Peter Barlow will face the prospect of bankruptcy after his high-risk strategy of offering crazy odds at the bookies to increase profits backfires. In the episode set to air on Friday 19 July, Rob Donovan (Marc Baylis) will be seeing placing £500 on an accumulator and winning £35,000. What’s obvious, though, is that Peter can’t pay up and he soon realises that he could end up losing his business.
“It’s sad – he’s been a bookie for 12 years now and he’s been his own boss. He’s got some sort of status within the community owner. It’s kept his family going and him as a man too,” says Chris Gascoyne, who plays Peter. “Even though he has lots more going for him in his life, the thought of losing his bookies makes him feel as though he’ll lose everything. Peter feels that he may lose Carla too, which is his deep insecurity. When Peter comes crashing down, the world loses its colour.”
So much so that he might end up turning to drink again? “He’s close but he doesn’t. He doesn’t even get to the point of having a drink in his hand, but when Peter’s under that kind of pressure he wants to drink to forget. But as soon as he gets an urge, he heads straight to a meeting, which is brilliant because it shows that there is some strength and resolve in him.”
We’ve also seen suggestions that Peter’s sister Tracy (Kate Ford) and Rob are going to open a cash converters-style shop, so does Peter find this quite laughable or is he quite threatened by the possibility? “Both,” says the actor. “It’s a horrible thing to see the two of them working as partners in crime and they relish the opportunity to rub Peter’s nose in it that they are starting up a business while his goes down the pan. But then he doesn’t know what they are going to do, which is scary.”
Of course, the Barlow family will always turn things into a feud at any given opportunity, so does this latest situation have that potential? “I think Tracy will always have the ability to hurt Peter, in the same way that Rob will always hurt Carla. They are all so intertwined that they are inevitably affected by one another. Peter’s always tried to help Tracy, but he knows now that Tracy can’t help herself.”
So would life have been simpler had Peter stayed with Leanne? “Well, that’s in another life, I guess,” says Gascoyne. “He’s always happy for Carla and her triumphs, but cannot help being overtaken by his own situation. He always wants to go back to the good times, to the familiar and safe. That’s what Peter craves. When he panics, that’s what he yearns for.”