Things are only going to get worse for Coronation Street’s Carla Barlow, says actress Alison King.
A killer husband, a murdered lover, rape, fire and siege… Coronation Street’s Carla Barlow has been there, done that and emerged with her lipstick intact. The gutsy businesswoman with the looks of a film star and the fight of a tiger is nothing if not a survivor.
“Victim” is not a word in Carla’s vocabulary. Yet that’s exactly what she is – if only she knew it. Carla is being cheated on by her husband, Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne), and barmaid Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan).
Plus, learning his wife is pregnant and that his mistress might have been, has driven recovering alcoholic Peter back to the bottle.
Imagine Carla’s reaction when she finds out he’s been drinking. Given that she’s already rather ambivalent about her pregnancy, and full of raging hormones, her response is almost enough to make you pity the bloke. And when Carla finds out about his betrayal with Tina, all bets are off.
It’s an explosive storyline that will end in tragedy… Tina is murdered next month and Peter leaves Weatherfield a few months later.
Alison, 41, a much gentler version of her alter ego, was delighted to chat about the latest developments in Carla’s life in an interview with the Daily Express.
What’s Carla’s reaction when she discovers Peter is drinking again?
“She is absolutely furious. She has made the decision to keep the baby and Peter has promised to be a good dad. She really didn’t expect to discover that he had been drinking – she thought they were past all that. She has taken her eye off the ball a bit, being so preoccupied about the pregnancy, so she is angry with herself, too. She knows Peter is an alcoholic and there is always a risk he will relapse, but now couldn’t be a worse time for them. They have a baby to think about and she can’t cope with him going off the rails.”
What does she think has caused it?
“He tells her it’s the pressure of wanting to be a good dad, which is a pretty cruel trick when you think about what has really tipped him over the edge. This is a worry to her because she fears that he won’t be able to cope and she does not want to be left as a single mum. Having finally come round to the idea of being a mum, she would want to have Peter at her side.”
She uses the baby as an ultimatum?
“She feels she has to shock him into realising the seriousness of his actions. I think it’s exactly what Carla would do – she never minces her words, she shoots straight from the hip. There is no other way for her. It’s how she manages her business and, she feels, the best way to manage Peter and her private life, too.”
Carla asks Tina to babysit Peter to make sure he doesn’t drink. How can Carla have no idea of what’s going on?
“She’s in love. She and Peter have been getting on brilliantly as far as she is concerned. Also, Tina is her friend, so that thought has never entered her head. She doesn’t think he’s having an affair and certainly not with Tina.”
Carla started an affair with Peter when he was married to Leanne… Is this payback?
“What goes around, comes around – and I’m sure when this all comes out, Leanne [Jane Danson] will have something to say about it. I think Carla will realise a leopard rarely changes its spots and Peter has a history of not exactly being a one-woman man.”
When everything comes out, how will Carla emerge from this love triangle?
“Carla has definitely survived much worse than this, but I think there’s worse to come. I’ve just been told by the producer that I’m busy for the next few months and we all know Tina is going to get murdered, so I know Carla will be in the thick of that.”
You won Best Actress category at the British Soap awards two years ago and are nominated again this year. How much do you like playing Carla?
“I love playing Carla and have been given some amazing storylines, so I’m really grateful for that. As an actor you want variety and I have certainly had that. This year will be another chapter for Carla with Michelle leaving and Chris taking some time out, so it will be interesting to see where she goes from here.”
Alison has been nominated for Best Actress at this year’s British Soap Awards. Vote here.