Three episodes later, high drama took over. Atop a very high cliff, Peter teases Billy with death. Billy is in the trunk of Peter’s cab, Peter says he’s going to put the car in reverse and rev the engine. Is Billy ready to die?

peter-reaches-for-billyInstead he puts the car in first gear. It shoots forward. Peter hauls Billy out of the trunk and unties him. Cliff-edge confrontation: ‘how did it feel?’ Then Billy falls over the cliff, hangs on the edge, Peter tries to pull him up, can’t. Billy plunges way, way down. No one could survive that fall.

But Billy does. “A miracle,” a rescuer tells Ken. It reminded me of what Michael Zaslow said about the return of himself and his character to the American soap Guiding Light: “They said, ‘But he fell off a cliff!’ Eventually, they viewed the tape and decided that he bounced.” (Soap Opera Digest 4 Jul 1995:51)billy-falls-off-cliff

Zaslow’s tongue-in-cheek recount of his return to the show after a decade away recognizes the absurdity sometimes needed in soap writing. But Billy’s “miracle” happened within a couple of episodes.

We can see what the writers needed to happen. Peter had to believe that he had killed Billy so the whole Barlow family could get involved in the revelations and cover-ups. And Billy needed to survive so that peter-turns-away-from-cliffthe whole Barlow family could get involved in the revelations and cover-ups. But surely there had to be another way! More time at the writing table might have got around a credibility gap as huge as that cliff.

Corrie Street 24 Sept. 2017

Beer Launch

Thursday, Newton & Ridley held a launch for a new craft beer at the Rovers. More secrets than beer got spilled.beer launch at rovers return

Tracy and Ken arrived just in time to see Peter holding a pint up to his lips. They went into full ‘no, no, no, how could you Peter, I knew ken-and-tracy-walk-in-roversthis would happen’ mode. ‘Eh? What’s the problem?’ from the brewery rep. Evidently, Newton & Ridley doesn’t do extensive background checks on their licensees. They did not know Peter’s history with alcohol. Nor did they know about his time in jail. Steve, ever helpful, let that one slip.

Evidently, surrogacy agencies also don’t do extensive background checks on their applicants. In the background of the chaos that was jackie-listens-as-peter-explains-pintthe Rovers’ launch sat a potential surrogate mother for Toyah and Peter. She had come to meet them so she could decide if she wanted to carry a child for them. So the process had moved past the administrative level to the actual nuts and bolts of surrogacy, the woman with whom you’d be sharing a joint pregnancy.

Toyah and Peter are not going the private route that Izzy and Gary did, with getting their mate Tina to carry their baby. Toyah and Peter peter-sees-tracy-and-kenare doing it the official way, through an agency with presumably vetted surrogates and parents-to-be. The individuals’ backgrounds, family structure, support system, skeletons in the closet – I’d think the agency social workers would check all that out, not the surrogates themselves. A lot of omissions on Peter and Toyah’s application form seem to have slipped past the administrative office.

toyah-hears-surrogate-has-leftSo the surrogate, Jackie, get to see Peter and Toyah and the fam in their natural habitat. Leanne snarling, Ken preaching, Tracy snapping, Steve being – well – Steve. That makes it a lot more fun for us to watch, but I would stay away from that agency on either side of their service provision.toyah-runs-after-jackie

Jackie decides to be their surrogate after all. Maybe, after hearing just a fraction of the tangled hedgerow that is the Barlow-Battersby family tree, she figures a kid born by surrogacy will feel that he or she has the most normal and boring ancestry of them all.

Newton & Ridley too maybe should review their vetting process. If only the licensee’s suitability is significant, then only Toyah’s background should matter. If the licensee’s partner and/or family is brewery-reps-aghastconsidered to be part of the pub management, which is reasonable, then Peter’s history should not be a surprise to the brewery at this late date. And if the rep at the launch just isn’t in the brewery information loop, then alcoholism, baby daddies or anything else is not any of his business.

Corrie Street 13 Aug. 2017

New Landlady

putting coin in tampon machineThe closing scene Tuesday: Toyah putting a coin in the tampon dispenser in the ladies’ room of the Rovers. Crying.

That morning, Peter and Toyah started work as publicans. Toyah’s name over the door, landlady of the Rovers Return. Arms around each other, they look up at the sign with pride. And hope – Toyah’s taking a pregnancy test next day and she has “a really good feeling.” Later on, she gets her answer in the bathroom. A dream fulfilled, a dream shattered.

toyah-takes-box-from-dispenserMonday and Tuesday’s episodes were perfect. A new era for the Rovers began and history was remembered. The kind of episode that former writer and keeper of Street history Darin Little did so well. Writers Mark Wadlow and Damon Alexis-Rochefort did an equally fine job.

Monday, Liz lets her heartbreak show in the back room of the pub. She is leaving her home and her job – her profession. But, front of the house, she wears a happy face. At the leaving party, in front of the punters and new owners, she graciously wishes them well. Toyah pays tribute to past landladies: Annie Walker, Bet Lynch, Vera Duckworth and the landlady she learned from – Liz McDonald.

Next day, in the factory, they talk about the party and the changing of the guard at the Rovers. Another owner, Fred Elliot, is remembered. I say, Fred Elliot is remembered.sign landlady Toyal Laverne Battersby

Peter and Toyah, that morning, savour the start of a new life. Who’da thunk it, that when she moved to the street all those years ago that she’d end up landlady of the pub. Don’t tell Les, Peter cautions her, he’d drink us dry in a week. Ha! Nice to hear Toyah’s dad mentioned.

Peter and Toyah happy about new businessA tiny moment of happiness, then the start of pressure building. Leanne needs a place to live immediately. So Peter says she, Simon and the baby can move in upstairs. Nice gesture, but it means he and Toyah won’t have even one day to enjoy their new space alone.

Peter’s alcoholism has been the focus for fears about their ownership of the bar. But there are less obvious elephants in the room. Toyah’s desperation about having a baby is a big one.toyah-cries-in-bathroom

There are also smaller ones. “A stroppy teenager, screaming baby” and sister and ex sharing your living space. Sean determined to show that he’s “the glue that holds the place together.” Unbridled enthusiasm can cause as much friction as no enthusiasm sometimes. I think the odds on whether Peter or Toyah cracks first have just shortened.

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 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 26 Mar 2017

Friends

leanne-and-toyah-badger-peterNice little moments Monday of friends history. Leanne and Toyah badger Peter to speak to Steve on Leanne’s behalf, get him to back off on wanting to be part of the baby’s life.

Peter doesn’t want to be involved. Why would he listen to me, he asks. You’re his best friend, Leanne says. We’re friends, but best friends? So who is, Toyah asks. He runs through the list in his head: Ciaran, he’s my best friend. He was my pick too for Peter’s bestie,

friends steve-and-peterBut, regardless of where on the friendship scale Steve is, Peter talks to him at the Rovers. Steve sees the set-up, recognizes Leannne’s words. Asks how his friend could sell him out like this. A discussion of friends and who’d qualify as ‘best’, who’s just ‘mates’.

Liz comes over to them. Steve tells her in exasperation that his “best friend” is doing a number on him. “Oh, you’ve spoken to Lloyd!”, she liz-with-steve-and-peterbeams. Peter looks disconcerted at being bumped from best mate place.

A way to make you smile, remembering characters and friendships. A small light-hearted joke stream before we hit heavy waters later in the week. New crises, new conflicts and new characters.

I kept thinking back to the friendship ranking. The only adult male I can think of on the Street with no real ‘mates’ to rank is Nick. Why is that not surprising?

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, staff says, 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.