Tracy Lynette McDonald (née Langton, previously Barlow and Preston) has been a resident of Coronation Street since birth (with a few exceptions), biological daughter of Deirdre and Ray Langton and adoptive daughter of Ken Barlow. She is currently the manager of Preston's Petals and mother to Amy.
Tracy was a sensitive child who grew into a moody, sullen teenager, a casualty of two broken marriages. The only father she knew was Deirdre's second husband Ken, as she was just one year old when Ray left for Holland. After Deirdre divorced Ken for having an affair with Wendy Crozier, Tracy blamed her mother for breaking up the family and grew estranged from her. Their relationship hit a low ebb in 1995 when Deirdre's third husband Samir Rachid was beaten and killed while on his way to donate a kidney to Tracy, who had taken bad Ecstasy and fallen seriously ill. Tracy left Weatherfield following the operation and married Robert Preston in 1996.
After six years living in London, Tracy, soon to become a divorcee, returned to her old home. The older Tracy was a man-eater who used people and hurt them to satisfy her whims. Her daughter Patience (later renamed Amy) resulted from a one-night-stand with Steve McDonald. Tracy temporarily claimed that Roy Cropper was the father in order to extort money from Roy and Hayley, embarking on a short marriage to Roy to maintain the lie. After the birth, Tracy tended to use Amy as a pawn in her schemes, leaving the parenting to her family. In 2007, as revenge for her boyfriend Charlie Stubbs' philandering she killed him in cold blood and tried to get away with it by claiming that it was self-defence. Her plot backfired and she was found guilty of murder and handed a life sentence.
Tracy's prison sentence lasted just three years as her conviction was quashed following a re-trial when the forensics expert from her trial was discredited. Few were happy to see her back, least of all Steve, the love of Tracy's life. After gaining custody of Amy and splitting up Steve and his wife Becky, Tracy married Steve only for him to finish with her on their wedding day for covering up her miscarriage with a lie that Becky had pushed her down the stairs. Her next love was Rob Donovan, with whom she ran Barlow's Buys in Rosamund Street. Rob jilted Tracy at the altar after his murder of Tina McIntyre was exposed and ultimately Tracy herself turned him over to the police. Relationships since then have included Luke Britton, and Robert and Steve again.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 1977-1989: Childhood
- 1.2 1989-1995: Tearaway teen
- 1.3 1996-2003: London, Preston and back
- 1.4 2003-2004: Pregnancy
- 1.5 2004-2005: War with Karen and Steve
- 1.6 2005-2007: The murder of Charlie Stubbs
- 1.7 2007-2010: Life in prison
- 1.8 2010-2012: Early release
- 1.9 2013-2014: Going into business
- 1.10 2015-2016: Victoria Court fire and Deirdre's death
- 1.11 2017-: Moving on and changing
- 2 Personality
- 3 Relationships
- 4 Background information
- 5 First and last lines
- 6 Appendices
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
Ray and Deirdre Langton had been married for two years when Deirdre gave birth to their first and only child at Weatherfield General on 24th January 1977, weighing 8lb and 4oz. Ray registered the birth so he could name their daughter Tracy and use Deirdre's choice, Lynette, as a middle name.
With a baby to care for, the Langtons moved from 20 Victoria Street, Weatherfield, which they shared with Tracy's grandmother Blanche Hunt, to 5 Coronation Street. Tracy was then christened on 4th May at St Mary's Church by Rev. Smedley with godparents Ken Barlow, Emily Bishop and Betty Turpin. Ray was a partner in building firm Fairclough and Langton, where Deirdre had worked as a secretary. A year after Tracy's birth, Ray had an affair with Janice Stubbs, a waitress at Dawson's Cafe. He and Deirdre planned to move to Holland for a fresh start, but Deirdre chose to stay in Weatherfield with Tracy and Ray moved to Holland alone. Ray didn't say goodbye to Tracy but sent occasional letters and Christmas presents.
Deirdre and Tracy were taken in by Emily Bishop at No.3. Now a single parent, Deirdre became exhausted and in March 1979 sometimes let her friend Sally Norton, who had been on the same maternity ward as her, look after Tracy. On one fateful day, Deirdre left Tracy in her pushchair outside the Rovers Return while she spoke to Annie Walker inside. Moments later, a lorry overturned and its timber load spilled out into the street directly outside the pub, crushing everything in its path. Deirdre believed Tracy was dead and contemplated suicide. However, it transpired that Sally had taken Tracy just before the lorry hit. When Len Fairclough brought Tracy to Deirdre to stop her from throwing herself into the canal, it brought her back to her senses.
Tracy started at playgroup in the Autumn of 1979, and in 1980, Deirdre and Tracy moved into the Corner Shop flat with Deirdre starting work behind the shop counter. This was also a short stay as mother and daughter moved yet again in July 1981, when Deirdre married Ken Barlow. A more stable period followed as Tracy had a permanent home and father figure, and Ken came to look upon Tracy as a daughter. However, Tracy remained a Langton until 1986, when Ray finally allowed Ken to adopt Tracy. In the interim, the children at Bessie Street School had teased Tracy for having a different name from her parents.
By 1985, Tracy had grown into a headstrong child who didn't always do what she was told; when Deirdre refused to let Tracy get a dog, she ran away from home and went to stay with her adoptive sister Susan Barlow in Newcastle. Susan brought her home and stayed with the Barlows for a while.
1989-1995: Tearaway teen
Ken and Deirdre split up in December 1989 when Ken had an affair with Wendy Crozier, his secretary at the Weatherfield Recorder. Initially Tracy supported Deirdre, but she longed for a return to a cozy family life and so once Ken saw the error of his ways and began seeking a reconciliation, Tracy's allegiance shifted to Ken.
Deirdre was subjected to further resentment when she took up with joiner Dave Barton, who rescued Tracy when she accidentally set No.1's kitchen on fire. The divorce even affected Tracy's school life as Ken began teaching there in 1990, as he could stay updated on Deirdre's exploits through Tracy. Caught between two warring parents, Tracy started to rebel by playing truant from school, going to the amusement arcade with Steve and Andy McDonald. The year also saw Tracy get her first boyfriend, Graham Egerton, but it didn't last long.
In 1992, Tracy got her first job, working Saturdays at Maggie's Flowers. Proprietor Maggie Redman was Ken's girlfriend and, it transpired, an old flame of Mike Baldwin's; her son Mark was Mike's, although Maggie had told Mark that his father was the late Harry Redman. Upon learning the truth, Tracy told Ken and Mark, believing that it was too great a secret to keep from him. Maggie took exception to this and retaliated by telling Tracy that Deirdre had had an affair with Mike while married to Ken. Feeling betrayed, Tracy rebelled against Deirdre and, in a heated argument, called her a "rotten, cowing tart". She tormented Deirdre further by getting drunk and kissing Deirdre's boyfriend Doug Murray, but Deirdre believed Doug when he said he had done nothing but take her home.
At sixteen, Tracy left school with four GCSEs and started work at Maggie's shop full-time, having made peace with Maggie. Her relationship with Deirdre was also more cordial but Tracy moved out in October 1993 to live with her new boyfriend, 22-year-old Craig Lee, refusing to give the address to Deirdre. Unfortunately Tracy's new life didn't last long as the lease ran out and Tracy had to turn to Deirdre, who agreed to house Tracy and Craig on the condition that they didn't get physical. Unsurprisingly, Tracy ignored this and a month later they moved out after finding alternative accommodation.
Over the next few years, Tracy led a more independent life, only visiting Deirdre or Ken when she wanted something. In 1994, she opposed Deirdre's marriage to Moroccan toyboy Samir Rachid but went to the wedding as a token gesture of support. Deirdre was delighted when Tracy turned up but disappointed when she was just as quick to leave. At the end of the year Deirdre and Samir left for a new life in Morocco while Tracy remained in her shared flat with Lorraine Baker.
The following year, Tracy was hospitalised after taking bad Ecstasy in a nightclub, which caused her kidneys to fail. Dumped in the hospital by Lorraine, Tracy was recognised by nurse Martin Platt who alerted her family, with Deirdre returning from Morocco to be by her daughter's bedside. With the damage worse than originally thought and facing a life on dialysis, Tracy wanted to die but Samir - who was a match - volunteered one of his kidneys. When Tracy awoke after the operation, she was stunned to learn that Samir was dead, found unconscious outside the hospital and that Deirdre had given permission for his kidney to be used. Tracy thought that Deirdre would never forgive her and moved to Blackpool to stay with Mark Baker, brother of her Weatherfield flatmate Lorraine.
1996-2003: London, Preston and back
In May 1996, Tracy relocated to London and was working in a shop when she met carpet fitter Robert Preston. Six months later, they decided to tie the knot and Tracy visited Weatherfield to tell Ken and Deirdre, who gave her their blessing. The plan was to marry in London but when Mike Baldwin gloated that Ken wouldn't be walking Tracy down the aisle, Tracy changed their plans so that they would marry in Weatherfield. The wedding went without a hitch and the Prestons returned to London afterwards.
Tracy visited her parents three times over the next few years: in 1997 she turned up at Deirdre and Jon Lindsay's engagement party and gave her approval of airline pilot Jon, and two years later she sought refuge in Weatherfield after falling out with Robert, who accused Tracy of having an affair with her friend Dan after seeing them kissing. Robert followed Tracy to Weatherfield and they reconciled when he accepted her story that she and Dan were just friends. Tracy also visited the Street in October 1999 for Ken's 60th birthday party.
Marriage problems continued for the Prestons in 2002 when Tracy had an affair and, after having it out with Robert, fled to Weatherfield, surprising the Barlows with her arrival on Christmas Day. Preferring to be seen as the victim, Tracy told her family that it was Robert who had cheated, and, declaring that her marriage was over, set about enjoying her new-found single status by sleeping with Dev Alahan.
Deirdre was vehemently against Tracy and Dev's relationship and contacted Robert, hoping to convince her to forgive him, but Robert put the Barlows straight about who had done the cheating. Tracy soon learned from Sunita Parekh that Deirdre had slept with Dev a year earlier, thus explaining her attitude. After threatening to reveal the truth, Tracy spitefully forced Deirdre to confess to Ken on the day of his court hearing for assaulting schoolboy Aidan Critchley. Initially angry, Ken decided to forgive Deirdre but Deirdre refused to forgive Tracy for her actions and threw her out of the house.
Tracy moved in with Dev and started looking for a job in Weatherfield. She briefly worked behind the bar at the Rovers, but only lasted a day as landlady Shelley sacked her for being lazy and helping herself to drinks. With her stint as a barmaid over, Tracy got a job at Lucy's Florist, working for her adoptive brother Peter Barlow's fiancée Lucy Richards. Dev seemed to be the perfect man for Tracy - he lavished her with gifts and even trusted her with a credit card. Tracy anticipated a proposal but Dev told Peter that Tracy wasn't marriage material, an admission which soon reached Tracy's ears. As revenge, Tracy cut up Dev's clothes and used his credit card to stay in a posh hotel before he could cancel it. It only got worse for Tracy when Lucy fired her from the flower shop after she realised that Tracy knew about Peter's relationship with Shelley Unwin. Tracy was furious with her adoptive brother for bringing her into his mess and threatened to spill the beans to Shelley if he didn't help her out financially. Peter gave her a job at Barlow's Bookies but she didn't get on with her co-worker Sally Webster, and Sally eventually sacked Tracy for skiving.
Returning to live at No.1, Tracy had a one-night stand with Steve McDonald in June 2003 and wanted to take things further but Steve reconciled with his wife Karen instead. In need of an ego boost, Tracy bet Bev Unwin 1p that she could bed Roy Cropper, in order to prove that she could have any man she wanted. Tracy won the bet by subterfuge, drugging Roy at Peter and Shelley's wedding reception with a drug stolen from a man who intended to slip it to Shelley and took him home to No.1. When Roy woke up, he believed that they had slept together. Ken and Deirdre could not believe what Tracy had done and threw her out, telling her that she'd gone too far this time.
A few weeks later, Tracy found out she was pregnant and booked an abortion. Her original intent was to keep quiet but, when confronted by a furious Hayley Cropper, Tracy blurted out that she was pregnant with Roy's baby. As Roy and Hayley couldn't have children and longed for one, Tracy suggested that they adopt her baby for £20,000. The Croppers agreed but tried to persuade Tracy to marry Roy to guarantee his parental rights. Faced with a legal bill from her divorce from Robert, Tracy agreed, marrying Roy with Hayley and Ciaran McCarthy as their witnesses.
Tracy confided in Peter that she felt terrible about what she had done and convinced herself that as Steve wasn't interested, no one need ever know the truth. However, her maternal instincts took over and she tried to get close to Steve, getting a job as a driver at his taxicab firm Street Cars, which got off to a bad start when Tracy was cheated out of her fare by a plastic dummy on her first day.
On Christmas Day, Tracy told Steve that he was the father of her baby. As he was preparing for his second wedding to Karen, Steve warned Tracy to leave him alone. On the same day, Blanche revealed that she'd bought No.7 for Tracy and her daughter in an attempt to convince Tracy to keep the baby.
Determined to have Steve for herself, Tracy phoned Steve's wedding venue and cancelled the event, pretending to be Karen, but was miffed when Steve managed to book Walcot Manor - Karen's original choice - as the replacement venue. Tracy went into labour during an argument with Steve and gave birth to a girl on 9th February 2004. She was gutted when Steve said he felt nothing for his daughter and insisted she go through with her deal with the Croppers.
After some hesitation, Tracy handed over her baby, who the Croppers named Patience, before deciding to fight for her daughter and interrupting Steve and Karen's wedding ceremony to take her from Roy. When Steve tried to throw her out, Tracy told everyone that Steve was the baby's real father. The Croppers fled with Patience but Tracy was determined and battered on their door, demanding her daughter. After an appeal from Ken, Roy returned Patience to Tracy. Deciding to change Patience's name to Amy and raise her herself, Tracy returned the Croppers' money and Roy and Hayley agreed not to fight for custody.
2004-2005: War with Karen and Steve
Tracy resolved to bring Amy up but managed to guilt Steve into paying maintenance, which he kept a secret from Karen. Karen was suspicious of Steve and turned up at Amy's christening and thumped Tracy. In addition, Ken, Deirdre, Blanche and godparents Roy and Hayley were all happy to babysit Amy so Tracy took full advantage of their goodwill to maintain a social life. This included trying to win Steve back.
What Tracy really wanted was for Steve to leave Karen so that they could raise Amy together. Later in the year, Tracy saw Steve and Karen were going through a bad patch and tried to drive a wedge between them by dropping her bombshell about the maintenance but Karen reacted coolly and decided to try for a baby of her own. Tracy persevered, firstly by mocking "barren Karen", then by roping Steve into competing in the Barlow team on gameshow Top of the Tree. Nothing worked and, to make matters worse, Karen later announced that she was pregnant, although she soon miscarried.
As the winning team, the Barlow-McDonalds were awarded a car which the families shared. Tracy knew that Steve had nearly had enough and spurred Karen on by taking the wheels off the car whenever Karen needed it. On Christmas Eve, Karen finally flipped and drove the car to the Red Rec, where she torched it. Tracy, who thought Amy was in the burning car, stole Steve's taxi and ran Karen over before crashing the taxi into the factory, following Karen inside with the intention of killing her. She and Karen fought so much that Karen was going to fall off the roof of Underworld until Steve saved her. Tracy only backed down when she discovered that Amy was safe with Roy. The incident caused Steve to throw Karen out for good.
Tracy then turned her attentions to Steve. She was so persistent that eventually Steve took her to dinner just so he could spell out to her that there would never be anything between them.
In March 2005, Tracy had an unexpected reunion with her birth father Ray when he returned to Weatherfield after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Tracy was hostile at first and made it clear that she considered Ken to be her father, but she softened and persuaded him to stay when he prepared to leave for Holland. After just a few weeks, Ray passed away at Ken and Deirdre's wedding reception at the Rovers.
Surprisingly, Steve comforted Tracy at Ray's funeral and they spent the night together, which convinced Tracy that Steve was lying about his feelings for her. Soon after, they began dating and Tracy began making plans for them to move in together and marry. She was so elated at Steve's change of heart that she agreed to let him be registered as Amy's father, giving him full parental rights, but on the day they were to sign the papers, Tracy found out that Steve had helped Blanche sell No.7. Realising that Steve was only stringing her along for rights over Amy, Tracy refused to sign the papers and declared that Steve would never see his daughter again.
Of course, Tracy couldn't resist using Amy against Steve and on one occasion set Steve up so that he would be arrested for trying to leave the country with Amy when in fact Tracy had allowed him to babysit. Steve decided to fight dirty and took Tracy to court. Predictably, the hearing turned into a slanging match between Tracy and Steve, and the judge granted Steve visitation rights, noting that he had clearly been provoked by Tracy's deceitful behaviour.
2005-2007: The murder of Charlie Stubbs
She then turned her attentions to builder Charlie Stubbs, who had a reputation as being a bit of rough. Charlie was very casual about their relationship and didn't want to be lumbered with a baby so when he invited Tracy to move into his flat he stipulated that Amy wasn't allowed. Tracy agreed and left Amy with Ken and Deirdre but quickly formed a plan to make Charlie change his mind: she pretended to get pregnant, knowing that Charlie would insist that she had an abortion. Charlie played into her hands and Tracy was able to use his guilt to get him to agree to Amy moving in. Charlie soon found out, but he let Tracy and Amy stay, making it clear that Tracy daren't cross him again.
Tracy and Charlie had a fiery relationship, and each of them liked to control and manipulate the other. In July 2006, Charlie slept with his ex-girlfriend Shelley Unwin just before she was due to leave Weatherfield. Tracy found out but she and Charlie went ahead with their plans to move into No.6 as Shelley was soon out of sight and out of mind. The last straw for Tracy was discovering that Charlie had had an affair with hairdresser Maria Sutherland, which led to a brawl on the Street between Tracy and Maria. Realising that Charlie had taken her for a fool by continually cheating on her, Tracy finally dumped him but soon decided that she would rather get revenge and convinced him to take her back.
Tracy's "revenge" was to take advantage of Charlie's reputation by pretending to be victimised by him. This involved staging arguments, burning herself with an iron and playing up to the suspicions of Claire Peacock, who she had befriended specifically to get her on side. Ken and Deirdre soon noticed the change in Tracy's behaviour but she defended Charlie, insisting that she was the problem. She also did her best to wind Charlie up and was secretly delighted when he beat Peter up, wrongly assuming that he was a man Tracy had picked up. Charlie was charged with assault but was only given community service and so when he returned home he tried to throw Tracy out, having had enough of her. Tracy tried to change his mind by giving him a lap dance but while he was distracted, she grabbed an ornament and whacked Charlie over the head with it. Planting a knife in his hand, Tracy phoned the police pretending she had been acting in self-defence but was horrified when Charlie initially survived. However he died a couple of days later, and Tracy was charged with murder.
Charlie's history with women and neighbours reports of their arguments and his violence worked in Tracy's favour. Tracy awaited her trial and convinced the Barlows to pay for better legal aid than they could comfortably afford. Tracy was shocked when David Platt came forward and stated he had seen Charlie attack Tracy and backed up her version of events. Knowing he was lying, she confronted David who revealed his intention to blackmail her for sex. As she had a better chance of getting away with murder with David testifying, Tracy agreed but put him off by promising to sleep with him after the trial.
The night before the trial, Tracy revealed to Deirdre that she had never been abused but had killed Charlie intentionally. Deirdre was horrified but pledged to support her daughter. At the trial, however, everything went wrong for Tracy; David's arrogance on the witness stand turned the jury against him, Claire's mental health issues led to her being deemed as unreliable and Deirdre, who testified as a character witness, fell apart on the stand when the prosecution made her contradict herself. Between this and forensic evidence, Tracy was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment, which meant that she wouldn't be eligible for parole until 2022. Steve took custody of Amy, while Tracy disowned her parents and asked them not to visit her in prison when they refused to pay for an appeal.
2007-2010: Life in prison
In May 2010, Blanche passed away and Tracy was given permission to attend the funeral. Tracy was allowed free of her handcuffs to say goodbye to Amy, who was with Steve and his wife Becky, but upon learning that Steve and Becky were hoping to change Amy's surname to McDonald, Tracy flew at Becky and had to be manhandled into a prison van. Back in prison, Tracy was worried that the situation was out of her hands but was elated when her solicitor informed her that she had the final say.
The incident made Tracy determined to have a greater part in Amy's life. As her former neighbour Gail McIntyre was also on remand at Redford Prison, Tracy struck a deal with DS Carr and DC Glynn, who were in charge of Gail's case, to extract a confession from Gail to the murder of Gail's husband Joe in exchange for a possible move to an open prison. Tracy was then installed as Gail's cellmate but as Gail was innocent a desperate Tracy resorted to inventing a murder weapon from a story Gail had told her about the night of Joe's death. Tracy testified in court that Gail had confessed but this wasn't enough for a conviction and Gail was found not guilty, another jury proving immune to Tracy's lies. After Gail's release, her cellmate Lyn Fulwood beat Tracy up for what she had done.
Tracy had greater luck when dealing with Steve and Becky. Having already refused to allow Becky to adopt Amy, Tracy threatened to ruin their chances of adopting by giving them a bad reference. Tracy hated the thought of Becky raising Amy, dismissing her as a "skank".
2010-2012: Early release
In December of that year, Tracy found out that the forensics expert from her trial had been exposed as a fraud and was able to appeal her conviction, and was granted bail. To the surprise of the residents, Tracy returned to Coronation Street on 24th December and moved back into No.1, pending a retrial. Ken and Deirdre were thrilled to have her back but her past actions had left her with very few friends in the Street. Tracy's first priority was to regain custody of Amy, which was made easy by the fact that she knew (from Amy) that Steve and Becky had paid Becky's half-sister Kylie Turner to leave Kylie's son Max Turner in their care. Tracy kept Amy with her, threatening to tell social services about the illegal deal if they intervened, and particularly enjoyed gloating to Becky that she would never be a mother.
Additionally, instead of making reparations with those she had wronged in the past, Tracy acerbated the situations further: she seduced and slept with both of Gail's sons David and Nick Tilsley so that Gail would feel betrayed, and made an enemy of Claire Peacock by making fun of her recently deceased husband Ashley. Tracy also expressed an interest in buying Elliott & Son butcher's shop with the intention of turning it into her own florists, but Claire refused to sell to her due to their animosity. This backfired however, as just after midnight on 1st January 2011, Tracy was set upon in the backyard of No.1 and left for dead. After several days in a coma, Tracy awoke and told police that Becky had been her assailant. Becky was subsequently questioned, although on 10th January Claire Peacock told the police that she had in fact caused Tracy's injuries. She claimed that, filled with anger after Tracy mocked her late husband Ashley, she pushed Tracy who fell and hit her head. Claire then left the country to avoid prison, with almost all of the street assisting in her escape.
Shortly after being discharged from hospital, Tracy was officially cleared of Charlie's murder. She blackmailed Steve into giving her a job at The Rovers, saying that she would leave Weatherfield with Amy otherwise. In March 2011, Tracy began a relationship with Frank Foster, publicly ridiculing former love rival Maria over her claims that he had previously tried to rape her. May 2011 saw Tracy going to Blackpool with Steve and Amy behind Becky's back. Later in the day they discovered that their car had been towed and end up having to stay in a B&B. Tracy attempted to get Steve into bed with her but failed; they returned home the next day. After going through Amy's bag, Becky found a picture of Tracy, Steve and Amy in Blackpool. She was furious and demanded the truth from Steve. A few days later Tracy quit her job at the bar. While on a date with Frank, Tracy talked excessively about Steve in a deliberate attempt to wind Frank up. He decided to end the relationship after he realised her love for Steve. Tracy then told Steve and Becky that she was moving to London with Amy and would not return.
With Steve desperate to keep his daughter, he tried to appease Tracy as much as he could. Knowing that she would always try to manipulate any situation to her advantage, he planned to trick her. After splitting with Becky, he got Tracy to agree to a custody settlement over Amy. Tracy misinterpreted his interpretations, believing that she would be manager at the Rovers and live there with both Steve and Amy. After she signed the custody agreement, he sacked her from the Rovers and installed new manager Stella Price.
In July 2011, Tracy attempted to seduce Steve over dinner at her house but he rejected her. However, following an argument with Becky, Steve returned to the Barlow house and slept with Tracy. After Steve rejected her again and refused to start a relationship with her, Tracy realised that there was nothing left for her in Weatherfield, and left with Amy for London. In September, Tracy returned with Amy to Weatherfield with news for Steve - she was pregnant again following their one-night stand. He initially rejected her and told her to go ahead with an abortion. Tracy went to the abortion clinic but could not go through with the procedure, much to Deirdre's relief. After the initial shock, Steve agreed to support her and they decided to go ahead with the pregnancy. Tracy thought that Steve was having an affair with Becky, in December. After searching for him, she was rushed to hospital after pain in her stomach. She lost the babies, but didn't tell Steve, as she thought he would go back to Becky. Tracy confronted Becky, and fell down the stairs after searching her flat for Steve, when he was really on a taxi run. She told everyone, except Deirdre, who knew she had miscarried, that Becky had pushed her, and that she had killed their babies.
Steve felt bad about the incident and believed Becky had pushed Tracy out of spite. Tracy was delighted when Steve proposed to her on Christmas Day and bought 13 Coronation Street from Lloyd Mullaney to become their new family home. A few weeks later Tracy got married to Steve, a dream come true for her, however Becky had obtained records from the Medical Centre and revealed the contents to Steve in the Rovers before leaving Weatherfield. Steve then broke it off with Tracy, however she refused to move out of No.13 as she was legally entitled to half of the property, and Steve couldn't annul the marriage as she also had to consent to the arrangement.
Steve and Tracy spent time feuding over the house, and Steve even employed Owen Armstrong to convert the property into two flats, with Steve staying downstairs and Tracy upstairs. However, this arrangement didn't work as Steve had access to the electricity and Tracy the heating, and would turn it off to rile each other. Steve then moved out, and moved in tenants - his ex-girlfriend Beth Tinker and her son Craig. However Tracy got on fine with Beth and they teamed up against Steve. When he decided to sell, Tracy and Beth tried to scare away potential customers. Steve eventually sold the property to Kevin Webster and Tracy had to move out with Amy and reluctantly went back to No.1.
Later in 2012 Tracy got jealous of Steve's new relationship with Michelle Connor and wanted to ruin them. She then began dating Michelle's son Ryan, after getting a job working alongside him in Prima Doner. This infuriated Michelle, and when Tracy began sleeping with Ryan she led everyone to believe that she was pregnant by him. However, when he proposed to her in the Rovers, she turned him down and pretended that she miscarried, making Ryan realise that she wasn't the kind of woman he wanted and broke off with her.
2013-2014: Going into business
Tracy and Steve divorced in 2013. Although Tracy was initially reluctant to sign the papers, she was talked round by Deirdre and told to move on. Tracy then began dating Underworld co-owner Rob Donovan who gave her a job within the factory's packing department. However the pair were fired in June 2013 when it was discovered that they had been "stealing" material from the business.
Tracy then started temporary work as a telemarketer for Bugden's Bathrooms, but was hopeless at dealing with the customers while Deirdre was a natural. Tracy and Rob eventually opened cash converters Barlow's Buys in Rosamund Street. In 2014, Tracy learned from Norris Cole that Rob had kissed Tina McIntyre. Angered, she threw Rob out of No.1, but was persuaded by Deirdre to give him another chance - despite not being his greatest fan, he was the best thing that happened to Tracy in a long time. The couple made up, and in April Tracy proposed to Rob as she felt they made a great team. Upon his acceptance, the couple celebrated their engagement in the Rovers.
On the night of their engagement party in May, Tracy slipped out of the pub in order to pick up dodgy goods with Tony Stewart as proof that she and Rob were willing to get their hands dirty after going into business with him. On that same night, Rob attacked Tina (after her affair with Peter was exposed) and stashed the weapon along with items from Tina's flat in the back yard of No.1. When the police began interviewing people, Tracy and Rob decided to make up an alibi and stated that they had spent the night together at No.1 so the police wouldn't find out what Tracy was up to. As Rob had an alibi, Peter was later arrested on suspicion of killing Tina and remanded in custody.
Leading up to Peter's trial, Tracy began supporting Deirdre and Ken, but at the same time she hoped to go ahead with her wedding. When Peter was sentenced to fifteen years for killing Tina, Tracy decided that her wedding should go ahead and was happy when Peter approved.
On the couple's wedding day, the groom went on the run when Carla revealed that her brother was Tina's true killer. Realising that Carla had called the police and exposed Rob, the women fought and Tracy was left broken and humiliated. Tracy was arrested on suspicion of helping Rob but was released on bail and kept under house arrest. When Rob got back in touch with her, she confronted him at the Woodland Park Guest House where he was hiding out. Although angry, she decided to run away with him. After spending quality time with Amy however, Tracy took the heartbreaking decision to contact the police and Rob was arrested.
Rob was charged for Tina's murder and Peter was released. However, Tracy felt everything that had happened lay solely with Carla and blamed her for Rob's downfall. After Peter left Weatherfield, Tracy continued to blame Carla for Rob's arrest and later let herself into Underworld and trashed the place. Carla arrived back and got into a struggle with Tracy which resulted in her being thrown to the ground. Rather than call the police, Carla gave Tracy a talking-to, and the pair apparently made up.
Tracy began to have money troubles and struggled to keep the business afloat, facing the prospect of the shop being closed down when she was unable to pay the rent to Peter. This came to the attention of dodgy supplier Tony Stewart, who asked Tracy for a half share of her business, however she only wanted stock. In December after Rob was convicted and sentenced to twenty-five years, Tracy and Tony shared a passionate kiss at his flat and went to bed together.
2015-2016: Victoria Court fire and Deirdre's death
In January 2015, Tracy was involved in a minibus crash which was en route to the Marbury Hall Hotel where Carla was set to pick up a business award. Although the other passengers managed to get out, Carla was trapped in the front seat as the bus teetered over a quarry. Tracy noticed Carla was trapped, and although initially hesitant, she climbed back into the minibus and helped Carla to safety, narrowly missing getting killed when the minibus plunged into the quarry.
In May 2015, Tracy broke into 12 Victoria Court and attempted to kill a sleeping Carla as vengeance for ruining her chance to buy the Rovers, but fled when she heard the toilet being flushed (unaware that this was Amy). However, Tracy left the lit candle she was holding too close to a lampshade which caused a fire to start, trapping both Carla and Amy inside. Upon noticing the fire, Tracy was at first happy to have get revenge, but when informed by Liz that Amy was in the burning flat, Tracy tried to get inside - only to be restrained by the others. Fortunately, Amy managed to get out of the flat safely and was reunited with Tracy. Upon learning that Kal Nazir perished in the blaze, Tracy wasted no time by dripping poison into people's ears that Carla must have been responsible and spreading a false rumour that Carla must have been drunk and left the candle burning.
Tracy excitedly awaited the return of her mum in July, but was devastated when Bev Unwin informed her, Ken and Audrey Roberts that Deirdre had passed away from a brain aneurysm. A few days later Deirdre's funeral was held. During the funeral Tracy noticed her ex-husband Robert Preston in the crowd. The two got back together soon after the funeral was over.
After the fire Carla had suffered from survivor's guilt and developed a gambling and alcohol addiction. In September, Carla came close to suicide when she and Tracy drove to a quarry. Carla flipped a coin saying Heads I stand, Tails I fall, landing tails. Carla prepared to jump but Tracy yelled out begging her to stop and revealed that she had started the murderous fire. Carla then went to tell Nick and Michelle about her confession, while in the Rovers Tracy was arrested and sent to prison where she was interrogated by the police. She spent the night in a cell. The next day she was released and was taken home by Robert.
In December 2015, Tracy received a visiting order from her ex-fiancé Rob Donovan, a year after he was incarcerated. She went to Highfield Prison to meet him and Rob confessed that he missed her and said that his time in prison gave him time to think. Tracy failed to mention that she was in another relationship, but promised Rob she would visit him again. However Tracy was initially unaware that Rob had no feelings for her. Rob learned of Tracy's relationship with Robert from Johnny Connor and persuaded Robert to visit him. He was able to prove to Robert that Tracy had been visiting him and telling him that she wanted to spend her life with him. Robert had been planning on proposing to Tracy (of which she was aware) and on Christmas Day, when she thought Robert was about to pop the question, he instead asked her about her visits to Rob, dumping her publicly in the Rovers. Rob also soon told her had no feelings for her and was toying with her as revenge for getting him sent to prison.
A few days later, a drunken Robert and Carla slept together. Tracy spent time and effort trying to convince Robert to take her back. She also decided to shut down Barlow's Buys and replace it with a flower shop. To show to Robert how serious she was, she named the shop after him - Preston's Petals - which displeased Robert. Eventually he caved in and got back together with her. Tracy learned of Carla and Robert's one-night stand when she eavesdropped on them. Carla was engaged to Nick and Tracy blackmailed her, threatening to reveal her infidelity to Nick unless she persuaded him to sell Nick's Bistro to Robert and then move away for good. Carla, feeling trapped, obliged and Robert was now the Bistro's owner.
Carla and Nick were due to leave in May 2016 after their wedding. On the big day, Johnny Connor locked Tracy in the cupboard at Underworld to prevent her from interfering. The cupboard was guarded by Jenny Bradley but she was freed by Aidan Connor just in time to arrive at the wedding. Tracy spilled all to Nick and the guests but was dragged off moments later. Tracy was thrilled to learn that Nick had dumped Carla but was soon devastated when a disgusted Robert left her and Amy refused to speak to her, moving to live with her dad. After a few weeks, Tracy made up with her daughter.
2017-: Moving on and changing
In January 2017, Tracy grew close to Luke Britton and they got together, despite the large age gap. They kept their relationship quiet from Ken and Amy. They split up after Tracy refused to make their relationship official.
In March 2017, Tracy helped former partner, Rob Donovan, to hide from the police after he escaped prison. She hid him in V Court Fitness and took him food and medicine. In May, Tracy and Rob decided to go on the run together, with Amy. They hid in a cottage together but when the police arrived, Tracy let Rob get Amy home while she got arrested, out of love for him. Tracy lied to the police to cover for Rob and falsely believing that Amy was guilty of pushing Ken down the stairs, confessed to the crime herself. When Rob turned up at court during Tracy's hearing to tell Tracy that Amy was innocent and provide her with an alibi for the night of Ken's attack, she retracted her confession. Tracy was released and reunited with her daughter but received a suspended sentence for perverting the course of justice.
In December 2017, Tracy and Steve decided to give their relationship another go and started dating again, much to Amy's horror. Despite Amy's misgivings, Steve and Tracy stayed together but Tracy was unsure of Steve's commitment. In June 2018, due to a misunderstanding Steve inadvertently ended up proposing to Tracy again. The wedding day arrived in October, but after Beth Tinker saw Steve leaving Abi Franklin's house, Tracy mistakenly believed that the pair had been having an affair. Typically vengeful, Tracy deliberatly sabotaged Michelle Connor's car which mechanic Abi had been working on at the garage with the intention of getting Abi into trouble. When she confronted Steve however, she realised she was mistaken and that Abi had actually been giving Steve dance lessons. With this resolved, the wedding looked set to go ahead without further hitch until Tracy made a veiled threat to Leanne Battersby over Oliver‘s pageboy outfit and called her a bitch. This in turn caused another misunderstanding and Tracy learnt that Steve had slept with Leanne while they were together.
Fuming, Tracy punched Steve during their first dance and then began a food fight with Leanne. Steve begged Tracy for forgiveness and encouraged her to go on their honeymoon to Morocco with him. After much deliberation and drunken crying on Ken's shoulder, Tracy accompanied Steve to Morocco but left him stranded in the middle of the desert before trashing their hotel room, taking Steve's passport and returning home alone- still bitter over his infidelity.
Upon her return however, fresh drama awaited Tracy as she heard the full story behind Ronan Truman's death and realised that as part of the investigation the police were looking into the damage to Michelle's car which she had vandalised on the morning of the wedding. Furthermore, Abi had already come under suspicion as she was responsible for working on the car immediately before Michelle drove off in it and she also had a chequered past where the law was concerned. In order to protect herself from arrest, Tracy grabbed Abi's keys when her back was turned and stole the laptop containing the CCTV footage from the garage but in doing so further implicated Abi and leading to her being sacked from the garage by Kevin.
Meanwhile Steve finally arrived back in Weatherfield a few days after Tracy, having had to hitchhike through the desert. Although they bickered, Steve still wanted a reconciliation with Tracy and she used this to convince him to employ Abi at Street Cars as she was feeling guilty about the impact the false accusation had on her chances of regaining custody of her twins.
"Tracy Barlow! I mean, even her initials are a killer disease!"- Eileen Grimshaw
Tracy Barlow grew up surrounded by loving parents and friendly neighbours. But she was also the only child of two broken families, surviving first the separation of her parents and, years later, the divorce of her mother and stepfather. One disappointment tended to follow another in the Barlow household so a thick skin and a no-nonsense demeanour was a matter of survival for Tracy.
As a teenager, Tracy was moody and sullen, and longed for independence. She fled the nest at 16 to live with her teenage boyfriend Craig and increasingly distanced herself from her parents. Once she married and moved to London, she changed even more, returning to Weatherfield a grown woman. Although she was a talented florist, Tracy was never career-oriented; her goals were much more primal. Concerned usually with her own satisfaction, she enjoyed manipulating men for sex or money, and getting one over on her enemies, of which she was never in short supply due to her treatment of people as pawns in her game of life. Winning was reward enough for Tracy, no matter who got hurt, as until her prison sentence there was never much in the way of consequences to her for her actions; her family would stand by her (even if grudgingly) and she could use her daughter Amy as a sympathy card as a last resort. Prison didn't change Tracy, if anything she was more bitter and twisted after she was released (early on a technicality) and she continued to enjoy ruining other people's lives to get what she wanted.
However Tracy has gradually mellowed in the past few years, becoming kinder and more considerate to her family and others. Although Tracy continues to behave in a largely antagonistic way, she has taken on a more grounded role in the community through building her business Preston's Petals and forming more genuine friendships. She's also tried to have honest and proper relationships with people, particularly long term love interest and current husband Steve and daughter Amy, who form the family unit that Tracy has long desired.
- "Oh, Tracy!" - Deirdre Barlow
Tracy's most significant relationship was with her mother. Deirdre and Tracy always suffered each other, but despite Tracy's misdemeanours, Deirdre always stood by her daughter with an unwavering faith that only a mother could offer, and got very little in return.
Deirdre was always a vulnerable woman and Tracy brought out her emotions more than anyone. As a child, Tracy clung on to Deirdre and they were very close. The first signs of trouble came during Ken and Deirdre's separation; Tracy saw Deirdre at her weakest and blamed Ken for reducing her mother to such a state. Deirdre was dependent on Tracy supporting her and was harsh with her for wanting to maintain a relationship with Ken, as Deirdre felt betrayed. In 1993, when Tracy found out from Maggie Redman that Deirdre and Ken's marriage had survived Deirdre's affair with Mike Baldwin, Tracy lashed out at Deirdre, feeling that she had treated Ken terribly. Tracy began to rebel against Deirdre more following this revelation and Deirdre struggled to control her for the first time as she began drinking and staying out late. Deirdre began to feel she was losing her teenage daughter, particularly when Tracy moved out to live with her boyfriend Craig Lee.
Perhaps one of the most significant moments in Deirdre and Tracy's relationship occurred in 1995 when Tracy was hospitalised with kidney failure after taking bad Ecstasy at a party and required dialysis and an urgent transplant. Deirdre's toyboy husband Samir Rachid, whom Tracy had never warmed to, was a match and stepped forward to volunteer for the transplant. Tragically on the day of the operation, Samir was killed by a group of thugs and Deirdre gave the consent for the operation to go ahead. Tracy survived and recovered but Deirdre struggled to not blame her daughter for her husband's death and Tracy knew that Deirdre blamed her and so moved away again. The pain of Samir's death was still raw for Deirdre years later and she resented Tracy's flippant attitude when they discussed the past on the eve of Tracy's trial in 2007.
Tracy learned a lot from being raised by Deirdre; while Deirdre was forgiving and easily manipulated, Tracy was usually the manipulator, and she had lots of practice with Deirdre, punishing her by making her worry and calling her out on her hypocritical behaviour. Deirdre was blind to many of Tracy's faults as she looked at her through a mother's eyes; even when Tracy confessed that she'd killed Charlie Stubbs in cold blood, Deirdre still took her words and actions at face value.
Even so, Deirdre did have limits; when Tracy pretended to sleep with Roy Cropper, Deirdre threw her out of No.1 and refused to take her back (though she did eventually), and she was disgusted by Tracy using her daughter Amy as a bargaining chip with people. For the most part, however, Tracy knew Deirdre too well and used her blind love to her advantage. Deirdre was however, all too aware of Tracy's failings and the misery she brought on the family, and once admitted to Tracy that she found it very hard to love her and be proud of her, an admission which surprisingly seemed to upset Tracy, if only for a short time.
Deirdre's death had a significant impact on Tracy, especially when she discovered that Deirdre had stayed away in the months leading up to her death because of shame over Tracy's affair with Tony Stewart. After being warned by Peter that if she didn't change her ways, Amy would either abandon her or put her through as much hell as she did Deirdre, Tracy began to change as a person, albeit very slowly.
"You don't only lie to everyone else but to your own family. Is it any wonder we don't know what to believe? But let's be honest, this time I don't care if you are telling the truth this once because you deserve to suffer just like you've made everyone else suffer." - Ken Barlow
Tracy took after her father Ray more than she did Deirdre, inheriting his laid back, unfeeling, somewhat aggressive attitude. She was the apple of her father's eye while Ray and Deirdre were still together, but Ray's departure at such an early point in Tracy's life meant that Ray's bond with his daughter was broken and the role of Tracy's father figure fell to Ken Barlow. Ken had already played a role in Tracy's life since she was a baby as he was nominated as her godfather at her christening in May 1977 where he gave her a silver rattle that had originally belonged to Ena Sharples and had been gifted to his own twins at their christening.
Even though Tracy wasn't his own daughter, Ken had a larger role in her upbringing than he did for any of his four biological children after he married Deirdre in 1981 (with Tracy as a flower girl). Ken formally adopted Tracy in 1986 and the following few years were the happiest time in Tracy's childhood. Ken's affair with Wendy Crozier in 1989 broke his marriage to Deirdre but Tracy was forgiving towards Ken and he remained a father figure in her life. Tracy seemed to have more respect for Ken than she did for Deirdre and usually sought Ken out whenever she had a disagreement with her mother, as Ken would usually take her side.
Little of Ken's influence is apparent in Tracy's personality. He still loves her as a father but as with Deirdre, he's often ashamed of her; even more so as Deirdre remained shocked at the depths Tracy sinks to while Ken was merely dismayed that Tracy put her loved ones through hell yet again. Ken usually tried to stay out of arguments unless absolutely necessary as he was aware that Deirdre would probably take Tracy's side and further arguments would only ensue. However, as Ken was less blind to Tracy's faults, Tracy respected him more and his disapproval had a greater effect on her.
Peter and Susan Barlow
Tracy was also close to Ken's children Peter and Susan Barlow and considered them siblings, having been previously raised as an only child. Tracy mainly knew Susan when she was little and was a bridesmaid at her wedding to Mike Baldwin. In 1985, Tracy ran away to Newcastle to stay with Susan after a row with Deirdre. After Susan left Weatherfield again in November 1987 to escape estranged husband Mike, having faked an abortion, she had little contact with Ken and as a result Tracy. Susan died in a car accident in 2001 but Tracy, who was now living in London with Robert Preston, was unable to attend the funeral.
When Peter married Jessica in 1990, Tracy again acted as a bridesmaid. Tracy played a large part in Peter's life from 2003 when they both lived in Weatherfield together. Tracy found out that Peter was seeing Lucy Richards (her employer) and Shelley Unwin at the same time, and disapproved of him keeping both women in the dark as his relationships with them progressed. Later that year, Peter was the first to know that Steve McDonald was the father of her unborn child and not Roy Cropper, and implored Tracy to tell Steve. Both parties ignored the other's advice, preferring to solve their crises their own way, although Peter warned Tracy that if she didn't change her ways she'd end up alone.
Tracy remained close to Peter and went to stay with him in Portsmouth in 2005. When Tracy killed boyfriend Charlie Stubbs in 2007 and was put on trial for murder, Peter returned to Weatherfield to support her. Peter was convinced of Tracy's version of events that she had killed in self defence, especially as he had previously witnessed Charlie's violent nature on a previous visit when Charlie mistook Peter for a lover of Tracy's thanks to Tracy's clever manipulation and beat him.
Peter and Tracy are wise to each others history and flaws and although they love each other, they have been equally quick to warn other people who they believe may be naive to the other's worse qualities. When Tina McIntyre began feuding with Tracy in 2013, Peter warned her to back off - not out of loyalty to Tracy but out of concern for Tina, knowing how Tracy could and would 'play dirty'. Similarly when Peter began a relationship of sorts with Tracy's estranged friend Abi in 2019, Tracy was quick to warn them both away from each other as she was well aware of Peter's womanising ways and believed Abi to be vulnerable. Despite this Peter and Tracy were still capable of being shocked by each other's actions, Peter for example was aghast when it transpired that Tracy had lied about her miscarriage to frame Becky McDonald in 2012 and reassured Steve that he knew nothing about it beforehand.
On occasion Peter and Tracy have also played lecturer to each other and Peter has shown particular concern for Tracy's daughter Amy and the impact that Tracy's lifestyle has had on her as he has watched her growing up. After Deirdre's death in 2015, Peter prophetically warned Tracy that unless she changed her ways Amy would either grow up be just as hateful and hated as Tracy or she would turn her back on Tracy and cut her out of her life.
"She's a cow, but she's our cow"- Blanche Hunt
In some ways, Tracy's grandmother Blanche Hunt was even more loyal to Tracy than Deirdre was. They certainly had more in common; Blanche was often considered unfeeling because of her cutting put-downs of people. In 1996, Blanche paid her first visit to the Street in fifteen years for Tracy and Robert Preston's wedding.
In 2003, Tracy took an interest in Blanche's boyfriend Wally Bannister after hearing that he was rich. In a new low, Tracy tried to steal Wally from Blanche, only for it to turn out that he was just the gardener at the house Tracy and Blanche thought he owned, and he wasn't rich at all (no doubt easing the heartache for Blanche).
Blanche had always hoped that Tracy would settle down and was upset when she threw away her marriage to Robert in 2002. When Tracy decided to keep the baby she was expecting with Steve, Blanche bought No.7, hoping that Tracy would start a family. This didn't work out and Blanche eventually let the house to Danny Baldwin and family, and further enraged Tracy by selling the house to pay for a hip operation in Poland in 2005. Tracy felt that she was being cheated out of her inheritance but she needn't have worried - upon Blanche's death in 2010, Tracy was left £14,000, the sum total of Blanche's savings, as Blanche felt that Tracy would need the money after being released from prison, an act typical of Blanche who had left her grieving daughter very little.
- "You were given a second chance to watch your daughter grow up, to live a normal, productive life. And what do you do? You revel in hurting people." - Emily Bishop
Emily Bishop is Tracy's godmother and a close friend of the Barlows, whom Tracy addresses as "Auntie Emily". Emily was a near-constant presence in Tracy's life from a young age; Tracy and Deirdre lived with Emily at No.3 for some months and Emily looked after Tracy whilst Deirdre looked for work. As Emily didn't have children of her own, Tracy was the closest she had to a daughter and it was Tracy who brought Emily out of herself after her husband Ernie's death in 1978. When Ken and Deirdre argued over Ken's affair with Wendy Crozier on Christmas Day 1989, Tracy fled to Emily's house, seeing it as a refuge from the tense atmosphere back home. Perhaps because of this strong influence in her formative years, Tracy listened to and respected Emily more than she did to other people. In 2003 when Tracy found herself pregnant in complex circumstances, Emily was again someone to lean on.
In later years Emily was increasingly disappointed and disgusted by many of Tracy's actions but was keen to still see the good in her. Emily was deeply upset by the Charlie Stubbs affair and although she found it difficult, attended court to support Tracy.
Amy is Tracy's only child, born in February 2004, the result of a one-night stand with Steve McDonald. Tracy isn't very maternal and has used Amy on many occasions in order to manipulate others and get her own way. Despite this Tracy has shown more signs of genuine love and affection for Amy as she has grown older and has strived to create the perfect family unit for her and her daughter both with Rob and Steve.
Despite not always paying her enough attention, especially palming her off to her grandparents and Emily when she was a baby, Tracy didn't want anybody else to play mother to Amy, least of all a partner of Steve's like Becky McDonald. When Tracy was released from prison in December 2010 she was determined to regain full custody of her daughter and attempted to do so by blackmailing Steve and Becky over the fact they had bought Max Turner, moving Amy back into No.1 with her and only allowing Steve partial custody. Months later, Tracy and Steve were concerned when Amy was plagued by a mystery illness and Tracy was hurt by the accusation that she could have poisoned her own daughter. It later transpired Amy was lactose intolerant and had continued drinking milk on purpose to stop her parents being at loggerheads.
Tracy is defensive of Amy at the expense of most others. In 2014, Amy was jealous of cousin Simon getting constant attention from the family and lied that Eccles had bitten her, leading Tracy to order Deirdre to have the dog put down - although Deirdre saw through Amy and she admitted she was lying. Furthermore, while Tracy often revels in her spiteful and vicious behaviour towards others, she is upset and regretful when she sees the impact it has on her relationship with Amy. After Tracy ruined the wedding of Carla Connor and Nick Tilsley in May 2016, Amy disowned her and moved in with Steve, although they were later reconciled again.
"You are still the horrible, nasty, manipulative mare you've always been"- Steve McDonald
Steve McDonald is the father of Amy and a long term on/off love for Tracy. They first crossed paths when Steve moved to Coronation Street in 1989. Deirdre was worried at first that Steve and his twin brother Andy would be a bad influence on Tracy, especially when she found out that Tracy and the McDonalds were playing truant from school. In 1991, Tracy let the twins use Ken's flat to transmit their own radio station until they were caught by Ken. Tracy was always attracted to Steve as a teenager but Steve wasn't interested and nothing ever happened between them.
In recent years, Steve has taken a bigger part in Tracy's life. He is perhaps her greatest love (apart from herself) but prior to 2007 Steve was only interested in protecting Amy from Tracy's games, whereas Tracy saw their sparring purely as a battle between her and Steve. Steve, who has spent most of his adulthood trying to please demanding women, has been manipulated by Tracy enough that he now knows not to rise to the bait she offers.
By the time Tracy was released from prison in 2010, Steve had moved on and found himself a happy family unit with Becky, Amy and Max. Tracy wanted her daughter back and quickly gained the upper hand over Steve when she found out that he and Becky had 'bought' Max illegally from Becky's sister Kylie. Animosity continued between Tracy and the McDonalds for months over this issue but when Steve and Becky split after losing Max to social services, Steve ended up sleeping with Tracy again. When Tracy discovered she was pregnant with Steve's child, they decided to give things another go. In December 2011, tragedy struck when Tracy suffered a miscarriage whilst carrying their twin boys. Nevertheless, Tracy and Steve married in January 2012. However the union didn't last long, as she was exposed at the wedding reception for lying that Steve's ex-wife Becky had pushed her down the stairs and caused the miscarriage. The two split almost immediately and a year later Tracy and Steve officially divorced. Steve hated Tracy for breaking up his marriage to Becky and vowed never to go near her again.
However, in late 2017, Steve and Tracy reunited and a year later they married for the second time. In April 2019 they participated in a Mr & Mrs competition in the Rovers and Tracy was incandescent when Steve failed to remember her middle name - despite having to recite it in two marriage ceremonies.
Tracy had a brief but fiery relationship with restaurant chef Ciaran McCarthy in 2004. When Ciaran bought a wine bar with the help of a £50,000 investment from Penny King, Tracy took a fancy to him. However, his restaurant venture McCarthy's never took off and he was forced to sell the premises at a loss. Tracy persuaded him to lie to Penny and excitedly started making plans to spend the money, but Ciaran mistook her enthusiasm as being because of him and told Penny the truth.
Predictably, Tracy instantly lost interest and dumped Ciaran. Penny's partner Mike Baldwin found out about the scam and was determined that Ciaran and Tracy would go to prison, but Deirdre bailed Tracy out by appealing to Mike.
Tracy's most significant love apart from Steve was Rob Donovan, the brother of Peter's new girlfriend Carla Connor. They first met when they were forced to share a taxi, but made a good team and began a relationship, with Rob giving Tracy a job at Underworld. Despite Tracy's family disliking Rob, she stood by him and saw him as "the one".
The pair set up Barlow's Buys, a cash converter's shop in mid-2013. When it was discovered Rob was responsible for killing Tina McIntyre, Tracy agreed to run away with him. However, not wanting to abandon Amy, she tipped off the police and he was arrested, much to her devastation as she begged him for forgiveness. Rob was later sentenced to twenty-five years in prison (as he also allowed Peter Barlow to be falsely accused) and he decided to sever ties with both Tracy and Carla.
However, a year later Rob got in contact, but lost his humanity and began plotting revenge for being betrayed.
In early-2017, Rob escaped from prison and begged Tracy to help him, which she did, hiding him in V Court Fitness, without telling anyone. Tracy was visited by the police who informed her of Rob's flit but Tracy lied that she hadn't seen him and didn't alert her family to his disappearance. Tracy grew tired of taking Rob supplies as their relationship was long since over, but Rob convinced her to support him. When Tracy opened up to Rob about her fears that Amy had attacked Ken they rekindled their passion and planned to run away with each other. Tracy took Amy to a cottage in the Peak District under the guise of a weekend break and secretly harboured Rob there too while the pair made their plans to get to Scotland and then abroad with the help of an ex-con friend of Rob's. When they realised the police were on to them, they planned to flee but Amy had already called Steve from the village phone box and Rob and they were approaching the cottage as Rob frantically ran for the car. Wishing to protect her daughter, Tracy asked him to get her home safely before he went on the run while she stayed behind and made a false confession to attacking Ken, denying all knowledge of Rob's whereabouts at the same time.
After Rob interrupted Tracy's court hearing to inform her that Amy was innocent and she had no need to take responsibility in her place, exposing himself to the authorities in the process, he was allowed one last conversation with Tracy inside a prison cell where he confirmed that he was been transferred to a prison in Humberside and this was their last goodbye.
Beth Sutherland is Tracy's best friend. Despite annoying each other at first, the two of them became firm friends.
Beth was Steve's ex-girlfriend who Beth wanted to get back together with but he was set to marry Tracy, leading to arguments between the pair. They were soon thrown together as Steve moved them both into No.13, where they annoyed each other. However to Steve's surprise they struck up a friendship when they teamed up to put potential buyers off the house, inventing structural damage and placing kippers around the house to make it stink. Their plan didn't work, as Kevin Webster had lived there previously and knew there were no problems with the house, and they were both evicted by Steve when he sold the property to Kevin.
They continued to be friends with Tracy and Beth regularly going out together and helping each other out. Tracy was one of the bridesmaids at Beth's wedding to Kirk in 2015. In 2017, Tracy gave Beth a job at Preston's Petals to help her out after Underworld closed and when Tracy was engaged to Steve again in 2018, she chose Beth as her maid of honour but Beth was later put out when Tracy favoured Abi's plans for the hen night over Beth's and felt that Abi was driving a wedge between her and Tracy. In 2019, Tracy defended Beth when a fight broke out between her and Claudia Colby at Bertie Osbourne's christening party.
Although they remain close, there is sometimes tension between Beth and Tracy, usually when a third party is involved. Tracy was offended when Beth bailed on her wedding to Steve to attend her niece Sinead's wedding to Daniel on the same day and made her feelings clear when she later turned up drunk to Daniel and Sinead's wedding reception- although she sadly conceded that Beth made the right choice as her own wedding had ended in disaster.
Mary Taylor's close friend and colleague was someone who Tracy wouldn't usually become friends with, but they have formed a close working and personal relationship in recent years and Mary has been there for Tracy in times of need.
Tracy took Mary on when she opened Preston's Petals and needed an assistant. Tracy was initially annoyed by Mary, but they soon got along with each other. Although Tracy wouldn't have admitted it at first, she and Mary enjoy each others company at work and they often sing and laugh together with Tracy coming to tolerate Mary's eccentric stories and it was Mary who assisted Tracy with her wedding dance rehearsals. Mary regularly offered Tracy words of advice, mainly telling her to do the right thing and to be a kinder person. On rarer occasions, Tracy was the one advising Mary both on superficial fashion tips and more serious matters such as her unusual marriage to Norris Cole in 2017, regardless of her opinions Tracy was in attendance at the wedding.
In 2019, Tracy and Mary discovered what they believed to be an intruder in No.3 but transpired to be Freda Burgess who claimed she had come to organise the sale of the house on behalf of Norris. Mary and Tracy were both suspicious of Freda and her explanation and Tracy soon offered her own wild theory - that Freda had murdered Norris. Unfortunately Mary took Tracy too seriously and after seeing an urn (which contained the ashes of Freda's hearing dog Charlie) she branded Freda a murderer and attacked her before being interrupted by a very much alive Norris.
Tracy first crossed paths with Abi Franklin in 2018, after Abi began lodging at No.11 with Eileen Grimshaw and her son Seb, with whom she was trying to repair her relationship and get her life back on track following years of susbtance abuse. Tracy and Abi quickly became good friends and Abi accompanied Tracy to Beth's flat warming party in July and amused Tracy by cutting a ponytail off a sleeping guest after Tracy complained about her own botched haircut. They then attended a rave in Blackpool together with Beth in August. Tracy asked Abi to be one of her bridesmaids and not enamoured with Beth and Mary's hen night suggestions, put Abi in charge which put Beth's nose out of joint. Abi and Tracy then discussed the first dance and Tracy had her heart set on I've Had the Time of My Life.. When Steve objected to this, Abi stuck up for Tracy and revealed that Steve had given her Karen's engagement ring.
Trouble first came between the pair on the morning of Steve and Tracy's wedding when thanks to a misunderstanding over Tracy giving Steve a 'free pass', Tracy jumped to the conclusion that Steve and Abi had slept together and in anger vandalised Michelle Connor's car which Abi had been working on at the garage in order to get Abi in to trouble before heading to confront the pair. In actual fact as Tracy found out, Abi had been innocently giving Steve dance lessons and Abi was there to help comfort Tracy when Steve's real infidelity with Leanne Battersby was revealed.
It was only when Tracy returned from her honeymoon in Morocco that she realised her whimsical vandalism had brought unintended consequences as Michelle and her family had been involved with the death of drug dealer Ronan Truman and the subsequent police investigation had uncovered the sabotage to the car. As Abi had a history with drug offences and had been working on Michelle's car at the garage, she was the first in the line of suspicion and Tracy's efforts to cover her own back by taking Abi's keys and stealing the garage laptop containing the crucial CCTV footage only incriminated Abi further. When garage boss Kevin Webster made it clear he thought Abi was guilty and insulted her in public, she lashed out at him and got the sack further jeopardising her attempts to get custody of her twins. Tracy felt guilty seeing the impact that her actions were having on Abi and was desperate to help her friend, pushing Steve in to getting her another job on the switchboard at Street Cars, although she was hopeless as she lacked the necessary customer service skills.
With the strain of the false allegation still weighing heavy on Abi she fell back into old habits, downing a bottle of vodka before scoring some drugs. Tracy found Abi passed out in Victoria Street and rung for an ambulance for her friend but with this on her record, Abi's chances at getting the twins back were once again scuppered. Tracy's guilt continued to build and led her to confess to Abi that she was the one who sabotaged the car and stole the laptop. Abi was horrified at Tracy's betrayal and turned her back on her. When Seb began smashing up the florist in retaliation against Tracy, Abi stepped in to keep him out of trouble with the police and took the wrap for him.
Still feeling guilty, Tracy was determined to keep Abi out of trouble and turned to Seb for help which led her to realise that he was the real culprit. While Tracy implored Abi to tell the truth, Abi threatened Tracy that if she told anyone it was Seb then she would destroy her entire family. Undeterred Tracy then convinced her solicitor nephew Adam to defend Abi in court but Abi flat out refused help from Tracy and pled guilty. Tracy still made a statement in defence of Abi in court but Abi was handed a 16-week prison sentence.
When Abi was released she remained bitter towards Tracy as she was to blame for the whole situation and told her to keep out of her way. Tracy still cared about Abi and when Tracy later discovered Abi had begun a relationship with her brother Peter she warned Abi away from him, citing his track record and warned Peter not to mistreat Abi. In March, Tracy and Abi were somewhat reconciled when Tracy comforted Abi after Seb rejected her on his 18th birthday.
Owing to her bitchy and manipulative nature and criminal past, Tracy has few close friends. Her childhood best friends were Donna Cox and Debbie Dawson. In 1990, Donna accompanied Tracy, Deirdre and Dave Barton on a day trip to Knowsley Safari Park. She later became good friends with Lorraine Baxter with whom she shared a flat after she moved out of No.1 in 1994. When Tracy was rushed to hospital after taking bad Ecstasy in a nightclub in 1995, it was Lorraine who accompanied her. She later went to stay with Lorraine's brother Mark, who she was also close to, in Blackpool in the aftermath of her kidney transplant and Samir's death
In 2003, Tracy became friendly with Lucy Richards who was her employer at the florists and was a bridesmaid at Lucy's wedding to Tracy's brother Peter. Things soured between Lucy and Tracy after Lucy discovered Tracy knew about Peter's bigamy. After the death of Charlie in 2007, Tracy found an unlikely friend and ally in neighbour Claire Peacock who was convinced by Tracy's claims of Charlie's domestic abuse, having heard things through the walls and witnessed what Tracy wanted her to see. Claire took to the witness stand at Tracy's trial to defend her but was discredited due to her previous mental health issues. When Tracy was released from prison in 2010 she was cold and spiteful towards Claire, even mocking the recent death of her husband Ashley which led to Claire attacking Tracy. This event caused Claire to flee the country with her two sons Joshua and Freddie in order to avoid prosecution for the assault and nearly killing Tracy.
Creation and childhood absence
Tracy Langton first appeared in Episode 1672 on 24th January 1977, where she was played by Christabel Finch, who was fifteen days old when her first scenes were filmed. Of her casting, Finch said in a 2007 interview: "It was a case of being the right baby, in the right place, at the right time. The casting director came to the baby unit and picked me at random, then asked my parents if I could be in the show.” Tracy was the first baby born to two Coronation Street characters since Peter and Susan Barlow in April 1965 and unlike the Barlow twins, a conscious decision was made to feature Tracy on-screen as much as possible. Finch shared a dressing room with Anne Kirkbride.
In a later interview, Finch reflected on her time on the show: "Because I was a kid, everyone was really friendly to me. Julie Goodyear, who played Bet Gilroy, was really lovely and a very down-to-earth person. The biggest plot I was involved in was when Deirdre had an affair with Mike Baldwin. There was a lot of shouting going on and Ken was screaming at her, 'Get out of the house!' I just thought, 'what's going on , why are they shouting?'" 
Finch played the role of Tracy until late-1983, when her family emigrated to Guernsey without informing producers. Her final appearance in the role was in Episode 2362 on 21st November 1983. This was followed by a long absence for the character, who within the narrative still lived with the Barlows and was famously said to be upstairs "playing her tapes" as a means of explaining her whereabouts. Tracy playing her tapes upstairs became a running joke in popular culture and has occasionally been referenced in the show since. When her mother died suddenly on her sixtieth birthday in 2015, Tracy reminisced fondly about listening to her tapes upstairs, with Deirdre shouting multiple times to say her tea was ready, only for her daughter to be oblivious to what was happening. She suggested to her stepfather Ken that she put her old Walkman in Deirdre's coffin, but he disagreed saying that her coffin "wasn't a time capsule". Subsequently in Episode 9051 in December 2016 Peter found a suitcase full of Tracy's old cassettes and the pair reminisced about her music tastes.
In his 1990 memoirs Coronation Street: The Inside Story, then-Executive Producer Bill Podmore revealed that Tracy's absence was a conscious decision, so that her re-appearance played by a different actress wouldn't be jarring for viewers. While Tracy's absence was picked up on by critics and the press, Podmore felt that her role had always been low-key and that the press' reaction was only a way of having a small dig at the producers for being caught unprepared by Finch's abrupt departure.
Recasts and teenage Tracy
Holly Chamarette was the second actress to play Tracy, first appearing in Episode 2532 on 8th July 1985. Chamarette successfully auditioned for the role among over sixty other children and played the role for three years, last appearing in Episode 2816 on 23rd March 1988. Bill Podmore didn't like the thought of an actor feeling tied to a role at such a young age and had no objection to Chamarette's decision to leave the role and choose a different career.
Tracy returned in Episode 2890 on 12th December 1988, now played by a third actress, Dawn Acton. Acton had auditioned for the role along with her best friend Jenny Sixsmith and the latter, although she lost out on the part, was cast as Tracy's friend Debbie Dawson. From this point onwards, Tracy took on larger role in the programme; playing a key part in Ken and Deirdre's divorce.
As Tracy grew through her teenage years in the 1990s the character began to develop a more rebellious streak and get into trouble and take on storylines of her own, something which Acton enjoyed playing. Of this development she later recalled: "Tracy's clothes were horribly boring. Then, all of a sudden, she went from being this dowdy 14-year-old to some 15-year-old wannabe vamp, with hotpants and fashion sense. My favourite was when I tried to move in on Deirdre's boyfriend Doug Murray. It showed just how sneaky Tracy was." Reflecting on this development in Tracy's character, executive producer Carolyn Reynolds explained: "The Barlow household was very important to us and we felt it was quite natural that if you'd had domestic issues between Ken and Deirdre over the years, this was bound to impact on the teenage daughter."
In 1993, Anne Kirkbride was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and was absent from the programme until May 1994. Deirdre was written out in the interim, while Tracy's visits to the Street became less frequent. This continued even after Kirkbride's return, and in 1995 casting director James Bain informed Acton that her contract would not be renewed as "the storylines involving Tracy had dried up".
Acton's final major storyline as Tracy involved the character suffering from kidney failure after taking bad Ecstasy, something which Carolyn Reynolds was nervous about covering as it was unusually issue-driven for the show. Speaking about the decision behind the plot in The Corrie Years Reynolds explained: "It was quite tricky for the street, it felt much more natural to go there on shows like EastEnders rather than us. We tend to have a bit more heart and a bit less issue and grit, but we felt we had to show what was going on actually with teenagers out there." Dawn Acton also found the storyline quite challenging to play as it was worlds apart from anything she had experienced herself. At the culmination of the storyline, Tracy departed for Blackpool after receiving a dying Samir's kidney and feeling the resentment of a grief stricken Deirdre in the aftermath.
Acton returned for several guest appearances as Tracy in 1996 which saw the character get married to Robert Preston, again in 1997 and last appeared as Tracy in Episode 4696 on 10th October 1999 in which the character visited for Ken's 60th birthday party.
Tracy's return: the 'superbitch'
Tracy next appeared in Coronation Street in Episode 5406 on Christmas Day 2002. Dawn Acton was willing to return but was required to audition as producers wanted to take the character of Tracy in a new direction and she was publicised as a "sexy, sassy, opinionated maneater." Eventually Kate Ford won the role after impressing bosses. Explaining the decision to bring Tracy back as an anti-hero, writer Daran Little remarked: "You only have to look at a character whose parents got divorced when she was very young and then pulled either way to find out this woman is very flawed and has a chip on her shoulder. So you take that and bring her back a few years later as a very selfish person."
While this was a big change in the character, Tracy's storylines over the next two years proved popular with one of the most memorable involved her claiming to be pregnant with Roy Cropper's child after luring him into her bed in order to win a bet. Despite the success of the story it was one that the cast members involved initially had reservations about. Kate Ford commented that "On paper it looked ridiculous..." while Julie Hesmondhalgh who played Roy's wife Hayley said: "Every now and again in Coronation Street, you hear of a storyline and you think how on earth is that going to happen... they've gone too far this time, this is gonna be terrible." However Hesmondhalgh added that "It turned out to be one of our favourite stories of all time." 
In January 2006, rumours began to circulate of Ford's departure after the News of the World reported that she had chosen to bow out at the end of her current contract. Following speculation, Ford confirmed in August that she would be leaving the role when her contract expired the following year with producer Steve Frost adding: "Kate will be involved in a major storyline which will see her leave next spring." and confirming that the character would not be killed off.
Tracy's exit storyline transpired to be the murder of her boyfriend Charlie Stubbs and subsequent imprisonment. Also notable is that Episode 6519, broadcast on 25th March 2007 and featuring Tracy's confession to Deirdre that she was guilty of murder, was one of just two Coronation Street episodes to feature only two characters. Ford later noted this as one of her favourite moments to play during her time on the show, saying: "I worked so closely with Annie [Kirkbride] on that scene. It was just the two of us. We rehearsed and we were given the time to do it."
The scenes of Tracy's trial were filmed on location at Bradford City Hall. Two different endings were filmed for the storyline, in order to prevent the outcome from being leaked before transmission. In the alternative ending, Tracy was found not guilty but would be forced to leave the street without Amy due to Deirdre knowing the truth. However the production team had already settled on sending Tracy to prison for her evil act with a spokesman saying: "Coronation Street is a moral show where cheats and murderers rarely prosper. There was no way Tracy could ever get away with this crime."
The murder of Charlie and Tracy's subsequent trial was another ratings winner for the show and Episode 6471, broadcast on 15th January 2007, which immediately followed Charlie's death was the highest rated of that year with 13,080,000 viewers followed immediately by Episode 6526 broadcast on 2nd April in which Tracy was found guilty of murder. It was described as the "soap trial of the decade" in contemporary media reports.
A free woman again
As early as 2008 it was reported that new producer Kim Crowther was keen for the character to return to the street. On 5th January 2010 it was announced that Ford would be reprising her role as Tracy. Tracy returned briefly in May 2010 for a storyline with Gail McIntyre, who had been wrongly imprisoned for the murder of her husband Joe. This was followed by a full-time return later in the year, which saw Tracy released on bail after the forensics expert from her trial was discredited. When Tracy's return was announced, producer Kim Crowther promised in an interview for website Digital Spy that the unlikely turn of events would be handled realistically, but noted that Tracy returning to the Street was the priority: "We have a story to get her out and we've researched it so it's perfectly legitimate but I wouldn't really care if it wasn't particularly, because I just think it's so exciting anyway! As a viewer I wouldn't care."
Tracy reappeared in Episode 7497 on Christmas Eve 2010. Speaking about her return and how the character of Tracy had developed, Ford said: “There’s no Christmas spirit as far as Tracy is concerned. She’s back and she means business. I’d actually say that Tracy is harder than she’s ever been before, prison has really made her toughen up."
Tracy immediately made several enemies in the street upon her return and following on from the popularity of the early feud between Tracy and Karen over Steve, a new long running conflict was quickly established between Tracy and Steve's new wife Becky. On Tracy's motivations, Ford explained: "She’s learnt a few new tricks which can only mean trouble for everyone around her, especially Steve and Becky. In her mind a child should be with their mother, regardless of the fact she’s been in prison and proved she’s a pretty nasty person. All she cares about is getting Amy back. As a mother myself I can understand that. It’s just the way she goes about it that’s all wrong. When it comes to Amy she won’t back off.”
Her return was immediately followed by a storyline in which Tracy was attacked and hospitalised by a mystery assailant after making various enemies in the street which was publicised as a 'whodunnit' with the culprit ultimately being revealed as Claire Peacock a couple of weeks later.
In 2014, Tracy was involved in a "Who Kills Tina?" campaign in which she was one of the four main suspects. A month prior to Tina's death in May 2014, a video showing Tracy approaching her at the Builder's Yard was filmed and released on the official Coronation Street Youtube channel in order to keep fans guessing. However shortly before the broadcast of the episode, it was confirmed by ITV that Tracy would not be the killer.
From her 2002 return onwards the character has been dubbed 'Toxic Tracy' by the media and her villainous antics have proved popular with viewers and critics and have made her one of the show's longest running antagonists. The character has been designated a 'soap superbitch' and compared to EastEnders' Janine Butcher and Cindy Beale and Emmerdale's Kim Tate in this capacity. Writing in 2007, Nick Linsdell of Lowculture described Tracy as "one of the all-time great, completely horrific, self-absorbed soap monsters."
Kate Ford twice won the the award for 'Best Bitch' at the British Soap Awards in 2004 and 2005 respectively for her portrayal of Tracy. Both the Charlie Stubbs murder storyline and Kate Ford were rewarded at the BSA's again in 2007, claiming the 'Best Storyline' and 'Best Actress' awards respectively. In 2011 she was nominated again in the 'Villain of the Year' category. In a 2010 public poll ranking the show's 50 greatest moments to date, Tracy's deception of Roy was placed at #31 while Tracy ruining Steve and Karen's wedding day and her murder of Charlie ranked at #7 and #4 respectively.
First and last lines
"Ta!" (First line, to Albert Tatlock)
List of addresses
|Assistant||Maggie's Flowers||20th November 1992 to 8th January 1993|
|Assistant||Maggie's Flowers||8th February 1993 to after October 1994|
|Barmaid||Rovers Return Inn||13th January 2003|
|Assistant||Lucy's Florist||17th February to 30th March 2003|
|Clerk||Barlow's Bookies||4th April to 1st August 2003|
|Taxi driver||Street Cars||3rd November 2003 to February 2004|
|Relief cover||Florist||April 2003|
|Barmaid||Rovers Return Inn||7th February to June 2011|
|Shop worker||Prima Doner||3rd September 2012 to October 2012|
|Packer||Underworld||1st February to 31st May 2013|
|Telemarketer||Bugden's Bathrooms||June to July 2013|
|Manager||Barlow's Buys||5th August 2013 to January 2016|
|Manager||Preston's Petals||13th January 2016 to present|