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Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Wednesday June 12, 2024
Wednesday June 12, 2024

Coronation Street’s Alex Bain reflects on Simon Barlow’s challenging journey

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Alex Bain discusses Simon Barlow’s impactful storylines, from domestic violence to county lines drug trade, ahead of his departure from Coronation Street

Alex Bain has reflected on one of Coronation Street’s most challenging storylines involving his character, Simon Barlow. As Simon prepares to join his father, Peter Barlow, on a yacht, Alex recalls the difficult journey that brought his character to this point.

In 2015, Coronation Street featured a significant storyline where young Simon began physically abusing his mother, Leanne Battersby. Reflecting on this plot, Alex stated, “The domestic violence storyline had the most impact on me. Working with Jane on this was incredible. I was proud to highlight an issue that many people don’t talk about. It’s more common than people think, and many viewers told me they experienced the same thing. It was a challenging storyline, but I am proud of what we accomplished. Simon had lost his way, and it manifested in a very sad but believable manner.”

Alex also mentioned a storyline that resonated personally with him. “The bullying storyline was significant for me. I could identify with Simon because I was bullied as a child for being a ballet dancer. Kids can be cruel and naive. Bringing my own experience into that storyline was powerful. I remember a scene in the Bistro where Simon was humiliated, and I truly felt his emotions because I had been there.”

Several years later, Simon and Leanne found themselves involved in the county lines drug trade, led by the villain Harvey Gaskell. This plot resulted in the tragic death of Natasha Blakeman. Alex noted, “The county lines drug storyline was crucial to tell. Simon was searching for a sense of belonging and ended up in a dangerous situation. It put people in real danger, and it was important to show how easily this could happen.”

Throughout his 16-year tenure on Coronation Street, Alex has learned from many acclaimed soap actors. “Chris Gascoyne, Jane Danson, and Bill Roache have all taught me so much. Working with adults from a young age made me grow up quickly and mature. The crew and directors also shaped my life significantly.”

As Alex prepares to leave the show, he has taken some mementos with him. “I have Simon’s fake leather jacket, which has ‘Simon’ written on the label inside. It makes me smile. I also took Simon’s belt, as it’s the only one that fits me without extra holes. These items, along with amazing memories, will always remind me of my time on the show.”

Alex reminisced about joining Coronation Street as a six-year-old in 2008. “I remember my first scene with Chris Gascoyne where he said, ‘Let’s go in and give them the shock of their lives.’ My first word on the show was ‘tired.’ At that age, I didn’t realize the enormity of joining such a long-running show. Over time, I appreciated the privilege of working with amazing actors. Anne Kirkbride was especially kind and helpful, telling me after a scene, ‘You will go far.’ That has always stayed with me.”

He also recalled how he landed the role. “A photographer suggested my parents contact an agent, who signed me up. I did some modelling and commercials and then auditioned for Coronation Street. The list of candidates kept narrowing until my agent called with the news that I got the part. It was a huge moment for my family, especially given our Northern working-class background. Suddenly, I was working alongside Ken Barlow!”

Simon Barlow’s final scenes will air next week on Coronation Street. The show airs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8 pm on ITV1 and streams on ITVX.

Analysis

The portrayal of Simon Barlow’s journey on Coronation Street offers rich material for analysis from several perspectives. Alex Bain’s reflection on Simon’s character development highlights crucial social issues that resonate with many viewers.

From a sociological perspective, Simon’s domestic violence storyline sheds light on a significant yet often overlooked issue. Domestic violence, especially involving young perpetrators, remains a taboo topic. By depicting Simon’s abusive behavior towards his mother, Coronation Street brought attention to the cycle of violence and its root causes. The storyline emphasized the importance of addressing underlying issues such as trauma and loss, which often manifest as aggression in youth.

Economically, the county lines drug trade storyline illustrates the vulnerabilities of young individuals in impoverished areas. Simon’s involvement in drug trafficking highlights the socioeconomic factors that drive youth towards crime. These narratives reveal the dire consequences of a lack of opportunities and support systems for vulnerable young people. The storyline underscores the need for economic interventions and community support to prevent such situations.

Politically, Simon’s experiences can be analyzed in the context of policy and legislation. The domestic violence and county lines storylines underscore the necessity for robust child protection laws and comprehensive support services. The portrayal of Simon’s struggles calls for policymakers to address the gaps in social services that leave young individuals like Simon without adequate support.

From a psychological perspective, Simon’s behavior reflects the complexities of childhood trauma. His abusive actions and involvement in criminal activities are coping mechanisms for his unresolved issues. This highlights the importance of mental health interventions and the need for early therapeutic support for children experiencing trauma.

The racial and gender implications of Simon’s storylines are also noteworthy. Although Simon’s character is not defined by race, his experiences reflect broader societal issues that affect children across different backgrounds. The gender aspect, particularly in the bullying storyline, touches on the stigmatization of boys engaging in activities perceived as feminine. Simon’s experiences as a bullied ballet dancer challenge traditional gender norms and highlight the importance of promoting gender inclusivity and acceptance.

Locally, the storylines resonate with many viewers who see reflections of their communities and personal experiences. Simon’s journey mirrors the struggles of numerous families dealing with domestic violence, bullying, and the lure of criminal activities. This local connection makes the storylines more impactful and relatable, fostering a sense of solidarity among viewers.

Overall, Alex Bain’s portrayal of Simon Barlow has significantly contributed to raising awareness about crucial social issues. His reflections on the storylines underscore the power of television to spark important conversations and drive social change.

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