He’s been away from Coronation Street for five months, but on Monday 10 December, Peter Barlow is set to return to Weatherfield with Carla in tow – just in time to hear of ex-wife Leanne’s plans to marry Nick. So will the rivalry between Nick and Peter bubble up again? And for how long does Peter plan to stay? Actor Chris Gascoyne reveals what’s in store:
So, what brings Peter back to town?
He’s realised how much he is missing everybody. He’s in LA and the sun is shining, but Peter is missing the things that are familiar to him, most of all Simon. So Carla and Peter decide to pay a visit back home for a couple of weeks over Christmas.
And he says he’s now given up the booze. Do you think he’s really changed?
Yes, I do think he’s changed. Being away was a good thing for him and he’s in a much better place. He may got sucked into his old way of life now he is back in Weatherfield but at the moment he’s fighting that temptation.
And what state is his and Carla’s relationship in?
Well, they love each other very much and have a very passionate relationship. It’s obviously quite tempestuous. But since they’ve come back to England, something’s not quite right between them. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but you do get a sense that it’s not quite as it should be. They’re not 100 per cent together with each other at the moment.
Can you tell us about the moment they arrive back?
With great style and timing, Peter and Carla arrive back just as Nick and Leanne are about to leave on holiday. Their cases are about to be loaded in the taxi for the airport and Peter and Carla turn up. Simon very quickly spots that Peter is back. So, just by being there in Weatherfield, Peter has caused a tremendous amount of upheaval, but he’s oblivious to this.
And how does Peter feel when he finds out that Leanne is marrying Nick?
He’s really shocked. I think he wants the best for her and wishes her well, but I think he still does have deep feelings for her and believes she has feelings for him. I think Peter doubts whether Nick is truly the person Leanne should be with. But it does really boil down to Peter and his ego – he cannot stand to see Leanne wanting to marry Nick Tilsley, really.
So pretty soon, Peter is opting to stay permanently in Weatherfield. Why does he decide to do this when he could have the sunshine of LA?
In a nutshell: Simon. Also, he’s got used to living in Weatherfield. It’s his home now. I think it would be great to see an episode where we see Peter living in LA as I think it would be very funny to see him out there. It’s really not Peter’s style – he’s much better suited in Weatherfield in the rain, having a fag and taking bets in the bookies.
Surely, though, this is the opposite of what Carla wants?
Well, when they’re out in America, she gets 100 per cent of Peter’s attention and she likes that. Carla also feels that Simon is never going to come round to liking her. So moving to America is what she really wants long term and I think Peter has got uphill battle on his hands.
I guess it doesn’t help that we then see that Carla has started drinking again?
Peter doesn’t think she was drinking when they were in America. And if she was, she was hiding it really well and – Peter being an alcoholic himself – he’s sure he would have spotted it. So he’s shocked, really, and concerned for her.
But yet she does convince him to move back to Los Angeles?
They’re all set to leave and Peter’s had to accept that he and Carla are going to return to LA. He’s not very happy and he’s resigned to the fact that Simon will be able to come and visit and that it’ll be a long distance relationship that he has with his son. They are about to check the bags in when Peter receives a call from Leanne accusing him of taking Simon with him. Leanne thinks that Peter has kidnapped him, but at that moment Simon arrives at the airport and Peter is then torn between Carla and Simon. He has a massive decision to make.
And can you tell us what’s coming up for Peter at Christmas?
When I read the Christmas scripts there were some unexpected things that Peter’s getting up to. You will have to watch to find out what that is.
And what did you miss most about work while you were away?
I did miss the people here at Coronation Street and the camaraderie that we all share. I do miss acting when I’m not doing it, but I did need a break from it. I’m loving being back – Peter has returned to some really great scripts. He’s returned the same but different, if that makes any sense. It may wrong foot some people.