Ken Barlow and Mike Baldwin were the two rivals in love whose feuding defined a decade of Coronation Street. Mike’s affair with Ken’s wife Deirdre in 1983 grabbed headlines and sent ratings skyrocketing, but one current star reckons that there is now a 21st century equivalent of the Barlow-Baldwin schism.
Ben Price, who plays Nick Tilsley, admits that Ken’s son Peter (Chris Gascoyne) could well come between his character and childhood sweetheart Leanne (Jane Danson).
Says Price: “Nick starts to notice something different in her behaviour and he doesn’t know what is going on, so he starts probing her until eventually she tells him that her divorce from Peter has come through.
“Immediately Nick is suspicious and wants to know what else she is keeping from him. The alarm bells are ringing for him. He doesn’t understand why she has kept it from him.”
Speaking to What’s On TV, the actor then goes on to draw parallels between his and Peter’s state of affairs and the storylines of past Corrie adversaries: “When he picks her up on it, she vehemently defends herself and insists it means nothing to her, but all Nick is hearing is that she still cares.
“He just gets to the end of the happily ever after and up pops Peter. It’s like Mike and Ken all over again!”
Nick and Leanne do, of course, have a long relationship history, having run off to Scotland as teenagers in 1998 to get married. Then there was their fling over a decade later, which was curtailed as Peter lay on his deathbed following the momentous tram crash of 2010.
But it seems as though Leanne will not be able to exorcise her past associations with Peter – actor Chris Gascoyne is set to return to the soap later this year following a four-month break.