Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) is under pressure in all corners of his life. Feeling emasculated at home and under threat of being bankrupted at work, it’s not exactly a bed of roses for Weatherfield’s premier bookmaker. But next week, girlfriend Carla is to shake the situation up even further when she hits Peter with a double whammy of proposals – marriage plus partnership in the business at Underworld. So what gives her the idea to do something so radical?
“Well, it’s Deirdre who speaks to her and tells her that sometimes men can feel emasculated by strong women,” says Alison King, who plays Carla. “She says that maybe, if they were husband and wife, he would feel a bit better about things. He might then be able to swallow his pride and feel a bit more easy about it.”
But has marriage ever been something that either of them has shown any interest in before? “No. Neither of them have seen it as something they need, but having given it some consideration, Carla’s now thinking ‘why not?’ because she wants him to feel more of an equal. Peter, for his part, is shocked and I think he knows deep down why she’s doing it. But he loves her so much and he does want to do it.”
Of course, Peter is no stranger to the marriage game having been involved in a high-profile bigamy storyline back in 2003, as well as being more recently wed to Leanne (Jane Danson), with whom he had a relationship that could be the dictionary definition of the word ‘tempestuous’. But does Carla still see Leanne as a threat?
“Leanne will always be a threat because she is the sensible one,” says King. “However, Carla has got her act together recently and is more sensible than she used to be, certainly more level-headed than Peter. Yet she knows that Leanne will always hold a piece of his heart because she was his family unit and Carla can’t provide that. But I think that Peter is the love of her life – he is everything to her, flaws and all. You can tell by the chemistry between them that they’re made for each other.”
But personal relationships are very different from working relationships – and after Peter makes a hash of running the bookies, it’ll be interesting to see how things go at the factory. “Yes, just how much control will she let him have? Will she be able to leave him to it or will the mess he made at the bookies be at the back of her mind? We’ll have to wait to see if it puts a strain on their relationship – she will still be holding the purse strings, which could cause problems.”
And then there’s the question of the wedding itself: just when will that take place? “I’m not sure of the exact date, but towards the end of the year. If all goes to plan!”