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Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Alex Bain interview: Simon finds himself in serious trouble


Simon Barlow has become a pillar of support for his family in recent months. Supporting Leanne as she struggles to cope after Oliver's death, and Peter's relapse, has left Simon feeling isolated. Actor Alex Bain spoke to us about how Simon lands himself in serious trouble as the pressure on him builds. 

At such a young age, it's not been easy for Simon to support the Barlow clan, and it's taking its toll on him. "Simon has had a lot to cope with," said Alex. "Obviously, he knows how serious and upsetting everything is, so I think he understands that people need time to grieve, they need time to mourn, but I do also think that he feels very alone and isolated- almost like nobody is there for him."

In amongst his loneliness, Simon thinks he has found a good friend in the form of Jacob. "I think [Simon] just sees him as somebody who cares, someone who'll listen to his problems," said Alex. "He listens to Simon and I think on top of that, Jacob will see Simon's vulnerability."

As viewers have seen already, Simon went to make his first delivery for Jacob, putting on the facade that he has extensive experience in this field. "He's a bit of a wild child, but he's never done anything as serious and as dangerous as this, and I think he wants to try and show a bravado of: 'I know what I'm doing', and the drop goes wrong," said Alex. When Simon dropped off the drugs, the buyer fled without paying, running over Simon's loaned bike in the process. "I think he's worried, very worried after that point." 

As much as Simon may regret getting involved with Jacob, he also uses this as a way of feeling less alone. "He uses this, and he feels like he has friends," Alex told us. "He's always been on the wrong end of everything, really. He's never really had people who are friends who are close to him as much as I think he wants, so I think the gang fill that void. Part of him knows how dangerous it is, part of him just wants to have that closeness with friends he doesn't have."

Simon keeps his dealings with Jacob private to everyone else as he also tries his best to support Leanne. After she finds a feather and believes it to be a sign from Oliver, Simon hides his concerns. Alex said: "I think he's confused about it initially because he has never seen anything like this, he doesn't understand why she's attributing this to Oliver. When she starts talking about the psychics and everything, I think he feels: 'Woah, this could go too far, but I also have to go with what my mum wants as well- I have to respect her wishes'." 

Simon has had to deal with a lot in his life, but now he is trying to balance multiple spinning plates as his family all try to deal with their own struggles. "It's a lot of pressure for Simon because he's going this way, he's doing this for Leanne, or he's doing that for Peter. He's trying to be there for the rest of his family, because it's not just those two, he's trying to be there for everybody at the same time and I think he's being pulled in various different directions all at once," Alex said. 

"He's trying his best to keep it all together, he just wants to keep his family safe and secure... but at the same time, he is only young, and he is, unfortunately, he isn't perfect himself so it's too much for him, really. When it gets too much he tends to lash out, or he tends to do something ridiculous, or he tends to not realise what he's getting himself into."

Alex has been playing the role of Simon since 2008, and was eager for his new storyline. He said: "It's always great when you get told you're going to do a storyline. I've had storylines based on me before, but I think this now is my first one where I've just gone: 'Oh, this is truly all about me, this is all about my character's struggles'. When I was first told about this story, I was excited, I was all for it. I was ready because I've been wanting to step myself up as an actor and I think the story came at a perfect and beautiful time, really."

With a long history on Corrie, Alex praised his co-stars both professionally and personally. "Everyone who works at Corrie's brilliant, but especially Jane (Leanne) and Chris (Peter), Bill (Ken), and Ali (Carla). They're all wonderful. I was never professionally, fully trained in acting until my later years... they've really taught me everything I know from being very young. They've always gone: 'That was brilliant', or they've told me where I need to change up things or do anything different. They've also been wonderful people. I've always been able to go and talk to them, tell them if I'm worrying about anything. They're wonderful people, they truly, truly are."

There are sure to be many more storylines for Simon to come, and Alex explained to us that he would like to explore Simon's mental health in the future. "I've always wanted to see what would happen to him mentally, because he's been through a lot and not many people go through that much in their life and come out perfect on the other side, and I've always wanted to show more the vulnerability side mentally of what he goes through. A big story on mental health would probably be a big dream as Simon."

Simon is known for his hot-headed trait, but Alex told us that he is quite different from his alter-ego. "I'm quite a laid-back person, I think, because I've always been taught to just keep it with the flow, keep humble. I've never really been a hot-headed person. I'm a passionate person, I'm a protective person, I like to look out for people. I've always been a person people can come to if they're having a problem- just come and talk to me, we'll talk it out because the one thing I learnt over the years is never keep something held in. I've always gone: 'If talking helps, then talk'. I think me and Simon, we have similarities, but we also have complete and utter differences."

Simon will find himself in a downward spiral after getting too involved with Jacob, and Alex teased what viewers can expect from this story. He said: "[Simon]'s going to get too deep into things he doesn't even know exist. I think there's going to be that vulnerability because he's been in similar situations before with gangs, but it's never been this serious. The stuff before was so much lower in severity than it will be with this story." 

Will Simon be able to get himself out of this mess, or will things get much worse for the Barlow lad? 

Sophie Williams

I'm on Twitter @soph_writer






All original work on Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree with Alex, if anyone should have a mental heath storyline it should be his character. There's PLENTY to explore in that storyline.

C in Canada said...

Simon has dealt with so much for someone so young, it would be a gigantic missed opportunity if they didn't explore Simon's mental health.

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