Simon John Barlow (né Richards) is the son of Peter and Lucy Barlow, born in 2003. After learning her husband had committed bigamy, Lucy took Simon to live in Australia, but some time after their return to the United Kingdom, Lucy died of breast cancer, leaving five-year-old Simon in the care of his father Peter.
Peter immediately struggled with fatherhood and turned to alcohol, which had an effect on Simon, even nearly leading to his death. When Simon's maternal grandfather George tried to take custody as a result of Peter's drinking, Simon ran away back to Peter. Simon found stability in the form of Peter's girlfriend and later wife, Leanne Battersby, and began viewing her as his mother. When Leanne and Peter's marriage fell apart in 2012, Leanne was awarded primary custody.
Simon faced further struggles in his early life. He became the victim of bullying at the hands of Grace Piper and Faye Windass and his father was briefly sent to prison for being wrongly convicted of the murder of Tina McIntyre. In 2015, Simon became disturbed and began physically abusing Leanne, forcing her to report him to the police. His behaviour improved following counselling but in 2018 he fell in with a bad crowd and turned nasty again, assisting Tyler Jefferies in mugging Audrey Roberts and later burgling the Corner Shop flat. He later showed remorse and gave evidence against Tyler in court.
Lucy Richards became pregnant with Simon during a secret affair with Peter Barlow. Peter was also engaged to Shelley Unwin but persuaded Lucy to marry him in secret after convincing her that his relationship with Shelley was over. A few days after the wedding, Lucy discovered Peter had lied about breaking up with Shelley and kicked him out. Lucy gave birth to Simon in July 2003, reluctantly allowing Peter to be present during the birth. Lucy didn't want Peter in Simon's life but eventually gave him access when she struggled with being a single parent.
When Lucy discovered that Peter had bigamously married Shelley, she planned revenge. After she and Shelley publicly humiliated Peter by announcing in the Rovers Return Inn that he was a bigamist with a secret son, she offered to move to Spain with him and Simon as a family. In November, the day before they were due to leave, Lucy once again humiliated Peter in the Rovers by revealing that she was going alone with Simon and that he would never see them again.
Peter chased Lucy to the airport and learned they were actually going to Australia as Lucy had family there. Although he tried to stop Lucy from taking Simon, she threatened to have Peter sent to prison for bigamy. Peter was forced to let them leave.
2008-2011: Troubles with Peter
At an unknown point, Lucy and Simon returned to the United Kingdom, though Peter was not informed.
In 2008, Lucy was dying of breast cancer. She contacted Peter who was living in Portsmouth, asking him to take Simon. Peter reluctantly agreed and Lucy died that October. In the same month, Peter took Simon and returned to Weatherfield to get support from his dad Ken Barlow, Ken's wife Deirdre Barlow and Deirdre's mother Blanche Hunt. Peter made it clear he had no interest in raising his son and asked social services to take him, but changed his mind when he learned that Lucy would leave him her estate on the condition that he raised Simon.
Peter bought the local bookmaker's shop and moved into the upstairs flat at 9a Rosamund Street, with Simon attending Bessie Street School. During the school nativity play, Peter turned up drunk and caused a scene, upsetting Simon. Ken and Deirdre refused to let Peter near Simon as it was clear he was developing a drinking problem. At Christmas time, Peter was allowed to have Simon back at their home when Peter insisted that he should stop drinking alcohol for Simon's sake. In early 2009, Peter drunkenly set fire to his flat trapping him and Simon inside before being rescued by Luke Strong and Tony Gordon. Peter was distraught that his drinking had nearly killed his son.
Peter started a relationship with Leanne Battersby shortly after his return to Weatherfield who Simon saw as a mother figure. Although she moved to Leeds after Peter cheated on her, she eventually returned and resumed her relationship with Peter in September 2009, much to Simon's delight.
In late 2009, Simon was tracked down by his maternal grandfather, George Wilson, who had been estranged from Lucy for a number of years. George, who was wealthy and married to a woman called Eve, conflicted with Ken, who felt unable to compete with George's large gifts. In early 2010, as Peter's drinking problem grew further out of control, George took Simon to live with him, refusing to return him to Peter. George and Eve were given temporary custody, but when Simon heard about them taking him away from Peter, he ran away. Simon remained missing overnight, but was able to work his way back to Weatherfield. George dropped his custody appeal and lost contact with Simon.
In December 2010, Simon was trapped in 13 Coronation Street after a fire, which was an after-effect of a tram crashing off the viaduct and into the Corner Shop. Jason Grimshaw rescued him after going inside and finding him hiding in a closet. During the same crash, Peter was critically injured and married Leanne in hospital while he was facing death. Peter eventually recovered.
2012-2014: Torn between two parents
Peter and Leanne's marriage broke down in early 2012 and their feuding had an effect on Simon, causing him to drink a bottle of wine and land himself in hospital. Peter let Simon move in with Leanne and her new boyfriend (and later husband) Nick Tilsley, at 8 Victoria Court, as it was clear he preferred it there. Simon became close to Nick which bothered Peter and prompted him to try and flee the country with Simon and his girlfriend Carla Connor. Simon instead chose to stay with Leanne.
In November 2013, Simon found himself bullied by Grace Piper and Faye Windass. After being paid by Tracy Barlow to walk Eccles and look after Simon and his cousin Amy Barlow, the pair caused chaos at No.1 upon their return, going through Tracy's clothes and smashing a vase. A frightened Amy ran upstairs but Grace pinned Simon down and with the help of Faye, they forced him into one of Amy's dresses and covered his face in make-up. Not being humiliatng enough, the pair videoed the incident. Simon managed to escape and fled to Nick's Bistro for Leanne's help. The video eventually got around Weatherfield High, and made its way to Bessie Street School as some pupils acquired it from older relations at the school.
Following a car accident, Nick suffered brain damage. His condition had an effect on Simon as it meant that he was prone to losing his temper and struggled to look after him properly. Simon was forced to move back in with Peter, but when Leanne and Nick's marriage broke down in early 2014, Leanne and her half-sister Eva Price rented 18a Victoria Street and moved in with Simon.
In July 2014, Peter was arrested on suspicion of murdering Tina McIntyre, leaving Simon distraught, especially as he had become close to Tina before her death. Amy also started bullying him when she became jealous of the attention he was getting. In September 2014, Simon started attending Weatherfield High. The following month, Peter was found guilty of murder. Simon requested that he wanted his name changed back to Richards, however Peter was eventually cleared when Rob Donovan was revealed as the real culprit. Simon felt guilty for believing his father was a killer and was even upset when Peter took the decision to leave Weatherfield for Portsmouth once more. Simon had a heart-to-heart with his father, and even stepmother Carla promised that she would run him down to Portsmouth to see Peter any time.
2015-2019: Behavioural problems
Simon was living with Leanne and her boyfriend Kal Nazir, when Kal died in a fire during June 2015. Shortly after these events, Simon began to show anger problems, with Leanne being the victim of his abuse. Incidents included throwing a remote control at her head and knocking her out by shoving her against a table. Simon was also defiant during this time and on one occasion he bunked off school with friends to have a party at his flat. Leanne kept quiet about Simon's aggression and temporarily sent him to stay with his dad. Eventually, she opened up to Eva and after an incident where Simon hit Amy during an argument, Leanne admitted to family and friends what had been going on. Simon was sent to counselling.
In February 2016, Simon broke another boy's leg in a football match. Leanne decided she had no choice but to report his abuse to the police out of fear of what he could do next. Simon refused to speak to her, as it later transpired that the boy's injury was an accident. Soon afterwards, they made up.
Simon's behaviour improved following his counselling sessions, and over the next several months, his family built up around him. Peter returned to the street in October and at Christmas, Leanne's stepsister Toyah also returned, who was in a relationship with Peter. In February 2017, Leanne gave birth to her son Oliver, who Simon became a big brother figure to.
In April 2018, Peter and Toyah ostensibly had a baby named Susie via a surrogate, but it later emerged to Simon and Peter's disgust that Toyah had passed off Eva's unwanted baby as the surrogate's. Further chaos entered Simon's life at this time when he befriended Tyler Jefferies, a teenage gang member who had a detrimental influence on his behaviour. Although they bonded over their difficult family lives, Simon became involved in muggings and vandalism among other crimes.
Simon and Tyler were arrested when they attempted to rob from pensioner Flora McArdle. With genuine remorse, Simon admitted that he had been influenced by Tyler to commit the crime. His confession resulted in various threats from Tyler, who was ultimately sent down after Simon testified against him in court.
In January 2019, Simon once again became a victim of Tyler after learning that he had impregnated Amy shortly after his release. Tyler threatened him to keep quiet that he was the father, although Amy ultimately had an abortion, after which Simon became free from Tyler's abuse.
Simon was created as part of a bigamy storyline involving Peter Barlow and his secret wife Lucy, with his birth taking place on screen in July 2003. In Simon's appearances during this year, he was played by twins Jake and Oscar Hartley, although in two episodes in September he was instead played by Daniel Whelan. The character was written out in November 2003, along with Lucy. Chris Gascoyne, who played his father, also left the programme shortly afterwards. When Gascoyne returned to the series in October 2008, Simon was reintroduced, now played by Alex Bain. Within the show's narrative, Lucy had died of cancer off screen and left Simon in the care of Peter, who had returned to Weatherfield to receive support from his family.
Alex Bain was six years old when he was cast as Simon. Before landing the role, he had previously appeared in the television drama Sunshine and a Rice Krispies advert. Bain's role as Simon has been widely praised , and led to him being nominated for Best Young Actor at the British Soap Awards five times, including in 2011 where he was the winner.
Bain was not professionally trained in acting until he achieved a BTEC in Musical Theatre in 2020, revealing that he learned most of his skills from his co-stars including Gascoyne and Jane Danson. (TV Times 20-26 February 2021)
First and last lines
"Tired" (First line)
(To be completed)
List of addresses
|1 Coronation Street||21st June 2018 to 13th March 2020|
|12 Victoria Court||13th March 2020 to 7th December 2020|
|Rovers Return Inn||7th December 2020 to 8th January 2021|
|12 Victoria Court||8th January 2021 to present|