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 afterthe 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.
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.
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.
BBC to air ‘important and timely’ new Sarah Everard documentary three years on from her death
An “important and timely” new documentary about Sarah Everard is to air on the BBC three years following her death.
The tragic murder of the 33-year-old by serving Metropolitan Police officer, Wayne Couzens – who abducted her as she walked home on the evening of 3 March 2021 to the Brixton Hill area from a friend’s house near Clapham Common in London – was, undoubtedly, a watershed moment for the nation.
Her death brought to the forefront the devastating issues within the UK’s police forces, and highlighted the extent of violence against women and girls in our society.
And now, coming up to three years on from the historic event, and with the issue of violence against women and girls having been recently declared a national priority, alongside terrorism and organised crime, the BBC has announced that it will air a new documentary on the case, showcasing how the devastating crime unfolded, and the impact it’s gone on the have.
The hour-long factual programme – which is titled Sarah Everard: The Search For Justice, and will air on both BBC One and iPlayer – will primarily look at the Met Police’s investigation into Sarah’s murder.
The story will be told by those closely-involved in the case from the outset, many of whom will be speaking on camera for the first time, including the Senior Investigating Officer, the Prosecuting Barrister, and Sarah’s local MP.
In the aftermath of the event, the Met was placed into special measures, and a major review of the force found a culture of denial, widespread bullying, discrimination, institutional homophobia, misogyny, and racism – with several other UK police forces also having been forced to confront the culture and behaviour in their own ranks too.
An Independent Inquiry launched by the Home Office is underway too to examine the “unimaginable failures in policing”, and to find out how a tragedy like Sarah’s murder could even happen in the first place.
Hundreds of police officers also continue to face sexual assault allegations in the three years following Sarah’s death, which only proves just how “important and timely” this BBC documentary will be.
The documentary’s production team has been in close contact with Sarah’s parents for the making of this film, and say they hope it will bring “increased focus” to issues of women’s safety, as well as abuse of power by police and others in positions of authority.
The “important and timely” programme will air three years after her death / Credit: Tim Dennell (via Flickr)
Speaking ahead of the documentary airing, Emma Loach, who is the Lead Commissioning Editor for Documentaries at the BBC, commented: “The murder of Sarah Everard sent shock waves across the country and ignited an urgent conversation about police failings and violence against women and girls.
“This is an important and timely film, and we, like Sarah’s family, hope it will contribute to the ongoing dialogue around the issues raised.”
Sarah Everard: The Search For Justice will air on BBC One and iPlayer this year, with the official release dates set to be announced in due course.
Featured Image – Metropolitan Police
TV & Showbiz
Michael J Fox brings viewers to tears with surprise appearance and standing ovation at the BAFTAs
Retired actor turned activist Michael J Fox made a surprise appearance at the BAFTAs on Sunday night, bringing everyone in the audience to their feet and many of those watching on TV to tears as he arrived on stage to present an award.
The 62-year-old Canadian-American is best known for his iconic role as Marty McFly in the Back to the Future films and as a child actor before that on the US sitcom, Family Ties, but since retiring as a result of Parkinson’s disease he has gone on to become a huge campaigner for the condition.
Being introduced by fellow performer and the host of 2024 BAFTAs David Tennant as not only a star of the 1980s but having raised over £2 billion for the neurodegenerative disorder through his charitable foundation in his name, he appeared on stage to rapturous cheers before rising from his wheelchair.
Receiving a standing ovation as he made his way to the podium to present the award for Best Film, which went to Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, the surprise moved countless viewers tuning in back home to tears as he delivered a short but touching speech before handing out the familiar bronze trophy.
He also delighted fans when he was pictured walking the red carpet with his wife before the presentation.
Michael J Fox was sadly diagnosed with Parkinson‘s back in 1991 when he was just 29 years old and became one of the first big names in the public eye to begin trying to raise money for the condition, not only revealing it to the world but setting up his self-titled non-profit organisation in the same year.
As it is a progressive disorder that can even cause added complications to shorten a person’s lifespan, the severity of his tremors and loss of motor control has naturally worsened over time, which ultimately caused him to retire from acting in 2021.
However, before then and many years into his diagnosis, he still made brilliant appearances in the likes of medical comedy Scrubs, starred in his own self-titled show and has made several special returning cameos alongside the legendary Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown and Marty from Back to the Future.
He even enjoyed one of the most wonderful roles in Curb Your Enthusiasm where he tried to make light of his condition to hilarious effect. Simply brilliant.
Most recently, Fox released his own documentary film on Apple TV entitled, STILL, which looks back at his career, what it’s like to live with Parkinson’s disease and the vital work he has done through his charitable foundation to improve treatment and help find a cure.
It was nominated for numerous different awards of its own and won the Outstanding Picture, Director and Editing Awards at the Emmys in 2023. So well deserved — you should seriously watch it.
As for his speech before handing out this year’s BAFTA for Best Film himself, he said: “No matter who you are or where you’re from, films can bring us together. There’s a reason why they say movies are magic because they can change your day. It can change your outlook. Sometimes it can even change your life.”
The moment has been watched millions of times online already, leaving “not a dry eye in the house” and social media labelling him everything from an “inspiration” and “every bit the hero I remember him to be“, to being simply dubbed an “absolute legend”. We couldn’t agree anymore.
Michael J Fox made a very moving, surprise appearance at the Baftas…
..presenting the Best Film Award.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the 1990’s.