Tensions are to run high at Deirdre’s funeral next week when the Barlow family comes to blows.
“It’s classic Barlows,” says actor William Roache, who plays patriarch Ken. “Nothing ever goes smoothly and the funeral is no exception. Ken has three things going on – his grief of losing Deirdre, the anger at Tracy and then his son Peter doesn’t turn up when he’s meant to be a pallbearer. So poor old Ken’s trying to think of his eulogy and he’s got all these mixed feelings.”
Ken is already angry at Tracy after learning that the reason why Deirdre stayed away so long was because she was ashamed of her daughter’s recent actions. But tempers are frayed further when Peter eventually arrives home late thanks to a delayed train. Pretty soon, accusations are flying with each member of the Barlow clan blaming someone else for the amount of misery heaped on Deirdre down the years.
“What’s great about the Street is that it draws on its own history, so we get to explore everything that’s gone on in the past,” continues Roache. “Ken really has a go at her about her behaviour. How she never cares or listens and ends up bringing her misfortunes on her own head. Deirdre spent a lot of time trying to excuse Tracy’s behaviour and that makes Ken angry, And when Peter arrives, we then get a real exploration into the relationships between Ken, Peter and Tracy.”
So will the Barlows be able to reach some understanding or will relations end up fracturing even further? “You’ll have to wait and see whether they can accept that nobody’s perfect. Ken hasn’t behaved well and neither have Tracy or Peter. So, at the end of it, hopefully they can come out more cleansed, as it were. Maybe clear the air a bit.”
Behind the scenes, though, Roache was overjoyed to have Chris Gascoyne – who plays Peter – back for an all-too-brief reappearance to mark the passing of both Deirdre and Anne Kirkbride.
“It was wonderful,” he says. “I love Chris dearly. He’s such a good actor and such a beautiful person. There were a lot of sad but heart-warming moments that have come out of those scenes and from having Chris back. I think, from Annie’s point of view, she’s had a wonderful send-off. Both as a person in the memorial service and from the story that plays out on screen. Everyone loves Annie. They really did. And the stories really show and respect that.”
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