As a child, Kate Ford had dual, warring ambitions of becoming a champion show jumper, or possibly an actor.
With a budding career in local theatre and TV advertisements, she eventually chose acting, enrolling in the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Ford, who grew up in Salford and the Lake District, graduated in 2000.
Like many other British actors, she had her start with bit parts in television series such as medical soap Doctors (2001).
A year later, she also appeared in the Eastenders: Ricky and Bianca (2002) spin-off episode. This led directly to an audition for Tracy Barlow – a part she won, becoming the fourth actress to play the trouble-making Weatherfield resident.
After half a decade of exploits – and awards including Best Bitch at the British Soap Awards in 2004 and 2005 – Ford bid farewell to the cobbled stones of Coronation Street in 2007, the same year she won Best Actress at those same awards.
After leaving the soap, she acted in detective drama Blue Murder (2007), but soon left the profession to have a son with her now ex-husband, TV director/producer James Connerty.
It was the death of her on-screen grandmother, Maggie Jones, that spurred Ford’s return to Corrie in Christmas 2010.
Despite finding success as an actor, the 40 year-old actress has not forgotten her early love of horses, or her childhood by a Cumbrian farm – to this day, she remains a long-time supporter of PETA and animal welfare issues.
Tracy Barlow has grown up in front of viewers’ eyes since her on-screen birth in 1977.
At the age of 19, she married carpet fitter Robert Preston and moved to London. But the marriage fell apart a few years later, in2002, when she had an affair.
Returning to Weatherfield, she drugged Roy Cropper and claimed he was the father of her child. She tried to sell the baby to him and his wife, but eventually decided to raise the child (Amy, born 2004) herself.
A decade later, she became pregnant again, but miscarried.
In 2006, she was sentenced to life in prison for murdering her boyfriend Charlie – but was released eventually, just in time for Christmas 2010.
After she returned to Coronation Street, she had a brief marriage to Steve McDonald, and most recently caused a fire that killed Kal Nazir.