A two-hander episode has been confirmed for Peter Barlow's exit story in Coronation Street.


The beloved pairing will be parting ways this festive season, as actor Chris Gascoyne bows out from his role as Peter Barlow, leaving wife Carla (Alison King) facing a very different life in Weatherfield.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press at a preview event, executive producer Iain MacLeod explained that the death of Stephen Reid (Todd Boyce) has pushed Peter into a downward spiral - and is the catalyst to his exit storyline.

MacLeod revealed: "What we wanted to do with Peter was try and play the reality of a man who's got demons, it's fair to say, and a history of alcoholism and depressive episodes.

"His reaction to what he did to Stephen, the battle within himself to get straight in his own mind whether what he did was justified, whether it was necessary, how much of it was actually informed by his anger over what Stephen had done to Carla.

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"Was there an element of revenge to that? Obviously, that puts him on the rack, emotionally speaking.

"We were very clear when we started this chapter of the story that we didn't want him to fall off the wagon again, so you won't see that. We thought it was important that he, as a transplant recipient, didn't drink again, because we were worried about the messaging around that.

"But that does not mean that he won't profoundly struggle psychologically with his demons. That will essentially start to impact on his level of happiness in Coronation Street."

This spiral for Peter will start to impact his marriage to Carla, and she will realise that not everything is okay with her husband, leading to some epic Christmas episodes - including a two-hander focusing on their marriage for Boxing Day.

"There's a few explosive, Peter Barlow-style outbursts that start to bring to Carla's attention the idea that he's really, really not okay," revealed MacLeod, "and they find themselves at this enormous fork in the road where they love each other, but perhaps their happiness is no longer reliant on each other.

"Which is to say, maybe they start to wonder if they'd be happier somewhere or in some other situation, somewhere else, basically, and it all builds up to this really, I think, incredibly surprising Christmas Day episode, and then there's a huge two-hander between the two of them [on Boxing Day], more or less they're the only two cast in the episode.

"[It's] a kind of greatest hits compilation for those of you that have been big fans of Peter and Carla since the start, that picks over every single detail of who they are, what they've been as a couple, what they want for their futures, what happiness looks like for them."

Alison King as Carla Connor sat beside Chris Gascoyne as Peter Barlow in Coronation Street.
Peter and Carla's love story has lasted a whole decade. ITV

Commenting on Peter's upcoming exit, MacLeod claimed it is "really brilliant and bittersweet and feels like Corrie at its very best".

He added: "We often think of Peter and Carla as a kind of Burton and Taylor of the cobbles, and we wanted to have this kind of grand scale, highly emotional, very nuanced, very realistic ending - which is, I think, what the writers achieved.

"It's filming right now, and I cannot wait to see the result if it's even half as good as the script, and experience tells me it will be better than the script because, you know, the actors and the directors normally elevate the material.

"If it's even half as good as the script, it's going to be a really stunning Christmas episode for us, because they're brilliantly loved characters, brilliant actors, and it's the culmination of a kind of decade-long love story. So I think the viewers are going to really love it."

Carla Barlow drinks drugged tea in Coronation Street
Carla Barlow. ITV

It seems that Peter's departure will be the start of a whole new chapter for Carla, who will have to figure out where happiness lies without her soulmate.

"It was basically born of a desire to not let Carla sort of tread water for too long," confirmed MacLeod.

"So, just at the point where this kind of world-ending decision is made on Boxing Day or in the Boxing Day's episode, she thinks, 'What on earth does the rest of my life look like? Well, I've decided happiness looks like this for me.'"

It seems that more trouble awaits Carla, however, thanks to the arrival of her half-brother Rob Donovan's son, Bobby, played by comedian Jack Carroll.

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