Tracy Barlow is to find comfort in the arms of ex-husband Robert Preston next week as she says goodbye to her mum Deirdre.
With Ken giving her a frosty reception in the wake of Deirdre’s death, Tracy is to be left feeling emotionally fragile. And once Peter arrives home, the Barlows look set to each blame the other for their loss. Can they lay ghosts to rest? Or will the demise of Deirdre just lead to fresh anguish?
Here, actress Kate Ford reveals what’s in store as the Street reels from the shock of losing one of its longest-standing residents:
So how does Tracy take the news about her mum’s death?
Tracy is devastated. She loved Deirdre very much. Over the years, whatever Tracy had done, even if she hadn’t agreed with it, Deirdre had always stood by her and loved her unconditionally. Tracy suddenly feels very alone without her mum.
And how does she feel about the funeral?
Tracy throws herself into the funeral arrangements. She tries to be very efficient and busy herself with the plans in a bid to block out the pain.
Was it hard for you filming Deirdre’s funeral, given that you worked so closely with Anne Kirkbride?
Yes it was very difficult and emotional at times, but I tried to keep things as separate as I could because it was too painful if not.
Obviously, Tracy’s been up to her usual devious tricks of late – does losing her mum make her reflect on her actions?
It does – she wants to be a better daughter and a better mother. She does set about making some changes and maybe trying to call a truce with a certain person, but whether that will last I don’t know.
How does Tracy feel about her dad Ken’s hostility towards her?
She’s angry with him and she doesn’t really understand why he’s being like this. Tracy is mourning the loss of Deirdre too and she really needs some comfort but Ken isn’t forthcoming at all. When Ken eventually berates her for causing Deirdre so much grief over the years, Tracy does feel guilty and vows not to let her mum down again.
And then on the day of the funeral, Tracy sees her ex-husband Robert in the crowd – tell us what happens there…
Tracy’s really struggling on the day of the funeral. She’s in bits over her mum and also struggling with guilt over the fire, but Ken’s still being really cold and she’s only just holding it together. So when Tracy spots Robert she’s shocked but overwhelmed to see a familiar face and loves that he’s there to support and care for her.
What makes her kiss him?
Tracy can’t face the wake and heads home alone, but when Robert knocks at the door she admits she could do with some company. He makes her some food and Tracy’s really touched by how caring he is. He says all the right things and he’s there when she desperately needs some comfort. She’s not suspicious of his motives or anything like that.
But then Ken walks in and catches them together – he can’t be pleased with what he witnesses, surely?
Ken is furious! They’re in his house and that’s not what Ken expected to see when he got home. He shouts at Robert to get out – he thinks Tracy’s sunk lower than ever but she just wanted to blot out the pain.
How does Tracy feel about Peter’s arrival – is she pleased to see him?
Peter arrives while Tracy’s in the midst of a massive row with Ken. Yes she’s pleased to see him, but his timing isn’t great. She’s angry with Ken, she’s so angry that Peter missed the funeral and she just erupts. They all give each other a few home truths.
Was it emotional filming the scenes at the Barlows’ where they go over their family history?
Yes it felt really sad. It still feels like Annie is here with us.
Ken is concerned that Tracy might be burying her grief for her mum – is this the case?
Yes, I think so, to a certain extent. Tracy loved her mum more than anyone else in the world and without Deirdre’s constant, unwavering support, her life is going to be very different. I think Robert is the only other person who has ever truly loved Tracy for what she is, warts and all, so she’s throwing herself back into that relationship.
Do you see Deirdre’s death as a turning point for Tracy?
We will see. Some of what Peter says strikes a chord with her – she does love her daughter and she’s determined to make some changes.
So will it be a happy ever after for her and Robert?
Probably not if history is anything to go by!
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