Coronation Street: the Barlows are shocked when Simon attacks Amy – Kate Ford interview

The months of abuse that Leanne has suffered will be revealed - but Tracy is certainly lacking in sympathy

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Simon’s abuse of Leanne is to be revealed next week when the Barlows catch him attacking Amy.

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After Amy reveals that Simon has hit her, mum Tracy goes on the warpath and tracks down Leanne, who reveals all about the months of abuse she has been enduring.

But while Ken is full of sympathy, Tracy remains scornful, partly because of Leanne’s growing friendship with Robert. In fact, when Tracy spots Leanne discussing the situation with Robert later in the week in the Bistro, she flies into a jealous rage and brands Simon a thug.

Robert’s furious and, telling Tracy that she’s gone too far, throws her out! Here, actress Kate Ford reveals all about the latest ructions in the Barlow household and whether this really could be the end for Robert and Tracy…

So, does Tracy have any idea about what Leanne’s dealing with in Simon?
No, she’s not got a clue. Tracy isn’t privy to anything Leanne has been going through – they hardly see eye to eye, so Tracy’s probably the last person Leanne would confide in! And Tracy’s too wrapped up in her own business to notice the problems other people might have. When she finds out Simon’s moved in, Tracy’s not bothered as to why, she’s just annoyed that he’ll be there all the time!

So how does she react when she and Ken arrive to see him attacking Amy?
Tracy’s absolutely furious when Amy tells her that Simon hit her. Tracy will never believe Amy has done anything wrong. I think Amy does wind him up a bit about not being wanted anywhere and he really doesn’t like it.  But, on this occasion, Simon has actually been quite menacing towards Amy and Tracy wants to blame someone. 

Is Amy badly hurt? And is Simon apologetic?
She has a red mark on her arm where he’s grabbed her, but she’s genuinely very distressed and I think she is shook up by Simon’s violent turn. I don’t think she ever expected him to be aggressive towards her. They’ve always wound each other up, but Amy never expected this and I do think she’s very scared. Ken is absolutely mortified and tries to take the matter into his own hands and asks Simon for the truth. Simon is anything but apologetic and I think everyone is really shocked by his ‘I don’t care’ attitude.

Why does she go looking for Leanne straight away?
Tracy knows she can’t retaliate towards Simon because he’s only a child, so the only person she can think to blame is Leanne and she’ll make sure she knows it. It’s also that Tracy feels she can now take the moral high ground and point the finger at Leanne and maybe accuse her of bad parenting. That sounds like something Tracy would do! 

And how does she treat Leanne when she finds her?
Leanne’s been out shopping with Eva, so when Tracy storms into the Bistro, Leanne is completely oblivious. Tracy asks her if she had fun while she was out shopping, and tells her that while she was out Simon was ‘beating up Amy’. She does this in front of Robert and Eva, so she isn’t very discreet about it. 

What happens next?
Leanne and Tracy go back to Number 1 to talk to Simon. Leanne wants Simon to apologise but that isn’t enough for Tracy – she wants him to go back to Leanne so she can deal with the problem. She doesn’t think that it should be her or Ken’s problem to look after him.   

Then, of course, Leanne breaks down – is Tracy touched by this?
She’s definitely shocked when Leanne breaks down and tells Tracy and Ken that Simon’s been hitting her. She never expected that. She was happy to tarnish Simon as well as Leanne with the same brush and blame Leanne for Simon’s actions. So she is definitely taken aback when Leanne breaks down and explains the reality of the situation.

It doesn’t stop her from making the odd snipe at Leanne, though, and even after the shock has settled, she returns to blaming Leanne for Simon’s behaviour! Any sympathy she might have at first quickly evaporates when everyone else starts comforting Leanne. 

What do the Barlows make of it all?
They’re in complete shock. Ken is really devastated that Leanne didn’t confide in him, but Leanne tells them that she felt ashamed. Tracy quickly reverts back to blaming Leanne and says she shouldn’t have let it get so out of control and asks her what kind of a mum that makes her.

Does anyone offer a solution?
Tracy just tries to make it all about her and Amy again and demands that Simon be removed from the house. Ken begrudgingly agrees with her because he doesn’t think Amy should be put at risk. Ken wants to help, so the only thing he can think to do is talk to him himself. 

Are they prepared to step in and help Leanne?
Ken wants to – despite the fact that he knows Simon can’t stay with them anymore. Robert makes a comment about how Simon can’t grow up with anger issues and that they have to get him some professional help. Tracy doesn’t think it’s her problem or anyone else’s so doesn’t think they should have to bother! 

Why does Robert and Leanne’s friendship bother Tracy so much?
Tracy is a very jealous person anyway. And with someone like Leanne, who she doesn’t like and who doesn’t like her back, then Leanne is the last person she wants Robert falling into a friendship with. She wants Robert all to herself and the thought of Leanne being friendly with her annoys her. She can’t help it – that’s just Tracy all over. She’s insanely jealous and feeling insecure that Robert is paying attention and care to Leanne over her. 

What does Robert make of the way she’s behaving?
He’s quite disgusted by how cold she is being towards Leanne. Tracy is completely uninterested in the situation and is unsympathetic towards Leanne for the way Simon has treated her. When she keeps blaming Leanne and saying things such as how it’s a good job Leanne didn’t have any children of her own, he’s quite angry at her. He knows Tracy of old and knows what she is like, but I think even this is a step too far in his eyes. 

Does her plan to be forgiven work?
No, not really because he then tells her more or less straight away that he went round to see Simon and Leanne and this gets her back right up. She tells him that he’s betrayed her, but Robert stands up for himself and says that he doesn’t need permission from her and that his opinion about Leanne and Simon is different to hers.

She hates it when they fall out and when she doesn’t get her own way – she knows deep down that she’s gone one step too far and  that she’s been playing this badly. She decides to get all dressed up and go to the Bistro in an attempt to get Robert to talk to her again. He’s not making it easy for her but she decides to sit it out and wait…

So why does she fly off the handle again?
Robert isn’t giving in to Tracy at all and is making her work hard for forgiveness. Tracy is intending to sit in the Bistro until he talks to her again, but Leanne comes in and Robert is all concerned for her and chatting things over and Tracy is overcome with jealousy, especially when Leanne hugs Robert and thanks him for his support. It kills Tracy because she just can’t find it in her to be nice or supportive. She can’t help but fire insults at Leanne and she really goes to town on her. She just can’t help it. 

Is it a shocking scene?
What Tracy says to Leanne is pretty vile and it’s a step too far for Robert. She calls Simon a thug and tells Leanne he needs a tag around his ankle. 

How would she feel if this was the end for her and Robert?
She’d be absolutely devastated. Robert really does get Tracy and deep down she knows she’s landed on her feet given the year she’s had and everything she’s done. 

Can she win him back?
She will do her best to try. She can be very persuasive and manipulative and she won’t stop until she gets what she wants. She knows Robert loves her deeply as well so she hopes she can work her way round him. 

You can watch a 60 second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.

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