(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog July 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)
Chris Gascoyne, who plays Peter Barlow in Coronation Street, has returned to the show to film Deirdre's funeral. In this interview he talks about his return as Peter to say goodbye to his on-screen step mum.
What made you return to the show?
Well Annie passed away, I wasn’t here at the time, obviously I was very close to Annie and I thought that for Annie and the show Peter would come back so that was the reason really. I was happy to come back, there was nothing to think about at all. It’s been amazing to see everybody, it’s made me realise how much I have missed people and it’s been a fantastic few days. Obviously Annie has gone, I was able to go to her funeral, and for a while here will be a poorer place without her but I feel I can put that to rest now and accept it. We’ve talked a lot about Annie - myself, Bill and Kate. We were in the Barlows for a long time yesterday filming 26 pages of dialogue but we just talked a lot about Annie. It was important for me, in a good way, to be able to understand and say goodbye.
Has it felt strange filming in the Barlows without Anne?
It was so strange because I was thinking about 15 years ago when I started in the show and how lovely Annie was to me, her and Bill and Maggie. It seems no time at all but then things have changed so much, it felt strange to be doing a scene about Deirdre’s funeral, it still feels strange to comprehend.
Was it difficult to plays the scenes surrounding Deirdre’s funeral or could you separate that?
There were times when I was switched on for Deirdre and there were times when I was switched on for Annie, and they didn’t seem to have separate places when I was in the Barlows, because I knew both Deirdre and Annie on that set. When you hear action it’s Deirdre and when they said cut it was Annie, so it was a strange few days, that I had hoped wouldn’t be here for many years.
Peter returns for Deirdre’s funeral, what sort of Peter do we see back in Weatherfield?
Well he seems pretty together, he’s not drinking and he’s been doing his best, he’s still in touch with Simon and Leanne. He comes back with all the best intentions but the trains are delayed, he misses the funeral which he’s upset and embarrassed about, then he has an argument with Tracy because she’s having a go at Ken and he doesn’t like that, then Ken’s defending Peter and Tracy’s jealous so straight away you walk back into some very familiar Barlow behaviour. It all centres round Deirdre which is the most important thing. It’s classic Barlows and it was really nice to do, they talk about all the good times and the bad times they’ve had round that table with Deirdre and Blanche, all the things that have happened, and it was really great to film. It was wonderful to see Bill and Kate and not just the actors, everybody here who’s been so kind and lovely to me, just to see everybody has been quite moving really.
What has Peter been up to while he’s been away?
Well he’s got a job with a chartered boat company and he’s about to go out for a stint in Antigua, so he has that bombshell to drop before he leaves.
How does that bombshell impact on Simon, who the viewer has seen growing increasingly temperamental recently?
Simon’s pleased to see his dad but he wants to come with him, we’ve had this quite a few times before and obviously he can’t because Peter feels that Simon staying with Leanne and him not being there is more beneficial to his upbringing. Peter doesn’t know anything about his behaviour to Leanne, there are little bits when he sees Simon being rude to Leanne, he’s been rude to her before but maybe these incidents are a little bit ruder in a more aggressive and grown up way.
How does Peter feel when Simon makes it clear that he wants to come with him, does it tug at his strings?
Oh yes it tugs at his heartstrings but he can’t come, Peter’s got a different life now and Simon needs to go to school, he can’t go to sea he needs to stay with Leanne. He’s better off with Leanne and that’s why Peter let him go, because he’s better off with Leanne, whether I or the the audience think that’s true or not I’m not sure but Peter does.
Does Peter run into Carla while he’s back?
There is one scene between them, where he sees Carla on the street, but you’ll have to wait and see what happens. I think there’s still something there for Peter, I can’t really answer for Carla, but from Peter’s point of view yes absolutely, she was his life for so long and he messed it up. It’s always going to be there for him and of course if he could have it back he would in a heartbeat.
Will we see Peter return again at some point down the line?
Yeah I hope so. I’ve been playing Peter for so long he’s become part of my life and I do miss him. You also miss people, I know it’s a cliche but it is a big family here, not just the actors but all the crew as well, I’ve missed them probably more than I thought I was going to.
What have you been working on away from Coronation Street?
I’ve been touring in a theatre production of Little Voice, we’ve just finished at Birmingham Rep and now we’re off to the West Yorkshire Playhouse, so I’m travelling over now to do a month there which is great. I’m loving being back in the theatre after 11 years and I’m enjoying it, we’ll see what happens next, maybe a bit of TV.
Interview with Kate Ford (Tracy Barlow) on saying goodbye to her on-screen mum
Interview with William Roache (Ken Barlow) on saying goodbye to his on-screen wife
Interview with Corrie scriptwriter Damon Rochefort on writing out a legend from the show
Deirdre to die on her 60th birthday, July 8 2015.
Peter Barlow and Bev Unwin are returning.
Coronation Street build their own graveyard to film Deirdre's funeral
Tracy's ex-husband Robert Preston returns.
The funeral has been written by scriptwriter Damon Rochefort
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