Tag Archives: Tracy Barlow

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 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 24/16

On Thursday and Friday, characters and audience were remembering Deirdre. They and we, of course, were also remembering her remembering deirdre tracy-at-gravestoneportrayer Anne Kirkbride. Her photo on the Barlow sideboard is never far from our view, but it was nice seeing it close up again.

More than words and a raised glass of red marked the passing of actress and character. Remembering Deirdre and communing with her brought dramatic action about. Reconciliation and new beginnings in honour of her spirit – in two storylines.

Tracy and Amy reconciled at her gravestone. Robert, acting as tracy-sees-robert-and-amypeacemaker and friend, brought Amy there and went out for pizza with them after. It had been Deirdre’s death that brought him back into the Barlow family and, for better or worse, he does care about all of them.

tracy-amy-and-robert-on-streetTracy brought Todd and Billy together, also for better or worse. She told them to sort themselves out. And she’s right. Despite the huge potential for damage, they need to end their dance around each other and their feelings.

The damage will be huge for Sean. A man dumps him again, a man who is good with and for him. He knows, despite Billy’s protestations, that someone else is involved. When he finds out it’s Todd! That doesn’t bear thinking about.

Watching Todd, Billy and Sean this week has been hard. Todd honestly doesn’t want to see Sean hurt. That evil-Todd-back-from-London has gone, at least for now. He isn’t toying with people, just tracy-takes-billy-to-toddtrying to mess up as many lives as possible, as he has done before. He does hurt Billy, but for the greater good, to keep things as they were. Todd denies the feelings he had admitted to when drunk, tells him he’d got the wrong end of the stick, and tells him to go away, go back to Sean. And that was to protect Sean, to make Billy stay with Sean, to keep them together.

And Billy, man of God, is torn between loyalty to the promises he’s billy-looks-at-toddmade to Sean and his new feelings for Todd. Lying about everything, hiding and deceiving everyone. His own duplicity and Sean’s present and future pain burdens him. But he can’t stop his feelings for Todd, and he knows that Todd reciprocates them.

Tracy acts as a catalyst, and not in her usual way of tattling to one person behind the other person’s back. She sees Billy and takes him tracy-by-deirdre-gravestoneto the flower shop where Todd is still working. Todd, meet Billy. Billy, meet Todd. Now talk. Was this direct approach to problem solving due to her long talk to Deirdre in the cemetery? I’d like to think so.

Corrie Street June 12/16

wedding-aftermathThursday’s episode opens amid the wreckage of Carla and Nick’s wedding. They had got married but it didn’t last until dinner was served.

Asking for a time-out during the ceremony, Carla had confessed to Nick that she had slept with Robert. He could get over that, he said. So back to the wedding.

nicks-looks-at-carlaThen in came Tracy to tell all. Yeah yeah yeah, Nick told her, old news. He and Carla completed their vows. Tracy finished her story – about Carla providing the extra money Robert needed to buy the Bistro, and about the move to Devon being Tracy’s idea. That rattled Nick but he gamely sat at the head table for the reception.

connors-surround-carlaBut during the speeches and champagne, he couldn’t go on. He realized the enormity of never knowing if Carla was lying or not. “Tell me it’s red,” he said, holding a white napkin. He wanted to see if her eyes changed when she lied.

carla-leaves-bistroHard to imagine a wedding day could get worse, but it did. Nick said he was leaving to see about an annulment. Carla told Roy she wanted to leave, just drive and drive. Roy goes off to get his car. Cathy waylays him with an ill-timed marriage proposal. Carla tires of waiting and leaves on her own.

carla-looks-at-tracyIn her car, seeing Tracy straight ahead in the headlights. Smirking. Carla not paying attention to Roy and Tyrone both trying to park their vehicles. Carla guns the engine and puts the car in gear.

Just before she hits Tracy and the house behind, she veers off. Driving cathy-hiton the sidewalk, she hits Cathy who is coming out of Dev’s shop.

Roy parks and runs to where Cathy is lying and calls for help. A dazed Carla looks at Cathy and at him. He looks at her as if she is a stranger, and one he doesn’t like.

wheel-through-concreteMeanwhile, Tyrone crashed the truck into Gail’s annex. A wheel comes to rest on the manhole cover, the one Callum’s body is under. It crashes through. Bad news for the Platts.

Tyrone was driving without shoes because they pinched his feet. He and Fiz had gone dress-shopping for the wedding at the last minute. Their fiz-in-new-dress in wreckagepurchase at an expensive shop that they should not have even entered shows that neither of them have one clue about living on a budget. Their financial woes are the least of the worries for many Street residents right now though.

Thank you, Alison King, for Carla. And thank you, Stuart Blackburn, for your producing.

Corrie Street Apr. 3/16

Friday, Sarah in the flower shop with Todd then a follow-up scene with Sarah, Todd, Tracy, David and Mary. Sarah might have an early baby, five weeks early.

todd-brings-sarah-teaTodd sees Sarah struggling to pick up dropped bags at the bus stop when she returns from a shopping trip to town. Seeing she looks exhausted, he takes her to the florist shop for a cup of tea. There he says that people seem to have forgotten that Bethany wasn’t the last child born in the Platt family. There was their Billy as well, the baby who died soon after birth. But he doesn’t forget, he tells Sarah. He’d be 11 now, nearly 12, Todd says.

todd-talks-as sarah-shows-painTodd breaks off his speculation about what Billy would be doing, if he were alive, when he notices Sarah’s discomfort. No, it’s not what he’s saying, Sarah says, it’s the baby – he’s coming. Too early, like Billy.

Skip through a few scenes back to the florists. Tracy is there and is horrified that a moaning pregnant woman is in the middle of her retail space, putting customers off. In comes a customer, Mary, looking for a small conversation piece for an occasional table.

tracy-upsells-flowers-to-mary“How much are you thinking of spending – 20, 30, I could do something amazing for 40” Tracy says over the wailing of Sarah. But Mary’s attention is on the medical emergency in front of her. She’s not a nurse but “I’ve seen a lot of telly,” she assures Sarah. She calls for towels and hot water and begins rolling up her sleeves. She wants to locate the baby’s head, she informs Sarah. The want-you-to-breathe-deeplyambulance siren can be heard, just in the nick of time.

It’s nice for the characters and viewers to take a moment to remember baby Billy. Also nice is a very funny moment of an unsympathetic Tracy totally unflapped about Sarah possibly going into labour right then and there. She then shifts to her best sycophantic ‘are you being served?’ routine. That her customer was Mary – what could be better? “You owe me 40 quid,” Tracy tells the moaning Sarah when she early baby - david-holds up hand and says-she-was-gonnarealizes she’s lost a sale. Of course she claims the top end of the amounts she suggested. Mary had totally forgot about her floral conversation piece and was much more concerned about the living, breathing one about to have a baby.

Corrie Street Feb. 7/16

todd-sits-down-with-tracyEavesdropping on a chat in a workplace – Tracy and Todd in the florist shop. On Thursday they discussed the newest complications in Tracy’s life, a low key analysis of the situation she is in.

Amid the trauma and drama of the week, it struck me as a particularly good if somewhat odd friendship. It started when she hired him to work in Barlow’s Buys. She didn’t plan to be friends – he’s an employee and was expected to mind his own business. But he’s Todd, everyone’s business is his, particularly their dirty little secrets. tracy and todd drink coffeeKnowledge is currency. Just like Tracy!

Over time, she realized that she might try but would never succeed in keeping her private life private from him. And there must be a freedom in being able to tell someone all the rotten things you’ve done and thought. Often even not having to tell, for the other person has already guessed correctly.

In this instance, she has told him about being at the Bistro and accidentally overhearing Robert and Carla talk about their fling. Then, after Robert had left but before she did, Tracy witnessed a break-in and attack on Carla. She fled, leaving Carla to her fate but also leaving her phone. Now how is she going to explain any of this to Robert, the todd-says-carla-has-paid-the-pricepolice and the entire street?

She does not want to tell Robert she knows about him and Carla. It is a lot of money in the knowledge bank. Invested wisely, it could make huge profits for her with him or as revenge with Carla. Looking at it this way makes sense to Todd so he takes it into account as they try to sort out how she can avoid getting entangled in a web that involves many people and events.

Tracy has one other friend, Beth. Despite her hard exterior, Beth is a good person who sees only the good in those she likes. I don’t think tracy-reacts-to-todd-defending-carlashe sees, or will accept, the true evil that Tracy can do. Therefore Tracy is a better person when she is with Beth. But that’s not the whole of Tracy. Todd knows and accepts, even likes, the full panorama of Tracyness – the vulnerable and the murderous of her. Being enough like her, he can confront her on behaviours and ideas she has in a way that Beth can’t or wouldn’t even think of.

Tracy listens to Todd. She gets good ideas from him, and therefore todd looks gobsmacked at tracyalso will listen to his warnings. She knows that they are simpatico. It is a good thing for Weatherfield that he is gay and she is female. If they were romantic partners, they would be like gasoline and fertilizer – dangerous.

Corrie Street Dec. 13/15

“Get out, you poisonous little bitch!” Robert to Tracy at the close of Robert tells Tracy you heard, get outTuesday’s episode. Words to put on a loop and play over and over again. Tracy was at the Bistro, needling Leanne yet again about Simon’s out of control behaviour.

Too bad the words had no lasting impact on Tracy. Despite the immediate shock, her soul-searching next day was confined to coming up with justifications for her behaviour. And, of course, worrying about whether Robert was interested in Leanne. He must, in Tracy reacts to Robert saying you poisonous little bitchher mind, since he kept defending Leanne. But Robert is loyal. He told her that, after all he had thrown away for her, he would hardly walk out on her now. Reassured, she could go back to crowning herself mother of the year.

The Barlow children, Amy and Simon, don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of growing up to be decent people. Amy is learning well the “poisonous” arts. She is being taught by a master.

Ken lives in the same household as Amy and spends a lot of time with Simon. One would hope he could exercise some influence in moderation, empathy and control. But then you look at his relationship with his children, and the grown-up products of his tracy with glass of red at bistro, not knowing leanne is enteringpaternal skills. Not a lot of hope there.

Maybe if Deirdre were still alive it would be different? I think Deirdre was able to be a much better mother to other people’s children than with her own. Look at Tracy. Deirdre stood by her no matter what, whether right or wrong. Commendable sentiment, perhaps, but the result is a narcissistic, even sociopathic adult who is now rearing her own child in her own image.

tracy watches leanne talk to robert at barLeanne, I think, is the most likely to be a good parent. She too is fiercely loyal to her child, and understanding of his fears and problems. But she has a moral code that she has fought hard to develop in herself and she wants to instil in him. She is hampered in this by her own insecurities about not being his “real” mother. Those insecurities are fed by Tracy and by Simon himself. If Peter were around, he’d probably feed them too if it served his purposes.

So the kids are growing up in a moral miasma. The ineffectual flapping who is looking after him, Tracy asks Leanne about Simonabout decency and respect from Ken and Leanne is countered by Tracy’s credo of defend yourself no matter what and attack anyone or anything that threatens you or your own. I pity the poor counsellor who has to take this mess on.