Monday, August 5, 2013

5:04 AM
SHE'S been at the centre of some of Coronation Street's biggest storylines and is one of soap's most infamous villainesses.

Kate-Ford-has-established-a-reputation-as-Corrie-s-bad-girl 
In fact, Weatherfield vixen Tracy Barlow's dark and devious side has known no limits in recent years - from falsely naming Roy Cropper (David Neilson) as the father of her daughter Amy, to bludgeoning lover Charlie Stubbs (Bill Ward) to death with a metal statue.
And it seems she's not ready to turn over a new leaf any time soon.
Recently, Tracy (played by Kate Ford) has been up to her usual tricks once more, and this time she's had a partner in crime in the form of her ex-con boyfriend Rob Donovan (Mark Baylis).
The pair, who recently began dating, have resorted to extreme measures in their ongoing rivalry with Rob's sister, Underworld factory boss Carla Connor (Alison King), and her husband-to-be, Tracy's stepbrother Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne).
In May, Tracy, who works as a delivery driver for Carla's Underworld factory, helped Rob stage a robbery on her van, which saw the couple walk away with a £20,000 stash of silk.
And in recent weeks, the war on the cobbles has gone up another gear, with Rob cashing in on bookmaker Peter's crazy odds and winning a lucky accumulator bet of £35,000 - an amount Peter couldn't possibly pay.
Enjoying their new position of power, Tracy suggested that, rather then pushing Peter into bankruptcy, they played clever.
They demanded the betting shop for six months rent free, or threatened to sue, which had Carla and Peter over a barrel.
"There's a huge rivalry between the lifestyle Peter and Carla have and the lifestyle Rob and Tracy can afford," says actress Kate, who plays the devious brunette.
"So for Tracy, this is one step closer to her dream life."
But as they prepare to open their new cash converter shop, Barlow's Buys, this week, it's far from plain sailing for the couple.
"Tracy makes it clear to Rob that she won't be seen as his employee," says Kate.
"She's gone to great lengths to put money into the business and wants him to see her as an equal.
"So, when Peter tells her that Rob will never see her that way, that he only cares about himself, it definitely hits a nerve."
He's trying to drive a wedge between them and it works.
When she goes on to suggest they move in together to prove their feelings, Rob is non-committal - which tips Tracy over the edge.
"She starts to wonder if he is only using her and it doesn't take long before she gets angry. But she's desperate for the relationship to work, even if it means forcing his hand," says Kate.
"She knows one of the reasons Rob's reluctant to move in with her is because he fears he won't be a good stepdad to Amy. Tat's not really the life he wants right now.
"So she persuades Amy's father, Steve, to have her four nights a week and Deirdre the other three. She's very good at twisting people round her fnger."
Her dramas with Rob follow a succession of romantic disasters for Tracy.
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Her last relationship was with Ryan Connor (Sol Heras), who she pursued purely to annoy Ryan's mum Michelle Connor (Kym Lomas), her ex Steve's (Simon Gregson) girlfriend.
But, in true Tracy style, she went a step too far when she falsely revealed she was pregnant with Ryan's child. When he then faced up to his duties and proposed to her, she revealed the truth and promptly dumped him for Rob.
So can viewers expect this latest partnership to go the distance?
"I think Tracy thinks she loves Rob," muses Kate.
"He's got everything she wants in a man - he's ambitious and driven, he shares her ruthless streak and life with him is exciting. He's a bit dangerous and he's easy on the eye.
"Whether they truly love each other rather than the lifestyle, only time will tell, but it would be nice to see her happy."
Fortunately for Kate, her life is much more settled than her alter ego's.
The 36 year old married her TV producer husband Jon Connerty in October 2007 and gave birth to their son, Otis, five, the following summer.
After the birth, Kate took two-and-a-half years of from the ITV soap, which she admitted was a real luxury.
That said, she's quick to deny rumours that she's quiting Corrie. In fact, she says there's plenty more emotional dramas and underhand dealings to look forward to from her character.
"The power struggle between Tracy, Rob, Carla and Peter continues and there are problems with Barlow's Buys, too, which doesn't prove very popular," she reveals.
"But when the ethics of their business is called into question, Tracy comes out fghting. She is determined that no one is going to ruin this for her and she will take on anyone who challenges her."
Residents of Coronation Street beware - with Tracy's track record, we don't doubt that for a second.

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