Peter Barlow is forced to face the music when pregnant wife Carla discovers that he’s been drinking and issues a shock ultimatum: either he cleans up his act or they won’t be having a baby. It’s a revelation that results in Peter heading to rehab – but has guilt over his affair with Tina finally tipped him over the edge? Actor Chris Gascoyne tells us more…
How did Peter feel when Tina turned out not to be pregnant?
He was overcome with relief when the test came back negative and he used that opportunity to finish things with Tina. He feels as though he might have gotten away with it, until Tina starts pursuing him again….
Does he worry that Tina hasn’t really got the message?
At first, he thinks it’s going to be quite simple. She’s a lot younger than him and Peter arrogantly believes he’ll be able to brush her off quite easily by saying she can do so much better than him. When she texts him telling him she loves him, he realises it’s going to be more difficult than he thought. That’s another reason for him turning back to the bottle. It’s a defence mechanism for Peter – as soon as he thinks he’s in danger of things going wrong, he returns to his old demons.
So it’s this that sends him off the rails?
It’s a mixture of things. He certainly struggles to live with what he’s done, and now Carla’s pregnant he’s even more in fear that she’s going to find out what’s been going on behind her back.
Does Tina realise how bad his state of mind is?
I don’t think so. She doesn’t know that Carla’s pregnant, so she has no idea that he’s having to deal with that too. Tina’s not going to let him go easily and she doesn’t realise that the more she tries to win him back, the further she’s pushing him into a dark hole. I don’t think she realises how bad it is until Carla asks her for her help when she discovers he’s fallen off the wagon.
Does this make Tina back off?
No, quite the opposite. Tina thinks she can help Peter and tells him she wants to be there for him, but it just makes him worse. It makes him realise that she’s really not going anywhere, and that she is a threat to his relationship with Carla. It’s not as simple and as carefree as he first thought it was when he went into it.
Why doesn’t he just tell her no and that it’s over?
Peter’s conscious that if he upsets her by being harsh that she’ll turn nasty and end up telling Carla. He’s trying to tread carefully and end it with her as calmly as possible – he almost wants to get her to a position where she’s agreeing with him that it’s best they end it.
How does Carla react when she finds out he’s been drinking?
She’s absolutely furious. He’s been lying to her and she realises it when he comes in stinking of whisky. Carla’s upset that he’s fallen off the wagon when he knows she’s pregnant. She tells him that he’s risking his life by drinking and that he has an unborn child to think of now, as well as her and Simon. She’s even more annoyed when Peter tries to tell her it’s because of the stress he’s under to be the perfect husband and father. Carla doesn’t buy it.
Is he worried when Carla gives him an ultimatum and tells him that if he drinks again she won’t have the baby?
She’s sick of hearing his excuses and him feeling sorry for himself. This is the final straw. Carla had to battle a lot of demons when she found out she was pregnant and she needs Peter more than ever, but now he’s drinking again she’s scared he can’t be there for her. When she finally plucked up the courage to tell him she was pregnant, Peter vowed he’d be there for her. When she gives him this ultimatum, he feels more trapped than ever. He’s completely stunned by what she says.
And how does Peter feel when Carla tells him he has to go to rehab?
Carla doesn’t even really give him a choice. She more or less tells him he has to go and I think he knows better than to argue with her about it. He’s no energy to think about anything else at that point other than where his next drink is going to come from.
Why does Carla ring Tina?
Carla is struggling to keep everything afloat at the factory and look after Peter as well. She doesn’t want to leave Peter on his own because she’s scared and worried that he won’t be able to keep away from the bottle.
Peter’s humiliated when she asks Steve to come round and sit with him – he feels like he’s being babysat. Obviously, Carla has no idea about Peter and Tina and doesn’t think twice about calling her to ask for her help as well.
Was it always inevitable that he’d fall off the wagon do you think? Do you think it will go on for some time?
Peter’s an addict, he has a drink problem – so yes, I do think it was always inevitable given what trouble he’s landed himself in with Tina and Carla. At the moment, he can’t find a way out of the hole he’s found himself in and the only thing he feels he can turn is to drink.
It’s all going to come crashing down – it’s never going to end well for Tina. And Peter at some point, is going to have to face the consequences of his actions.