Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Coronation Street Blog Interview: Kate Oates

The Barlow family is about to get bigger to the tune of one grandson and a son in the forms of Adam Barlow and Daniel Osbourne. I travelled to Manchester to hear all about what’s to come, and am delighted to bring you a trio of interviews with Rob Mallard, Sam Robertson and producer Kate Oates.

While Kate accompanied Rob and Sam for their interviews, as she gave some great insights into the building of this male Barlow dynasty, I thought I would dedicate a separate blog to her comments on the day.

Kate confirms that it is Ken’s stroke that brings back the boys. “Adam is coming from Canada, and Daniel has been living elsewhere with his Mum, with Denise” she explains, “And they are coming back ostensibly to see Ken but there may be other reasons they’re back as well.”

Kate revealed the interesting thought processes behind the decision to go this route with the Barlow clan. “The kind of interesting thing that I found when we were talking about bringing the boys in was that sense that Adam is Mike’s son, and Daniel is Ken’s son, and the old tradition of Corrie was Ken versus Mike, and here we have sort of new fresh versions of both those personalities” she explains. “So that’s what we wanted to bring into the show really, and that they are very very different. And Ken sort of holds the family together, sometimes not ever so well as we saw in that scene between him and Peter where Peter said, ‘you know, you walk away a lot’.” She continues, “Daniel’s certainly hardly seen his father and [Adam has] hardly seen [his] grandfather so it’s not the strong family that Ken might like to think it is. But I love that idea of mini-Mike, but fresh, modern, with his own kind of swagger, and a mini-Ken with his own kind of baggage and his view of life as well. I just think that’s a really nice dynamic to bring to the street.”

So what are we likely to see the boys get up to the cobbles?

“In true Ken fashion, Daniel is a student, he’s an academic, so he’s still at university,” she reveals, “and Adam has trained as a solicitor over in Canada, so he’s got a little bit of legal knowledge. He’s also got a lot of ambition, not unlike his father, so he’ll be bringing a bit of that to the street.”

Asked who we are likely to see the pair involved with, Kate explains,

“Well it’s interesting, because obviously Adam has more history so he has pre-existing relationships with quite a few people in the street. He’s got some grudges against the Connors because he sold his section of the business to the Connor family for not a lot of money, they sort of swindled him a little bit really. So even though Liam Connor is no longer on the street he certainly has that sort of grudging relationship with them. They’re building family relationships really” she notes. “Daniel has yet to get to know Peter and Tracy and even his father really, you know, he’s never had these relationships before, so he’s building all of those from scratch. Adam has more to go on there, certainly with Peter, but it’s nice to see those Barlow bonds growing. Daniel is a bit more shy I think. and we will be growing some nice relationships for him as time goes on, but I might keep those a secret.”

Asked if these are temporary or more permanent returns for the characters, Kate jokes, “They’re never allowed to leave, I’m keeping them forever. They’re never allowed to go anywhere. I repeat” adding, “no, I’m super excited. The reason that I wanted these guys back, and this may trip me up come next contract negotiations, is because I wanted to strengthen that family dynasty. I think that the show needed that and I’ve said before in interviews that when you’re working on the country’s longest running show and this is the longest running family, you strengthen it. There’s no bringing in the secret son that no one knew existed, or the secret sibling that no one knew existed, these people already exist and have been seen in one way shape or form and have all that great history already and it’s just there for the taking. So it’s just a case of bringing it to the show and deciding what they’ve done over the last few years and months and making sure that their back stories and their biogs were nice and rich and that they turned up with a secret or two.”

Asked if we are talking a major dysfunctional Barlow clan, she laughs, “Oh God yeah!”

Kate continues, “It is a little bit like Ken Lear. Well, that was very much what we were thinking, because Ken is at an age now where he is sort of thinking about his mortality and the fact that he’s had a stroke will compound that massively, and he loves his children and his grandchildren but he hasn’t necessarily done right by them all the time.” She notes, “He’s not necessarily been brilliant or exemplary, they’ve certainly got baggage of their own. But I think ultimately they all still have desires to be there and be part of that family and look for a root and a home. So there’s lots of nice conflicting layers, things that people can really relate to on a very day to day level. But also we’ll be adding a nice splash of drama in there too which will hopefully elevate it from the everyday.”

I was interested to know how they would interact with Tracy, and Kate told me “She thinks that Daniel’s really weird and really nerdy and really bookish and like a mini-Ken which she doesn’t think is necessarily a good thing and I think she thinks Adam’s a bit more glitzy, and a bit more fun and a bit more worth hanging out with. So yes, they know each other from old as well, so there is a bit of an existing relationship there.”

Remarking on the expanding households of Corrie, Kate assures us they won’t all be in number one for long. “We’ve sorted out the geography, we’re fine, we’re good” she smiles. “No, there is sometimes a little bit of artistic license with how many people we shoehorn into various properties. They’re going to be roommates on their own really, which is quite a nice dynamic I think. They’re going to be the odd couple.

So, what can we expect to happen in the Barlow household coming up to Christmas?

“There’s a lot of them sorting out the dynamics of their relationships” she reveals. “Peter has come back with a bit of a secret, we’ve seen that he’s come back with a bit of an injury, we’ve seen he’s got no money and we saw that he went to go and meet somebody in the middle of the night and possibly wasn’t completely honest about who, so there are little clues there.” She continues, “His bond with Leanne is still pretty strong and he’s still very fond of her. She’s obviously in a very different place now. She’s pregnant and she’s with Nick, so maybe she’s in a very different headspace to him. But there’s going to be a story for him which these guys will be involved with. It’s about people trying to work out their relationships with Ken and him maybe not handling that ever so well. And as we pass through sort of up to Christmas and into the beginning of next year, we’ll see cracks forming in the family which could prove quite dangerous, so these are the building blocks of stories into winter.”

With regard to Adam, Kate reveals that he may wish to settle some old scores, and something may prevent him from returning to Canada leaving him having to earn a living in Weatherfield.

It’s great to hear the new producer eager to build upon the history of, and focus on, such a legendary Corrie family, and I look forward to seeing it all unfold.

Read my interviews with Rob Mallard and Sam Robertson

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes
Facebook: @EmmaHynesWrites
Instagram: emmalouhynes

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Aussie Pete said...

Great interview! I'd hope they may do a storyline with Adam, Simon and Amy, all being Ken's grandchildren. Simon and Amy maybe somewhat idolising Adam and either following him everywhere or trying to act/dress/be like him. Could provide a good even comedic storyline.

Maricha said...

Thanks Emma. I really enjoyed this post. I look forward to seeing more of the Barlows.

Abercrombie said...

Duh! Adam hardly knows his grandfather? Continuity fail, again...what about all those months that Ken spent in Canada with his grandson, Adam?(Script invention for Bill Roache's long absence, but now needs to be integrated). I would have thought that would have given ample opportunity 'to get to know grandad', especially as Adam was sick. What a load of tosh that publicity machine spews out. It would have served Kate Oates better to know the background and then Corrie's loyal viewers could start to hold faith in the future. Otherwise the random changes to fit proposed storylines is ridiculous and insulting to the intelligence of viewers.Even if it is a soap. Imagine, if in the past, Ena Sharples had transposed into a man-eating tigress and Elsie Tanner had donned a hairnet, sexless clothes and started to go to chapel. Hey, that might have been fun!

Emma Hynes said...

She doesn't say hardly knows Abercrombie, it's "hardly seen", which is true. Adam left in 2007 and has only seen Ken for a year out of the past 9. To me, Kate has a very good sense of the history of the family and, as above, spoke of Adam having more to go on in terms of pre-existing relationships.

Emma Hynes said...

Thanks Maricha! Me too.

Abercrombie said...

Thanks, Emma, my mistake. Valid point.

Emma Hynes said...

Thanks Aussie Pete, glad you enjoyed it!

Jane said...

Sorry to all those that like the Barlows, but I'm not looking forward to this. After months of having the Platts on screen virtually every episode, we'll now have the Barlows. What with them and Maria/Caz, Robert/Michelle I really can't see that much improvement.

Anonymous said...

I would have thought that the producer should have been better prepared for the background of Adam Barlow. Yes, you are right that perhaps he didn't see much of his grandfather growing up, but I think that Ken spending nearly 1 year with him while he was sick should have at least been mentioned by Kate Oates. It would have made the interview much more believable and better prepared.

Dolly Tubb said...

Fab series of interviews, Emma, lucky you getting such a great opportunity! I'm really liking the sound of the back-again Barlows, it's lovely to see a link with the past and a real direction for the characters to go in. I may even have to start watching Corrie again, I've not watched in ages after being bored witless by the Callum-Platt bore fest.

Flaming Nora said...

Brilliant interviews, Emma. Thankyou so much for all of them.

Flaming Nora said...

Brilliant interviews, Emma. Thankyou so much for all of them.

Tom said...

At last some characters that have had some university/ professional experience. ( I know Alya went to uni but she hasn't gone anywhere career wise).

abbyk said...

Great interviews, Emma. My 2¢ on Daniel is anyone who rattles Tracy is okay. If he's a nerdy student, maybe he can be the friend Craig desperately needs.

Joseph said...

I like what I'm reading. Kate Oates has the right idea, the Barlows have needed refreshing since Blanche and Deirdre both sadly died. I'm especially liking the idea of Daniel's character - I was thinking the other day how much Corrie could do with a nerdy character so excited for that.

I don't mind Corrie doing shades of the Ken/Mike feud as long as it's not an out-and-out rehash. I would however love to see Ken struggle connecting to Adam because he (Adam) is becoming more like his father.

Emma Hynes said...

Thank you so much, Dolly Tubb! Glad you enjoyed them. I'm looking forward to it myself.

Emma Hynes said...

Thank you Glenda! My pleasure, as always.

Emma Hynes said...

I agree, Tom. A definite positive development.

Emma Hynes said...

Thank you abbyk! Glad you enjoyed them. I agree re: Tracy, and good thinking re: Craig.

Cobblestone said...

I absolutely get the idea of Daniel as a mini-Ken, but in view of the nerdiness, is anyone else getting a young Curley Watts vibe as well? In which case, might a future pairing with Bethany be on the cards?

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