Born in 1965, the Barlow twins began their lives in Weatherfield. At five years old, they lost their mother and Ken sent them to live with Val's parents Alfred and Edith Tatlock in Glasgow, with the intention that they would move back when he had got married again. Ultimately, Susan and Peter only paid fleeting visits to Weatherfield before they turned sixteen.
Susan left home to work in London in 1981 and by 1985 she was residing in Newcastle. Late that year, she returned to Weatherfield and was charmed by the much older Mike Baldwin, marrying him in 1986. The marriage broke down after just a year when Susan defied Mike by aborting their child in order to concentrate on her career. Mike called Susan a murderer and threw her out.
Unbeknown to Mike, Susan hadn't gone through with the termination and in 1988, now back in Glasgow, she gave birth to Adam. In 2001, Mike found out about Adam and pestered Susan for access to his son. Susan left Glasgow to go into hiding, but while driving through Preston Susan's car was forced off the road by the getaway car from a petrol station robbery carried out by Gareth Brannigan and Billy Mayhew. Adam sustained only minor injuries but Susan was killed instantly.
1965-1985: Early years
Susan and Peter had relatively uneventful childhoods for their first few years, although in 1965, they almost died in a house fire, because a piece of coal fell out of the fireplace and burst into flames. Ken was out at the Rovers getting cigarettes and Valerie was furious. When Valerie was tragically killed in 1971 after being electrocuted, Ken couldn't cope so sent Susan and Peter to live with their maternal grandparents in Scotland. Although Ken often considered taking the twins back, he always found a reason to keep his distance, so Susan and Peter essentially grew up without a father.
1986-1988: Marriage to Mike Baldwin
In spite of Ken not being there for her when Susan was a child, the adult Susan tried to build a bond with Ken. In 1981 Susan came to attend Ken's wedding to Deirdre Langton but her return didn't last long as she got a barmaid job in London thanks to Mike Baldwin. Ken accused Mike of using Susan to play mind games but Mike told him he was passing his guilt for abandoning his children onto him. By 1985, Susan had moved to Newcastle. Following an argument with her mother, Deirdre, Tracy Barlow ran away from home planning to see Susan. When Susan returned to Weatherfield with Tracy, she became interested in her father's business, the Weatherfield Recorder, and began helping him out. Susan liked Weatherfield and the Recorder and told Ken and Deirdre she wanted to stay. They suggested she go home and think about whether such a big change was something she really wanted. Before long she was back in Weatherfield, moving in with Ken, Deirdre, and Tracy. Going out with Mike created a rift between Ken and Susan. Ken was extremely unhappy when he learned Mike had asked Susan to marry him and insisted she wasn't to see him. At that point, Susan moved in with Mike. When she asked Ken to walk her down the aisle he refused to even attend the wedding. He relented, saying that if Susan would move back in with the family, he'd walk her down the aisle. Peter told him he should go, since he had never been there for the children. Ken ran to the wedding and gave Susan away.
In 1987 Susan fell pregnant. However, she didn't want to have the baby as she wasn't ready to give up her career prospects to become a mother. She went to have her pregnancy terminated while claiming she was visiting her friend Cheryl, but Mike saw right through her and knew she'd had an abortion. She later left Weatherfield once again. However, she never had an abortion and gave birth to son Adam on 3rd May 1988, but never told her family.
Many years later in 2001, Ken discovered Susan's secret after son Peter let it slip during an argument that Susan never aborted Mike's baby. Ken went to Glasgow to visit her, but she begged Ken not to tell anyone. Ken let it slip to Deirdre, however, who in turn told her employer Dev Alahan, who informed Mike. Mike was angry and demanded that he wanted to see Adam. Susan decided to up sticks once again, but when trying to escape with Adam, she ended up in a car crash and was killed. Adam, however, managed to survive the crash. Susan was buried next to her mother Valerie. During the funeral, Adam became emotionally exhausted and fled after punching Mike.
Susan made her first appearance in 1965 when she was born with her twin brother Peter to long-term characters Ken and Valerie Barlow. Susan was originally played by Katie Heanue from April 1965 until early 1970 with Heanue's twin brother Robert appearing as Peter during this time. The Heanue twins left their respective roles when they moved away from Greater Manchester. Despite having a stint of nearly five years, the twins were never credited in their roles.
Following Heanue's departure, the second actress to appear as Susan was Wendy Jane Walker, who was the first credited actor in the role. Walker made her first appearance in April 1970 and played the role until April 1971 when Susan and Peter were written out after their on-screen mother's death. Within the show's continuity, the twins were said to have moved to Scotland. Walker briefly reprised the role on a number of occasions, specifically in September 1971, October 1973 and March 1974.
Susan made a number of brief returns in December 1979, January and April 1980 and July 1981, the latter appearances as part of a storyline involving on-screen father Ken marrying Deirdre Langton. Susan was played by Suzy Paterson in these appearances. She returned as a regular character in October 1985 with Wendy Jane Walker taking back the role from Paterson. This stint involved Susan marrying Ken's rival Mike Baldwin. Walker left the role in November 1987 after a storyline where Susan aborted Mike's child.
Susan returned thirteen years later in early 2001 with the fourth and final actress Joanna Foster playing the role. Susan's final stint saw her introduce her secret son Adam, before her death in a car accident in February 2001.
Susan not aborting Adam (as revealed in 2001) is somewhat of a retcon in the series continuity. Susan did not "pretend" to abort Adam to escape Mike, she aborted her child as she wasn't yet prepared to have children. Also, it was implied during the storyline in 2001 that Ken had not visited Susan since 1987, when he had in fact visited her off-screen in that time.
Susan's death was revisited sixteen years later in late 2017, as part of a storyline involving Billy Mayhew. In the story, it was revealed that Billy was in a getaway car that forced Susan's car off the road when it sped away from an attempted robbery at a petrol station. The revelation of this broadcast in December that year when Billy (believing he was going to die after a stabbing) revealed the truth to Susan's twin brother Peter Barlow.
First and last lines
"Oh come on Adam, we haven't got time... I've told you!" (Final line)
List of addresses
|9 Coronation Street||April 1965 to 19th June 1968|
|14 Coronation Street (Maisonettes)||19th June 1968 to 27th January 1971|
|Glasgow||27th January 1971 to July 1981|
|London||July 1981 to unknown date|
|Newcastle||Until 25th November 1985|
|1 Coronation Street||25th November 1985 to 5th May 1986|
|46b, St. Mary's Place||5th May 1986 to 11th November 1987|
|Glasgow||November 1987 to 11th February 2001|