Nick Tilsley has been vying for Simon’s attention ever since the boy’s father Peter Barlow returned to the cobbles. But in upcoming episodes of Coronation Street, Simon will be injured as a result of being stuck in the middle of his two father figures – all of which leads to Nick making a drastic decision.
The animosity between Leanne’s current partner and her ex has been simmering (and occasionally boiling over) for a long time. Ben Price, the actor who plays Nick, explains why his character feels so threatened by Peter: “It’s Peter Barlow, isn’t it? It’s the history of the show. The great thing about Peter and Nick’s relationship is that it’s a feud that can go on forever.
“Peter doesn’t see what he’s got. He’s had so much and thrown it away whereas Nick wants so much but is always unlucky. Another part of the problem is that Nick always sees Peter as lucky. Peter comes out on top: he’s still with the family, still with the girl and is always landing on his feet. They just don’t like each other. They’re chalk and cheese.”
Their latest fracas starts when Peter begins his new job at Street Cars, only to find that Nick and Simon are his very first fare.
In the taxi, Nick can’t help but criticise Peter for being a hopeless father – and soon enough Peter loses his rag, ordering Nick to get out of the car. Livid, Nick violently throws open the door and disaster strikes. It’s a cliffhanger moment that will land Simon in hospital and leave both Nick and Peter feeling guilty abode the accident.
Viewers will see the doctor informs them it’s a dislocated finger and that Simon will need a local anaesthetic before the procedure to rectify it. But Nick is left feeling jealous and left out when Simon turns to his dad for comfort.
Adds Price: “Nick’s struggling to find his place with Simon. Nick is not his father but he provides for Simon and is stable for him. Peter is Simon’s father, but he’s not a great father. Both Nick and Peter are coming at it from different angles with Simon in the middle. But, in the end, Peter is the father and Nick has to realise that. Nothing you can do can ever replace that.”
However, Nick is further enraged when, later in the week, Liz calls round with a Moses basket for Leanne. She had bought it for Steve and Michelle but explains that she doesn’t want them to have to see it now. Leanne is touched by this kind gesture and lets Liz feel her bump when the baby kicks.
Nick, though, is none too pleased when he returns home to find the gift. He’s horrified when he learns that Liz knows Steve is the father of Leanne’s baby. Price says: “Nick was hoping that he and Leanne would have their child and Steve and Michelle would have theirs. Now the cracks are beginning to show.”
Later, Leanne berates Nick for being so insensitive towards Liz. But while they’re in the middle of a blazing row, Toyah walks in. Feeling the pressure, Leanne admits to her that Nick isn’t the baby’s father and it is, in fact, Steve McDonald. Toyah is flabbergasted.
Meanwhile, Nick apologises to Liz for his behaviour. She assures him that she doesn’t want to cause any trouble and wishes he and Leanne all the best.
Nick is unnerved when he spots Leanne and Steve having a chat outside the café. Having made a drastic decision, he heads over to the Bistro. Later on, Toyah discovers that he’s planning to move Simon up to Edinburgh, a decision that she reckons Leanne isn’t going to like it one bit.
Price says of his character’s rash decision: “Nick comes up with this plan to give Simon a better life. It is also to test Leanne a bit. It’s a selfish move.”
Toyah’s loyalties lie with Peter now and she tells him all about Nick’s plan to move up to Scotland. Riled up by what he’s just heard, Peter confronts Nick. For her part, Leanne can’t believe what she’s hearing and says she knew nothing about it.
Finally, in a killer blow, Peter tells Nick that he knows Steve is the father of Leanne’s baby and threatens to let the cat out of the bag if Nick tries anything else. “That is humiliation to Nick because it’s come from Peter”, says Price. “It’s Peter using it against him. I think that hurts.”
And would Nick feel shamed were the truth to come out? “He has been humiliated enough. The Platt family are very good at humiliation. They’re good at getting into and out of extraordinary situations, that’s part of their longevity. Nick’s worries run deeper. He has always loved Leanne. He worries he could lose her, he could lose the baby and he could be on his own again. It’s more to do with the fact that he could lose everything”.
And how does Price feel to have his old sparring partner Peter back, especially when it comes to filming showdowns like their recent Christmas Day stand-off? “We had an eight-hour fight scene and by the end of it we were tired. We’re getting old now! But we’ve been scrapping for a number of years and I missed him when he was away.”
“Chris Gascoyne is a fine actor and a good mate. Some of my best work has been with him. It’s about recognising that you both have to be pushing and pulling at different times to make it work, like a pendulum. That’s why he’s a pro.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.
And visit our dedicated Coronation Street page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.