It’s quite the busy time for Rob Donovan, what with him trying to get away with Tina McIntyre’s murder and get himself hitched to the sister of the man it has been pinned on.
The wedding, complete with horse and carriage, looks all set to go ahead. But this is the Barlows we’re talking about here. It can’t all go right, can it?
“Being a soap, it doesn’t necessarily go to plan,” actor Marc Baylis teases. Rob’s even signed up his sister Carla Barlow (Alison King) to take on the role of ‘Best Bird’ who, by the day of the wedding, actually knows he’s to blame for Tina’s death.
“Obviously Tracy doesn’t like that [choice],” Baylis laughs. “Which goes in Rob’s favour because it distracts her away from the trial and everything.”
While Baylis pokes fun at the “romantic picturesque life” that Rob and Tracy are trying to claim, joking that the wedding is another example of them “always punching above their weight”, there’s no shaking the relationship at the heart of the mayhem.
“There’s no doubt whatsoever about Rob and Tracy’s relationship. As far as they’re both concerned they’re meant to be together. So it’s exterior events that take over the day,” Baylis explains. “I’m trying not to give anything away…”
What Baylis can tell us is just how beautiful the setting is, with filming taking place at Capesthorne Hall in Cheshire, the venue that Simon Gregson (Steve McDonald) actually got married in in real life.
“It’s almost like Downton Abbey, but not as square,” says Baylis. “It’s just absolutely stunning. You’ve got these huge lakes and lawns, the artwork inside is absolutely mind-blowing.”
Of Tracy’s wedding dress Baylis jokes, “She’s gone for a white dress. She could have gone for red being Tracy Barlow,” adding rather sweetly, “She looks stunning, she really does.”
Rob’s gone for long tails, “It’s a very traditional wedding,” he adds.
One thing that isn’t traditional is Rob’s stag do, which sees him have a few quiet drinks with Carla. It’s then that she quizzes him about Tina’s death – not quite the ‘lads’ out on the town’ (or at least the Rovers!) that we were expecting.
“He is trying to be angelic. Rob refuses to go out, he wants the whole wedding day to be absolutely magical.”
Filming on the wedding took about six weeks, with Baylis describing it as being like, “kids on a school trip”.
“There’s more room to play around. It’s really nice to get out of the studio. I think with any job if you get to mix it up a bit it makes it more interesting. Even if there’s not a lot of work to do, when we’re lucky to have a few weeks to be in a place like that we should make the most of it,” he adds.
These are of course some of the final scenes that Baylis filmed, with his storyline fast approaching its end. So what will become of Tracy now? Will she move on, perhaps even meet someone else?
“That fills Rob with dread. I’m sure there will be a dalliance. Rob was always worried she might have a little fling with Tony at some point, so that could be the one that happens
“But then she loves Rob so much, she’ll be like, ‘No, I’ll wait for him’. This whole thing with Rob has caused a massive change in Tracy’s character. It is the real deal, it is true love. It’s the circumstances that are very difficult. So if she were to have a fling or something it would still be Rob that she was thinking about and maybe trying to replace him,” Baylis explains.
Of no longer working with Kate Ford, Baylis says he’ll miss her insistence that she’s unwell every day. “You never know what ailment she’ll come up with. She’s brilliant with it. There’s always something. I could draw up a list around every single month and each ailment comes one after the other. I’ll miss her ailments and nursing her back to health.”
You can see Marc Baylis talking to Radio Times’s David Brown below: