MIKE BALDWIN (193 VOTES)
Played by: Johnny Briggs
2012 character poll position (men): 5
The cheeky Cockney who bought the old warehouse on Coronation Street in 1976 and turned it into a denim factory that employed many over the years. Mike was introduced as an attempt to close the North/South divide between viewers. He quickly became a hit.
He became a Casanova to rival Ken Barlow. Over 30 years he had 18 girlfriends and four wives. His conquests included Bet Lynch, Deirdre Barlow, Maggie Dunlop, Gloria Todd and Penny King. His four wives were Susan Barlow (1986), Jackie Ingram (1991), Alma Sedgewick (1992) and Linda Sykes (2000). It is debatable who his true love was: was it Alma or Deirdre?
Fond of whiskey, he fathered three sons: Danny (who he thought was his nephew), Mark and Adam. Mike didn’t have a lot of luck with his offspring. He only got to spend a few years with both Danny and Adam; and Mark had an affair with Linda.
Apart from romantic life, Mike’s main storylines involved the boom and bust nature of his business. He sold Baldwin’s Casuals in 1989 and established Underworld in 1996. His capitalism clashed with many, mainly Ken Barlow and Don Brennan. Ken detested Mike’s outlook on life and how he treated women. But their rivalry deepened when Mike embarked on an affair with Deirdre and later married Susan. They would later clash over both Alma Sedgewick and Maggie Redman and over Adam’s custody.
Mike and Don’s rivalry on the other hand was more sinister. Don was a gambler and during a card game he managed to almost bankrupt Don. The rivalry reached its head when Mike sold the street’s failing garage to Don which led him into further debts. Don plotted revenge by setting Mike’s factory on fire; trying to kill Alma; and trying to kill Mike. His last attempt drove him literally to his death. Both Mike’s rivalries are remembered for how both Ken and Don would coldly call him ‘Baldwin’.
In 2005, Mike began to behave strangely and he was later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It was heart-breaking to see a once powerful man now so helpless and lost. He died on the cobbles in the arms of arch-rival Ken.
Were you a fan of Michael Vernon Baldwin?
Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.
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