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Saturday 10 December 2016

The abandoned Barlow Brothers

(Reposted from State of the Street with permission)

Peter Barlow lost his mother to an electrical appliance when he was only a small boy. That's going to affect any child but then his father gave up trying to look after twin children and gave them over to their grandparents who raised them in Scotland. If you watched Corrie through the 70s and early 80s, you will know that Ken rarely visited them and rarely had them back home to visit him. They were mentioned from time to time and I'm sure he sent them birthday cards and Christmas gifts even if it wasn't shown on screen.

Daniel Osbourne's father, Ken Barlow, barely had a look in when he was growing up and his mother went walkabout 6 years ago, with no further sight nor sound. These two men certainly have a lot in common and I think they've kind of bonded over that.

Peter, especially in his Chris Gascoyne incarnation, has shown all the signs of having abandonment issues which have manifested themselves in a fondness for the drink. He's also got his father's "any woman any time" gene and finds it difficult to make a long standing commitment.  He regularly berates his father for dumping him and blames a lot of his failings on his father's non-participation in his life yet has always craved approval from his one remaining parent and yet resented the hell out of him at the same time.

Daniel is very secretive born from having to pretend his mother was not gone while he was too young, really, to be living on his own. Should the authorities have found out, he'd have been taken into care. He obviously had no contact or relationship with his mother's sister (she whose husband Denise had an affair with back in the day) and no other family it seems. He's been on his own for a long time. We don't know if he's got abandonment issues as such but he's bound to when you think of it. We just haven't seen how they've manifested themselves yet.

Children take on so much and learn what they see.  Neither of them ever had a father figure that was ever present in their lives. Peter certainly didn't grow up learning how to be a good father and so has never found it easy being one himself, often at a loss when things get difficult. He grew up seeing or knowing that his father flitted from woman to woman and he mirrored that behaviour. We don't know why his first marriage broke up though he has been known to blame his absences due to being in the navy but I think there's a pretty good chance he had a welcoming bed in every port.

Peter's been a lifelong screw up, or at least as long as he's been an adult from what we know and what we've seen. Just maybe, though, he's starting to take responsibility and grow up. A bit. His father's sudden illness seems to have affected him deeply. It seems like Daniel's reaction has been to  take refuge in books and in his schoolwork and keep his head down.

Daniel was an unplanned child but Ken in his middle age was anxious to do things right this time around. He and Denise were not love's young dream nor were they soul mates in any form. In fact, in the cold harsh reality of the aftermath of the affair, Denise realized she was most definitely unsuited to life with Ken and a baby so she left the baby with Ken initially and walked. Ken tried, he really did but he was a single middle aged man who had no clue how to deal with an infant. He hired a nanny and that helped but he never had the chance to see if he could make a go of this parenting thing. Denise returned and took baby Daniel away, to Scotland because her sister's husband happened to be from that country.

Ken tried to make an effort  at first but gave it up as a lost cause and thus, Daniel really had no memory of him.  Yet another of Ken's children was lost and cut loose from a paternal influence. We next saw Daniel when he was a boy of about 10. Ken and Deirdre were having difficulties and Ken began to think he'd like to make an effort with his son. His son resented Ken's efforts as too little too late and Ken soon gave up again. We would hear Daniel's name on occasion over the intervening years, usually when Tracy or Peter wanted to call Ken's parenting into question.

But Ken apparently had a contact number for Denise in his address book. After he had the stroke, Peter went through the book to contact family and left a message with Denise, or so the dialogue went. Daniel got the message eventually and came to see his father. Before you think this was a plot hole, it's very possible that telephone number was the landline in the flat where Daniel was living. Since he didn't want people to know he was living alone under aged, he would have left the answering machine message on there that his mother recorded.

And where was his mother? Daniel says they weren't getting along, typical teenage stuff and she became more and more agitated and decided to leave. He thought she was coming back but she never did nor did she ever get in contact. It does seem strange. On comment I've seen suggested she could have been bipolar and could have ended up on the streets. That would be an interesting way to take this. Her abandonment had to have been devastating to him.

He's been keeping secrets so long that it's no wonder he's reluctant to open up now. Peter has taken him in hand and has been very supportive. He's a big brother and he's also old enough to be a father figure, really, and Peter seems to really like his little brother. It really seems like there's a weight finally lifting off Daniel's shoulders, relieved to have told the truth and to have someone that he might actually be able to depend on (he doesn't know Peter well yet!) for once in his life.  He was almost in tears when Peter assured him he would be there, as if Peter was a lifeline to a young man near the end of his rope that sorely needed one.

This chemistry between the two brothers who seem to have bonded quickly, able to relate to what the other has been through over their lives is evident. We've long admired Chris Gascoyne's acting abilities and the young man playing Daniel, Rob Mallard, is really showing his acting chops, too.

It will be interesting to see where they take this.

Tvor, twitter: @tvordlj

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Sara said...

The two actors are great, some really good scenes between them, nothing too dramatic yet fantastic all the same.

Anonymous said...

I think Gascoyne is the best actor on the whole Street.

Maricha said...

I like seeing these two actors but their characters' resentment rings hallow when you realize that Tracy has had him around for most of her life yet Deirdre and Blanche were still her most supportive relatives. Even a new acquaintance like Mary seems to know her better. Ken just isn't good at parenting whether he's there or he isn't, you'd think Peter especially would notice that by now.

Tvor said...

You'd think he would, wouldn't you but Peter would never know that. all he knows is that his father didn't want him around after his mother died. That kind of thing stays with you.

Rapunzel said...

Like many men of past generations, Ken is a better grandfather than father. If Simon and Amy steer clear of the rails that their respective Barlow parents veered off, it will in large measure be due to Ken's steady influence.

Laura said...

I really like the relationship developing between them too. Maybe Peter sees this as a chance to "get it right" - to be a good influence on someone, in the role of older brother. It could give him some much-needed confidence.

It's true that children tend to mirror what they watched/learned from the adults in their lives. But there are many who use the poor examples of their parents as an inspiration to be nothing like them. My grandfather (son of a violent alcoholic but the most gentle man I ever knew) is just one example. I'm sure we can all think of others in our lives.

Given that Peter has adopted the parenting style that damaged him so much, I'd like to see Daniel go the other way, determined not to let his family down the way he himself has been neglected. Hopeful evidence includes the fact that he came to see Ken and tries his best to help despite Ken's lack of involvement in his own life.

If that's the direction they take Daniel's character, the conversations and relationship between Peter and Daniel will become very interesting - he would be a great influence on Peter, and Simon too. He could become the lynchpin of the Barlow clan - Tracy and Adam may find him irritating, but come to respect and rely on his dependability. They need someone like that in that family.

It would also be interesting to see Daniel start working in the cafe to make some money (maybe to cover while Anna's off or if and when Cathy leaves) and strike up a friendship with Roy - philosophical conversations between the two of them could be very interesting.

Maricha said...

Did Peter have an unhappy childhood with his grandparents? I think most people aren't as hurt by abandonment if they were surrounded by love from other parental figures but you'd think Peter had Oliver Twist's childhood and I can't remember him ever duscussing his grandparents. If they were mean it would explain Peter's behavior more than just being deserted by Ken.

Maricha said...

While Ken is a better grandfather than he was a father, I think if Simon makes it it's really 99% because of Leanne.

Newfy Pearl said...

I love the bonding of Peter and Daniel. The whole Barlow clan are a treat to watch. But I think that one day if the writers want to get rid of Daniel they can make it so that he has killed to watch for.

Anonymous said...

I like Laura's suggestion that Daniel work in the café with Roy - that would present some golden opportunities for interaction between the 2. What I don't understand is how did Daniel support himself if Denise had left him hardly any money? And why does only Adam have a Scottish accent if none of the others who were also sent to Scotland don't? Surely his years spent in Canada would have tampered the accent just a tad.

coconno196 said...

I also wonder what Daniel lived on for 6 years, as it sounds as though Denise didn't leave him much money because she was only going away for a couple of weeks.

Re the Scottish accents, Peter should really have one because he lived there from being a small boy to an adult. I seem to remember a previous actor and the actress who played young Susan did sound Scottish. With Daniel we've been told that he moved back to Manchester when quite small (height markings on the wall in the flat) so he probably lost the accent.

Anonymous said...

Adam is the weakest link now - terrible actor

Rapunzel said...

Give him a chance! His acting is fine, he just hasn't had much to do yet. For now, I'm enjoying his swagger and seeing how his character has evolved since last we saw him.


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