Coronation Street has confirmed next week’s episodes will focus on a huge development for the Barlows, as Ken’s patience is pushed to breaking point and the numerous family feuds explode.
At the centre of the drama – as usual – is Peter. The recovering alcoholic, serial womaniser and absent father was getting his act together at last, but events conspire that could tempt him back to the booze and ruin his future with new love Toyah Battersby. But that’s just one aspect of a massive storyline which actor Chris Gascoyne reveals will have major repercussions for Weatherfield’s legendary clan.
“When we were told about this development for the family we were all very excited. This storyline will have huge consequences and could change the Barlows forever. It affects every single one of them, and also other people in the Street.
“We knew Kate Oates had big plans for the Barlow dynasty when she came on board as producer last year, and to be given such a big story which will have everyone gripped is fantastic.”
Gascoyne remains tight-lipped about the finer details but predicts the audience will be surprised. “It will get them talking and give them a chance to have their own theories about how things will develop in the coming weeks. It’s such a great plot with so many twists and turns and will keep people guessing.”
Poor Peter was falsely accused of cheating on Toyah with the comely Chloe and falling off the wagon, but Chloe had told Ken a pack of lies as revenge for Peter rejecting her – nonetheless, Peter’s family chose to believe her over him, causing friction with his dad after Toyah walks out. But Gascoyne says there’s more going on beneath the surface with this fallout between father and son.
“Ken and the rest of the family were totally against Peter buying into the Rovers and were not supportive at all. He feels as though they will never let him forget his past or believe he’s capable of making something of his life. Ken believing Chloe was the final straw, and Peter can’t forgive him for that.”
So for once Peter is innocent – although Gascoyne concedes he played a small part in his downfall by flirting with the wrong woman… “Peter feels frustrated, although he probably did bring some of it on himself by slightly leading Chloe on. He was doing it for the right reasons but in true Peter style it all blew up in his face. Because of his past people are all too ready to believe the worst of him and it is hard to come back from that.
Toyah refusing to listen to Peter’s side of the story sends him into a spiral, leading to a dramatic scene where the character’s drinking demons threaten to get the better of him…
"Peter storms into the Rovers and grabs a bottle of whisky and takes it back to the flat. He is literally staring at temptation and putting all his good work at risk. But he’s of the opinion that if everyone thinks bad of him he may as well prove them right and drink himself into oblivion.”
Toyah is the latest in a long line of ladies that have caught Lothario Peter’s eye, but there’s something special about this pairing – does Gascoyne think there’s any chance of a reconciliation after this latest bump in the road?
“It would be nice to see if Peter could actually make a relationship work and stay on the straight and narrow but if there is a self-destruct button anywhere I am sure Peter will find it!”
As the rest of the Barlows line up to tear strips off each other the stage is set for some epic arguments in the living room at No.1. In his 17 years on the show, Gascoyne has been part of some almighty ding-dongs with Street veteran William Roache, but both actors still relish finding new ways of tapping into their characters’ rich history.
“Bill is fantastic and I admire him very much, and we both still enjoy playing this father/son relationship. Bill has found it really interesting to play Ken falling out with everyone with this latest storyline: Ken has had his moments of anger in the past but is usually fairly mild mannered – but he has just got to the end of his tether with the family and the way he has been treated by them.
“He is proud of his family and wants to be able to help his children and grandchildren, but time and again they throw it back in his face and he has had enough.
“It’s always interesting to have conflict and it’s great having all the different Barlows to play off. You don’t pick your family and this group of dysfunctional adults have been thrown together which makes for great drama!”
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