Coronation Street stalwart Ken Barlow will be put in an impossible situation when pregnant Sinead Tinker tells him about her cancer diagnosis – and swears him to secrecy. But will Ken do what he’s instructed and keep the news from his son Daniel?
“Ken wants Sinead to tell Daniel – he says to her that she can’t keep him out of this. But Sinead replies that it’s her baby, her body and her cancer. She begs Ken to keep quiet but it’s really difficult for him,” says actor William Roache. “Ken wants to do the honourable thing, but this is his son’s life as well.”
Ken’s dilemma comes in the wake of an upbeat Daniel telling him that he’s enrolling him on his Masters course with Sinead’s blessing. But little does Daniel realise that Sinead is, at that very moment, attending her appointment at the hospital, where she’s told that she has cervical cancer and should consider a termination. When Ken then finds Sinead in tears, she ends up telling him her bad news.
Adds Roache: “Ken’s loyalties are totally torn – all his instincts are saying to tell Daniel, but then he also wants to honour Sinead’s feelings. She’s got cervical cancer and has to choose whether to have the full treatment and terminate her pregnancy or just have a more gentle treatment where the baby could survive and so could she, but that’s a risk.
“It has to be her choice but Ken is in an impossible situation. Whatever he decides to do here will upset someone. It’s heartbreaking for Ken.”
Sinead goes on to explain that she wants to keep Daniel in the dark because she doesn’t want to put him in the position where he has to choose between her and the baby. But Roache believes that Ken keeping silent would irrevocably harm his own bond with his son: “If Ken keeps this from Daniel, it could completely shatter his relationship with him. It’s a terrible dilemma.”