TV & Showbiz

Viewers in tears as long-serving Corrie character Peter Barlow leaves the show after 23 years

The end of an era — and spoilers ahead, of course.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 27th December 2023

Countless Brits tuning in to watch Coronation Street’s Boxing Day episode this festive season were left ‘in tears’ as they watched long-serving character Peter Barlow leave the show after the best part of two decades on the fictional Manc street.

For those not up to speed, Barlow, played by Chris Gascoyne, has had a rough few months in Weatherfield following the accidental death of Stephen Reid (Todd Boyce), struggling ever since and in desperate need of looking after — his wife Carla (Alison King) having taken on that job.

After spending an emotional Christmas Day together, Carla surprised him with a one-way ticket to Spain to join his friends on their trip around the world, a decision neither took lightly but agreed in the show’s closing moments was “the right thing to do”.

Saying goodbye to his friends and family for one last walk along the cobbles, Barlow’s final moments saw him embrace Carla before saying goodbye to his home and jumping on the tram to the airport to start the next chapter.

Peter Barlow cracks that wry smile that had been missing for so long as sets off on his journey.

There were homes all across the North and, indeed, the whole of the UK welling up as they sat down to watch Peter Barlow’s final moments, with many jumping on social media to pay tribute to the beloved Corrie character.


Even prior to his departure on Boxing Day, one person wrote “How is it [his] last episode tomorrow?” along with numerous crying emojis, while another added, “23 years of Peter Barlow and I have absolutely no words right now”; almost every post revolved around tears in some fashion.

A third shared the following: “Goodbye Peter Barlow, you are by far the best character I have ever loved. It has been the honour of a lifetime watching your story and I’m so f***ing proud of you. Life won’t be the same without you, I’m going to love & miss u forever. Until we meet again but for now, be happy.”


Safe to say the character, no matter how “perfectly flawed” as one viewer put it, meant a lot to so many people, so it was only right that Gascoyne gave them a special farewell himself.

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Speaking ahead of his final episode airing, the 55-year-old son of Ken and Valerie, not to mention brother of fellow fan favourite Tracy, admitted it was “emotional” reading that last script, adding that it was “not because I was leaving, but I genuinely, genuinely felt moved by it.”

He also explained how they didn’t rehearse the scene and never really do, stating that the raw feelings felt in the scene were captured in just one or two takes and that he believes “most people will have had exactly the same thing in their life, so they’ll identify with it.”


The Nottinghamshire-born actor also went on to give fans some hope of a return by stating, “Of course, I’ve not ruled [a return] out, it’s been such a part of my life. I’ve grown up with so many people there but I need a rest and to look to do something different, I’m not getting any younger.

Gascoyne is currently enjoying a turn in a pantomime in St Albans and has only ever been out of the show for a total of four years (2003-2007) since he joined the cast back in 2000. That being said, having arrived on Coronation Street with nothing but a bag and now leaving with one, fans believe the door is wide open for a return.

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Featured Images — ITV/Coronation Street (via X)