(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog October 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much drama is Peter going to bring to the cobbles this time?
Well, very quickly...10! Sorry, but yes, at one point the drama couldn’t be more serious. It all kicks off very quickly and it looks like Peter is hiding a few secrets.
Has Peter changed since we last saw him, or is he still the same old Peter?
He’s older, he’s sober and his life is in a different place.
What brings him back to Weatherfield?
He’s telling everybody that he’s been sacked from crewing the ships because he’s had a fall out with this guy and that is possibly true but it’s not the real reason.
How does his return go down with the rest of the Barlows, Simon and Leanne?
Not very well with all three of them. He has spoken to Simon while he’s been away, Simon’s been down to stay with him, he’s not been totally absent from Simon’s life but he was supposed to come back for a football presentation and he didn’t. So everyone is saying to him you didn’t come back when you promised yet you show up now, what are you after? Peter is sorry about missing the presentation, he knows he let Simon down, so he has to accept that Simon and Leanne are upset with him. Tracy’s not happy either because he’s asking for money straight away so she wants know what’s going on. Ken is still upset with him for not being there for Simon, so he doesn’t get off to a very good start.
This is obviously a big week for the Barlows. Is Peter to blame, and what can he do to put things right?
Peter wants to put things right and he’s really trying, he knows that he’s going to walk back into this minefield and he’s taking it all on the chin. He knows he’s all these things that they’re telling him he is but slowly he’s making inroads, he knows he’s messed up but he wants a chance to come back and be accepted again.
How does it feel being back on the Street?
It’s great to be back, to see all the people, Corrie’s been part of my life for more than 16 years and it really is an extended family.
What swayed your decision to return?
It was always a break, I always intended to return. Playing Peter is very full on and I needed to go and do other things so I could come back with a new energy. I met with our new producer Kate Oates who had great ideas for the character and it felt like the time was right.
When the news was announced what reaction did you receive from the fans?
It’s been amazing, people seem really thrilled that Peter’s coming back to the street; saying it’s great news, asking when he’s back and saying how excited they are which has just blown me away.
Are you excited about the news that Adam Barlow and Daniel Osbourne are returning?
Yeah, it will be nice to see the Barlow household full again. After the loss of Annie (Kirkbride) it’s felt very sparse. It’s always nice to work within a family and there’s lots of different personalities there. Peter knows who Adam is to a certain extent, although he seems to have changed a lot, but he doesn’t know anything about Daniel who just seems to turn up out of the blue.
It’s a very damaged family, however hard they try and function normally they’re always only one step away from an explosion. They’re trying to avoid the inevitable in that house constantly and that’s why it’s great. There’s going to be a lot of personality drama based on what they all want but also what they all share in common, which is Ken, and he’s damaged all these children in different ways. Ken pushes and pushes Peter then he snaps and lashes out that he wasn’t there for him when he was younger, Peter becomes a little boy again around Ken and he hates himself for that but Ken pushes him and I imagine he’ll push the others at some point too.
What does he make of Leanne being back with Nick, and seemingly having Nick’s baby?
He’s actually really pleased for her, ultimately Peter wants Leanne to be happy, just because he couldn’t provide that it doesn’t mean he wants her to be unhappy. But then it’s almost funny that it’s Nick, him really? Peter loves to wind Nick up, he lives for it, he can’t wait to get his hands on him and start with his sly little comments, put him down a bit, laugh at him and then walk away, it’s a sport to him.
Is there any spark left between Peter and Leanne?
There’ll always be a spark there, because of Simon and what they’ve been through there is a deep rooted love there for each other but they can’t keep each other happy. He’s not in love with Leanne but he genuinely does love her, she’s brought Simon up for him when he couldn’t and that’s something he’ll always be grateful for and love her for.
Would you like to see Peter finally try and be a good dad to Simon?
Oh yeah, that’s all Peter has ever really wanted, but the audience love to hate him and his failings as a dad. He does deeply love Simon.
What has been your favourite storyline to film since playing Peter?
The writers always come up with such fantastic facets to Peter’s personality and I’m lucky that they write so well for me. I think my favourite time on the show was when Jane and I were working on the start of the alcoholism storyline, I couldn’t wait to get the next script. He desperately loved Leanne but he couldn’t stop drinking, he wanted to be there for Simon but he set the flat on fire, then Carla came along and he couldn’t resist it was all just really exciting seat of the pants kind of stuff.
Peter has screwed up a lot of things in his life – what do you think has been his biggest mistake to date?
Not being there for Simon, that’s it. Yes the alcohol played a part but the greatest guilt he feels is that he hasn’t been there and time’s running away with him. He’s wants to grab it and he wants to make everything right but a lot of damage has been done.
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