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Friday 18 February 2011

Peter Barlow - Coronation Street's smoking volcano

Peter Barlow - he's butch, he's brooding, he's swarthy- and contrary to expectations he's got some self-control as well. For now...
I despise violence as a rule but I think I'd struggle if I found myself with an iron bar in my hand and weaselly rat-fink Nick Tilsley at my mercy.
But not Peter. No. He satisfied himself with scaring seven shades of you know what out of him. And me as well - I was petrified watching him hobbling through that dripping hell-hole of a Joinery. Somehow the crutches added to the general atmosphere of menace - a touch of the Long John Silvers maybe.
How long can this self-restraint last? Will Nick scarper to Milan or will Peter nobble him first? Just how evil is Peter going to get - or will his feelings of responsibility for Simon prevent him from going totally over the top? I don't know - I've not read the spoilers. But I wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of Peter, that's for sure.
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indeg said...

I absolutely loved how easy it was for Peter to petrify Nick. Peter's still on crutches and still not steady on his feet, while Nick is 15 years younger and totally able-bodied, yet all Peter had to do was hobble into the room and Nick was terrified. Great stuff - not the strongest writing ever, but still in character: Peter can be wonderfully menacing (and sexy as hell with it) while Nick has always been a wuss. Plus Nick knows he is in the wrong, knows that Peter has righteous wrath on his side.

I don't actually think Peter ever had any intention of hurting Nick - despite what he said (which was designed to freak Nick out), he does have too much to lose. The confrontation was more about regaining the upper hand, reclaiming the power Nick has stolen from him - and the satisfaction of being able to reduce the gutless wonder to a quivering heap on the floor. And I also think he was testing himself, proving that he can control his own urges despite what even his nearest and dearest may think. Nicely played, Mr Barlow.

Jane said...

Hear!Hear!I couldn't have said it better (including the sexy bit!) and all we need is for Peter & Leanne to get back together for the final nail!

Tvor said...

I thought it was rivetting!! Peter's a lot tougher than Nick who is most definitely a non-fighter. Peter did manage to kneecap Nick, though, so i imagine Nick did think he was going to finish the job, probably Peter's plan. Since he didn't kill him, only because Nick did save his life, i was waiting for the words "we're even" but i thought the warning worked just as well, probably better :) Go Team Peter!

Anonymous said...

I didn't think it was riveting at all. All the violence was predictable including the end "warning" for dramatic effect. It wasn't so much a victory for Peter as it was another example of the scrawny, mealy-mouthed Nick Tilsley trying to squirm his way into or out of something. This shameful display would have been excused were he still a young navyman on shore leave at some gin joint, but hardly when he's now a middle-aged man with a business/community reputation to protect, a son who may/will find out his shameful conduct... didn't enjoy it at all -- it was excrutiating actually. I think it should have ended with Peter realizing how precious life is... as he listens to the tram in the Joinery and how close he's come to death -- that life is precious... ALL life -- that is. And that's the ultimate lesson that he should be telling Simon.

maggie muggins said...

Anonymous - you make a good case for non-violence. I wonder if soaps are ready for such a theme, one that is on the minds of many in a world full of the opposite. But big themes aside, you also make a good case for a more mature Peter, which isn't evident here.

I guess his only defense, which he mentioned, is that his harming or even killing Nick could be perceived as a crime of passion. Are we becoming desensitized to violence on TV? I'm no Mary Whitehouse, but Corrie is pre-watershed. I know it's just a soap, but you've made me think twice about this scene, riveting though it was.

Anonymous said...

The writers missed a real oppportunity to reform/develop Peter's character after such a close brush with death. Gary Windass need not be the only one supposedly going through a transformation given his bout with combat first-hand in a strange land. Too often we see some kind of an unexplained personality makeover in Corrie characters and yet here's a golden opportunity to work for the long-term on a rich character full of history, flaws and the writers blow it in favor of the obvious, cheap thrill. If I wanted that, I'd tune into Eastenders or American TV.

Good/better writing based on character is worth working a little harder for and the viewing so much more enjoyable. There are a couple of examples even in US TV of excellent writing which remains unsurpassed to this day:

Barney Miller, and MASH -- the first is set in a police presinct in New York -- supposedly in the violent 70s with its high crime rate and race riots. But in the episodes of BM, you barely see a gun out of its holster and yet, the drama is riveting and the comedy so human as well as humane. The same goes for MASH the TV series set in the combat zone of the Korean War during the 50s... the series allowed you to see just about all the main characters change and develop as a result of the war and of the relationships with each other.


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