The tension mounts as, like my fellow blogger Ruth making her third attempt to get to Media City UK after two cancelled trains from Sheffield, we hurtle towards another big week for Corrie. We both travelled to Manchester for an exclusive preview of next week’s episodes and interviews with key cast members, including Kate Ford who plays the infamous Tracy Barlow.
With Carla and Nick’s wedding on the horizon, it doesn’t help that scheming Tracy has the potential to derail proceedings. Speaking of Tracy and Robert in a Q&A which we published yesterday, Kate revealed “something happens that puts their relationship in jeopardy”. Could this mean the end for the pair?
“Well I don’t think it’s looking good at the moment” explains Kate. Tracy’s not the only one hoping it’s not over for her and Robert, however, as both she and actor Tristan Gemmill, who was also there on the day, agree that they enjoy working together.
It sounds as if Tracy manages to upset more than Robert, as she reveals, “Amy falls out with Tracy as well and that is really painful for her. She hasn’t really thought through how behaving like that in front of her daughter is going to affect her.”
Kate had an insightful take on Tracy’s relationship with her only daughter. Acknowledging that there’s only one person at the centre of Tracy’s universe, that being Tracy, she adds, “but more recently, since Amy got older, she hasn’t bored her as much, so they’ve spent more time together and she’s more fond of her. She loves her and she’s been a better mother in that sense. When she was a baby she used to try and palm her off all the time on Aunty Emily and that. But she’s proud of her and she’s proud of how conniving she can be." Kate explains Tracy's shock when Amy appears to turn her back on her. "It really hurts her because actually, they’ve been very close, and she thinks she’s been a good Mum over the last few years, compared to what she was anyway”.
When I asked Kate if this was the long awaited turning point for Tracy, and if her character will finally be redeemed, she expressed an awareness that some fans wouldn’t have her any other way. “It’s really tricky” she told me, “because I don’t think anybody would ever want her to be nice, they like Tracy to be like that. But I think she’s going to show some more humanity.” That sounds good to me.
It was interesting to hear how it feels for Kate to play arguably the most despised woman on the cobbles. “She’s been hated for 14 years, and what’s good about it is that it’s paved the way for me to explore something else. Tracy is desperate to win people back around which is something that I’ve never really had with her. The last scripts I’ve been doing have been quite nice because her karma has come a little bit.”
When asked if she’ll miss Alison King, and if her departure has given her itchy feet, Kate had a similarly interesting answer. “We are really good friends, so I’m gonna miss seeing her every day” she acknowledged, continuing, “I can see why she wants a break from the character and I can see why she wants to spread her wings and do all that, but at the moment I’m happy to stay at Coronation Street because I’m still enjoying it, and it’s a good job. I can see why she’s doing it, it’s not unappealing, but I’m staying for now.” I'm glad that's the case, as I'm not ready for a Corrie without Tracy in it.
While Kate doesn’t manage to watch Corrie every day, she isn’t averse to seeing herself perform. “If there’s an episode I particularly enjoyed doing, or a scene that I felt proud of [I will]”, she explains. But, is viewing herself on screen ever a source of discomfort? “It depends on the lighting” she grins which leads to an eruption of laughter around the table.
Kate revealed that her little boy features in an upcoming episode of Corrie in which he’ll be walking past during a scene. “He came to watch me film and he asked whether he could be an extra” she revealed, adding, “he actually asked me yesterday, ‘when’s my episode on TV?’”
Kate was a joy to interview and strikes me as a thoughtful individual with a great sense of humour who would be very good company. Indeed, so different is she from her on screen persona, that it's truly a testament to the quality of her performance as the infamous Tracy Barlow.
By Emma Hynes
Read more about our exclusive press preview in Manchester here.
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