Tracy Lynette Barlow (née Langton; previously Preston and McDonald) is the daughter of Deirdre Barlow and Ray Langton. Born on 24th January 1977, Tracy was raised by Deirdre and her second husband Ken Barlow, who became a father figure to Tracy after Ray lost touch with the family.

Tracy was a sensitive, unpredictable child who took disappointment hard. She was close to Deirdre but the end of Ken and Deirdre's marriage in 1990 marked a turning point in their relationship - like Ken, Tracy hoped for a reconciliation and felt betrayed when Deirdre had other boyfriends. She grew into a moody, sullen teenager who questioned everything Deirdre did and at sixteen moved out to live in digs, tired of being treated like a child. Their relationship hit its lowest ebb in 1995 when Deirdre's third husband Samir Rachid died while on his way to donate a kidney to Tracy, who was ill after taking a bad ecstasy pill.

Tracy's life stabilised when she married Robert Preston and moved to London in 1996, but six years later she moved back to Weatherfield and dumped herself on a reconciled Ken and Deirdre. In the years between, Tracy had turned into a woman who treated life like a game, who used and hurt others to satisfy her whims if it would satisfy her. In 2003, to win a bet, she nearly drove Roy Cropper to suicide by pretending that they had slept together, and then fleeced the Croppers by selling them her daughter, even though Steve McDonald was Amy's father and not Roy. When Amy's true parentage was revealed, Tracy held onto her daughter and tried to use her to split up Steve and his wife Karen, but Steve hated Tracy and even after separating from Karen, he only used her for access to Amy.

In 2006, Tracy found out that her boyfriend Charlie Stubbs had cheated on her, and took revenge by murdering him. She hoped to get away with it by claiming it was self defence but her scheme backfired and she received a custodial life sentence. Three years later, Tracy was released on bail pending a retrial when the forensics expert from her trial was discredited, and she returned home, but few of the neighbours were happy to see her back and after spending a week ruffling feathers in the Street, a fracas with Claire Peacock at midnight on 1st January 2011 put her in hospital for several weeks.

During the course of 2011 she attempted to win Steve back in order to start a family unit with him and Amy, and began trying to split him up from his wife Becky. She suceeded and also lied about Becky pushing her down a flight of stairs causing her to miscarry her and Steve's twins. Steve and Tracy got married, only for the truth to be revealed and them to be separated and Becky leaving. They divorced a year later. She is currently working at Underworld as a packer and dating the boss Rob Donovan


1977-1989: Childhood


Ray and Deirdre with their newborn daughter, 1977

Ray and Deirdre Langton had been married for two years when Deirdre gave birth to their first and only child on 24th January 1977. Ray registered the birth himself so that he could put his preference of Tracy as the baby's Christian name, using Deirdre's choice of Lynette as a middle name. When Deirdre found out about this she was furious with Ray for going behind her back.

With a baby to care for, the Langtons decided to move out of their flat at 20 Victoria Street, Weatherfield to the (moderately) larger 5 Coronation Street. Ray was a partner in building firm Fairclough & Langton, where Deirdre had worked as a secretary before leaving work to take care of Tracy. However, a year after Tracy's birth Ray had an affair with Janice Stubbs, a waitress at Dawson's Cafe, effectively ending his and Deirdre's marriage. A move to Holland was planned for the family as a fresh start, but Deirdre chose instead to remain in Weatherfield with Tracy while Ray went to Holland by himself. Ray didn't say goodbye to Tracy and paid no further visits during her childhood, sending only occasional letters and Christmas presents. It would be twenty-seven years before they would meet again. In the meantime, Deirdre and Tracy were taken in by Emily Bishop at No.3.

Now a single parent, Deirdre soon became exhausted and in March 1979 was happy to let friend Sally Robson make a fuss over Tracy, easing the burden somewhat. 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 crashed into the pub. When unable to find Tracy, a grief-stricken Deirdre contemplated suicide, feeling that a life without her daughter wasn't worth living - but fortunately Sally had taken Tracy moments before the lorry hit and when Len Fairclough bought Tracy with him to Deirdre to stop her from jumping into a river and drowning.  Tracy started playgroup later in 1979.

In 1980, Deirdre and Tracy moved into the Corner Shop flat as Deirdre started work behind the shop counter. This was also a short stay as another move for mother and daughter occurred in July 1981, when Deirdre married Ken Barlow from No.1. Soon after Ken adopted Tracy changing her surname to Barlow.


Tracy causes panic when she goes missing in Newcastle, 1985

A more stable period followed for Tracy as she had a permanent home and now a steady father figure, and Ken in return came to look upon Tracy as a daughter. However, as Ray hadn't allowed Ken to adopt Tracy, she remained a Langton until 1986, when he finally relented. In the interim, Tracy had been unhappy having a different name from her parents as the other children at Bessie Street School had made fun of her. In 1983, Ken and Deirdre faced the biggest crisis of their marriage - Deirdre's affair with Mike Baldwin. Ken and Deirdre were briefly separated but reconciled quickly enough that they were able to keep Tracy from asking too many questions.

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 got on a train for Newcastle to stay with Ken's daughter Susan Barlow, apparently oblivious to the panic which ensued at the Barlow household. Susan bought her back home a stayed with the Barlows for a while.

1989-1995: Tearaway teen

Ken and Deirdre separated again in December 1989 - this time for good - when Ken had an affair with Wendy Crozier, his secretary at the Weatherfield Recorder. Initially Tracy supported Deirdre, but above all else Tracy wanted a return to the cozy Barlow family life and so once Ken saw the error of his ways and began seeking a reconciliation, in opposition to Deirdre who wanted a divorce, Tracy's allegiance shifted to Ken. Deirdre was subjected to further resentment when she took up with joiner Dave Barton, who had rescued Tracy when she accidentally set No.1's kitchen on fire. The divorce even affected Tracy's school life as Ken got a teaching job 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 instead 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.

Tracy deirdre 1993

Tracy's discovery of Deirdre's affair with Mike causes more trouble for Deirdre, 1993

In 1992, Tracy got her first job, working Saturdays at Maggie Redman's flower shop. Maggie was Ken's girlfriend and, it transpired, an old flame of Mike Baldwin's; her son Mark was Mike's son, although Mark believed his father was the late Harry Redman. On being told the truth by Deirdre, Tracy told Ken as he wasn't aware of Maggie's connection to Mike and Tracy thought he had a right to know. Tracy later informed Mark himself of his parentage, believing that it was too great a secret to keep from him. Maggie took exception to Tracy's actions and got revenge by telling Tracy about Deirdre's affair with Mike. Feeling betrayed, Tracy rebelled against Deirdre and, in a heated argument, called her a rotten cowing tart, earning a slap from her mother. 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 over their past disagreement. Her relationship with Deirdre was also more cordial but Tracy was growing fed up with being treated like a child and in October 1993 she abruptly moved out of No.1 to live with her new boyfriend, 22-year-old Craig Lee, refusing to pass on the address to Deirdre. Unfortunately Tracy's new life didn't last long as the lease ran out on the flat and Tracy had to turn to Deirdre, who agreed to house Tracy and Craig on the condition that they didn't get physical. Not surprisingly, Tracy took no notice of this and a month later she and Craig moved out after finding alternative accommodation.

Over the next few years, Tracy led a more independent life, usually turning up to see Deirdre or Ken when she wanted something. In 1994, she opposed Deirdre's marriage to Moroccan toyboy Samir Rachid but showed up at the wedding ceremony as a token gesture of support. The following year, Tracy was hospitalised after taking bad ecstasy in a nightclub, which resulted in kidney failure. Facing life on dialysis, Tracy wanted to die but Samir volunteered one of his kidneys when they were found to be a match for Tracy's. When Tracy awoke after the successful 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

Robert Tracy

Tracy marries Robert, 1996

In 1996, Tracy met carpet fitter Robert Preston and they decided to marry. They intended to tie the knot in London, where they were living, but on telling Ken and Deirdre the news, Tracy decided to marry in Weatherfield instead, on the cheap; she booked the Registry Office immediately and bought a £14 wedding dress from a charity shop. The wedding was a success and the Prestons returned to London.

Tracy visited Weatherfield three times over the next few years: she turned up at Deirdre and Jon Lindsay's engagement party in 1997 and gave her approval of airline pilot Jon ,who was really a con man, and then two years later 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 November 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, considering her marriage to be over, set about enjoying her newfound single status by sleeping with Dev Alahan.

To Tracy's surprise, Deirdre was against the relationship and contacted Robert, hoping to convince her to forgive him, but Robert arrived and put the Barlows straight about who had done the cheating. Tracy soon learned from Sunita Parekh that Deirdre had slept with Dev a year ago, thus explaining her attitude. After threatening to reveal the truth for a while, Tracy finally, and spitefully, forced Deirdre to confess to Ken on the day of his court hearing for assaulting Aidan Critchley. Initially angry, Ken decided to forgive Deirdre but she refused to forgive Tracy for her callous actions and threw her out of the house.

Tracy and dev

Tracy gets together with Dev, little realising that Deirdre slept with him a year before

Tracy moved in with Dev and got a job at Lucy's Florist, working for Ken's son 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 expected a marriage proposal but Dev had the opposite in mind; he admitted to Peter that Tracy wasn't marriage material, an admission which quickly 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.

2003-2004: Pregnancy

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 cast her aside and got back together with his wife Karen instead. In need of an ego boost, Tracy bet Bev Unwin 1p that she could bed Roy Cropper, the local anorak cafeowner, to prove that she could have any man she wanted. Tracy won the bet by subterfuge - she drugged Roy at Peter and Shelley's wedding reception ,using a date-rape drug stolen from a man who she stopped from slipping it to Shelley on her hen night, and took him home to No.1. When Roy woke up next to Tracy remembering nothing, he believed what Tracy told everyone - that they had slept together. Ken and Deirdre could not believe what Tracy had done to Roy and they threw her out again, telling her that of all the bad things she'd done, she had gone one step too far.

Tracy Roy

A pregnant Tracy marries Roy, 2003

A few weeks later, Tracy, who had moved in with Emily Bishop, found out she was pregnant and immediately booked an abortion. Her original intent was to keep quiet about it but, when confronted with a furious Hayley Cropper who had just found out about Roy's "infidelity", Tracy blurted out that she was pregnant with Roy's baby. As Roy and Hayley couldn't have children and had longed for one, Tracy saw an opportunity and suggested that they adopt her baby for £20,000. The Croppers agreed but tried to persuade Tracy to marry Roy to guarantee his rights over his child. Faced with a legal bill from her divorce from Robert, Tracy went through with it, marrying Roy in November, with Hayley and Ciaran McCarthy as their witnesses.

In spite of the fact that she was conning the Croppers, Tracy had 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 soon took over and she tried to get close to Steve - she got a job as a driver at his taxicab firm Street Cars and on Christmas Day told him that he was the father of her baby. As Steve was preparing for his second wedding to Karen, he warned Tracy to leave him alone. Tracy's attentions now turned to Steve as she phoned up the wedding venue and cancelled the event, pretending to be Karen, but she 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 baby girl on 9th February 2004. She was gutted when Steve claimed to feel nothing for his daughter and insisted she go through with her deal with the Croppers.

Episode 5694

Tracy ruins Steve and Karen's wedding by announcing Steve as the father of her baby, 2004

After some hesitation, Tracy handed over her daughter, whom the Croppers named Patience, but after a talk with her grandmother Blanche Hunt, Tracy decided that she was going to fight for her daughter and interrupted Steve and Karen's wedding ceremony to take her back from Roy. When a worried Steve tried to throw her out, Tracy told the guests - and Karen - 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's return. After an appeal from Ken, Roy went alone to hand Patience over to Tracy. Deciding to change Patience's name to Amy and raise her by herself, Tracy returned the Croppers' money and Roy and Hayley agreed not to battle her for custody.

2004-2005: War with Karen and Steve

Karen steve tracy

Tracy drives a wedge between Steve and Karen

Tracy resolved to bring Amy up by herself but managed to guilt Steve into paying maintenance money, although she had to agree to keep the deal a secret from Karen. Karen was suspicious of Steve anyway and, after finding out about Tracy cancelling her wedding, she 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.

However, what Tracy really wanted was for Steve to leave Karen so that they could raise Amy together as a family. Later in the year, Tracy saw that Steve and Karen were going through a bad patch and tried to drive a wedge between them by dropping her bombshell about Steve's maintenance money but to her disappointment, Karen reacted coolly and in fact the event made Karen decide to try for a baby of hers and Steve's. Tracy persevered, firstly by mocking "barren Karen", then by dumping Amy on them and refusing to take her back,(which backfired when Karen said that she and Steve would apply for custody, and finally by roping Steve into competing in the Barlow team on gameshow Top of the Tree. None of this worked and, to make matters worse, Karen later announced that she was pregnant, although she soon miscarried, to Tracy's delight. 

One consequence of the game show escapade was that the main prize - a car - was split between the Barlows and the McDonalds, with Karen laying claim on it as she had supplied the answer to the final question. Tracy knew that Steve had nearly had enough and spurred Karen on by taking the wheels off the car if Karen needed it. On Christmas Eve, Karen finally flipped and drove the car to the Red Rec, where she torched it. Tracy, who falsely believed Amy was in the burning car, stole Steve's taxi and drove back to the Street, finding Karen. She ran Karen over and then crashed the taxi into the factory, following Karen inside with the intention of killing her. She and Karen fought so bad, that Karen was going to fall off the roof of Underworld but didn't, thanks to Steve She only backed down when she discovered that Amy had been left with Roy, and to her delight the incident caused Steve to throw Karen out for good.

Tracy now 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 real father Ray when he returned to Weatherfield to get to know her after being diagnosed with 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 made 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 was enough to convince Tracy that Steve was lying about his feelings for her. Soon after, they began dating properly, 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 his idea that he be registered as Amy's real 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, which had been earmarked for Tracy, Steve and Amy. Realising that Steve was only stringing her along and getting parental rights was his true goal, Tracy refused to sign the papers and declared that Steve would never see Amy 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

Tracy went on to date mechanic Nathan Harding for a while, but he dumped her when she made nasty comments about neighbours Ashley and Claire Peacock.

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 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 murders Charlie, 2007

Tracy guilty

Tracy is found guilty of murder. She will not be eligible for parole for fifteen years

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. 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 (they had never met). 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 and, on his death, was arrested for murder.

However, this was part of Tracy's plan. Charlie's history with women and neighbours reports of their arguments and his violence worked in Tracy's favour as she claimed she attacked Charlie in self-defence. Charged and released on bail, Tracy awaited her trial and convinced the Barlows to pay for better legal aid than they could comfortably afford. Tracy's two key witnesses were David Platt, who lied that he had witnessed the row from outside (Tracy promised to sleep with him if she was found not guilty) and Deirdre, who testified as a character witness but fell apart on the stand when the prosecution made her contradict herself. Deirdre had been troubled since Tracy confessed to her that she had pretended to be abused and murdered Charlie in cold blood. Tracy was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment, which meant that she wouldn't be eligile 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, already in financial ruin because of the mess Tracy had caused them.

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 Steve's wife Becky, but upon learning that Steve and Becky were hoping to change Amy's name 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 in the same prison in remand, 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 as 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 return 2010

Tracy's release shocks family, friends and enemies

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-: 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. 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 2011 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.

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.


Steve fires Tracy and hires Stella as manager

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 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 2011, 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 2011, so went to the hotel to try and find him. 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 off with Tracy, however she refused to move out of No.13 as she now had half of it, and Steve couldn't annul the marriage as she also had to agree to it.

Steve and Tracy had spent time feuding over the house, and Steve had even got Owen Armstrong to turn it into two flats, him staying downstairs and Tracy upstairs. However, this arrangedment didn't work as Steve had access to the electricity and Tracy the heating, and would turn it off to bother each other. Steve then moved out, and moved in lodgers, 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 realize she wasn't the kind of woman he wanted and broke off with her.

In 2013 Tracy and Steve had divorced. She was reluctant to sign the papers, but was talked round by Deirdre and told to move on. Tracy then began dating Underworld Factory boss Rob Donovan who then gave her a job as a packer.


"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 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. Once she married and moved to London, she changed even more, returning to Weatherfield a grown woman. 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.


Deirdre Barlow


Tracy tells Deirdre the truth about Charlie's death in a rare moment of honesty

"Oh, Tracy!" - Deirdre Barlow

Probably Tracy's most significant relationship is with her mother Deirdre. 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 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. When Tracy found out that Deirdre and Ken's marriage had survived Deirdre's affair with Mike Baldwin, Tracy was harsh with Deirdre, feeling that she had treated Ken terribly.

Tracy learned a lot from being raised by Deirdre; while Deirdre was forgiving and easily manipulated, Tracy was usually the one manipulating, 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 the house 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.

Ken Barlow

Ken hugs tracy

Tracy and Ken in happier times

Tracy took after her father Ray more than she did Deirdre, inheriting his laid back, unfeeling, somewhat aggressive attitide. 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.

Even though Tracy wasn't his daughter, Ken had a larger role in her upbringing than he did for any of his four biological children (although in a strange coincidence, Ken was also Tracy's godfather). 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 remains shocked at the depths Tracy sinks to while Ken is merely dismayed that Tracy is putting her loved ones through hell yet again. Ken usually tries to stay out of arguments unless absolutely necessary as he's aware that Deirdre will probably take Tracy's side and further arguments will only ensue. However, as Ken is less blind to Tracy's faults, Tracy respects him more and his disapproval has more effect on her.

Tracy was also close to Ken's children Susan and Peter Barlow. Tracy mainly knew Susan when she was little and was a bridesmaid at her wedding to Mike Baldwin. Tracy played a large part in Peter's life when she found out that he 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.

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 putdowns of people. In 1996, Blanche paid her first visit to the Street in 15 years especially 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).

When Tracy decided to keep hers and Steve's baby, Blanche bought No.7, hoping that Tracy would settle down and 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 - on 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.

Emily Bishop

"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. 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 when 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 Emily's 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 most people.

Steve McDonald

Steve mcdonald tracy

Steve's passion for Tracy lasted for one night - here, he plays Tracy at her own game to get his name on Amy's birth certificate

The father of Amy, Steve McDonald moved to Coronation Street in 1989 and was three years older than Tracy. 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.

In recent years, Steve has taken a bigger part in Tracy's life. He is perhaps her greatest love (apart from herself) but aside from one fateful night, Steve has never been interested in Tracy, and prior to 2007 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.

Tracy and Steve married in January 2012 after Tracy had suffered a miscarriage whilst carrying their twins.

Ciaran McCarthy

Tracy had a brief but fiery relationship with restaurant chef Ciaran McCarthy in 2004. When Ciaran bought a restaurant with the help of a £50,000 investment from Penny King, Tracy took a fancy to him. However, his venture never took off and he was forced to sell the restaurant 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 first job was at Maggie Redman's flower shop, where she started working at fifteen. After leaving school, Tracy continued at Maggie's shop full-time and remained there when Maggie sold the shop to a new owner. While she never indicated any passion for the work, Tracy later worked at Lucy's Florist in 2003 but was sacked when Lucy found out that Tracy knew that Peter was still seeing both Lucy and Shelley. In 2010, Tracy expressed an interest in buying Elliott & Son Butcher Shop and turning it into her own flower shop but the owner Claire Peacock refused to sell to Tracy as she hated her.

Tracy also briefly worked behind the bar at the Rovers Return, but only lasted a day as landlady Shelley sacked her for being lazy and helping herself to drinks. She also worked at Peter's bookies for a short time but didn't get on with her co-worker Sally Webster, and Sally eventually sacked Tracy for skiving. A short career as a cab driver for Street Cars followed, which got off to a bad start when Tracy was cheated out of her fare by a plastic dummy on her first day. Tracy enjoyed the work but her real goal at the time was to get close to Steve, and so when she started coming between Steve and Karen, Steve sacked her.

She worked briefly at Prima Doner with Ryan Connor in 2012. She now works in packing at Underworld.

Background information

Four tracys

The four Tracy Barlows

  • Tracy Barlow (then Langton) first appeared in Episode 1672 on 24th January 1977, where she was played by Christabel Finch, who was 15 days old when her first scenes were recorded. Tracy was the first baby born to two Coronation Street characters since Peter and Susan Barlow in April 1965. Finch shared a dressing room with Anne Kirkbride.
  • In a later interview, Finch reflected on her time in 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?'" [1]
  • Finch played the role of Tracy until latter 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. In his 1990 memoirs Coronation Street: The Inside Story, then-Executive Producer Bill Podmore revealed that this was a conscious decision, so that the re-appearance of Tracy 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's reaction was only a way of having a small dig at the producers for being caught unprepared by Finch's abrupt departure.
  • Holly Chamarette was the second actress to play Tracy, first appearing in Episode 2532 on 8th July 1985. Chamarette 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 part and choose a different career.
  • Tracy returned in Episode 2890 on 12th December 1988, now played by a third actress, Dawn Acton. As played by Acton, Tracy took on larger role in the programme, playing a key part in Ken and Deirdre's divorce.
  • 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 returned as Tracy in 1996, 1997 and last appeared as Tracy in Episode 4696 on 10th October 1999.
  • 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. 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 were very popular, with Tracy interrupting Steve and Karen McDonald's wedding and naming Steve as the father of her daughter Amy gaining 16.3 million viewers, the highest rated episode of 2004.
  • Kate Ford decided to leave the role in 2007. Tracy's exit storyline was the murder of Charlie Stubbs and Tracy being sent to prison. Also notable is that Episode 6519, transmitted on 25th March 2007 and featuring Tracy's confession to Deirdre that she was guilty of murder, was one of two Coronation Street episodes to feature only two characters.
  • Tracy returned again in May 2010 for a short storyline with Gail McIntyre, who had been wrongly incarcerated 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 when 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 re-appeared in Episode 7497 on 24th December 2010.

See also

External links

Current characters
Ken Barlow | Rita Tanner | Peter Barlow | Gail Rodwell | Tracy McDonald | Audrey Roberts | Nick Tilsley | Kevin Webster | Jenny Connor | Sally Metcalfe | Sarah Barlow | Liz McDonald | Steve McDonald | David Platt | Norris Cole | Sophie Webster | Daniel Osbourne | Roy Cropper | Leanne Battersby | Toyah Battersby | Tyrone Dobbs | Dev Alahan | Eileen Grimshaw | Maria Connor | Kirk Sutherland | Adam Barlow | Fiz Stape | Simon Barlow | Sean Tully | Chesney Brown | Amy Barlow | Aadi Alahan | Asha Alahan | Ryan Connor | Carla Connor | Gary Windass | Mary Taylor | Liam Connor | Claudia Colby | Brian Packham | Izzy Armstrong | Max Turner | Jack Webster | Hope Stape | Faye Windass | Beth Sutherland | Craig Tinker | Joseph Brown | Ruby Dobbs | Tim Metcalfe | Jake Windass | Lily Platt | Alya Nazir | Yasmeen Metcalfe | Gemma Winter | Billy Mayhew | Cathy Matthews | Alex Warner | Johnny Connor | Harry Platt | Seb Franklin | Shona Platt | Oliver Battersby | Summer Spellman | Moira Pollock | Abi Franklin | Imran Habeeb | Geoff Metcalfe | Emma Brooker | Paul Foreman | Paula Martin | Evelyn Plummer | Bertie Osbourne | James Bailey | Ed Bailey | Michael Bailey | Aggie Bailey | Bernie Winter | Aled Winter-Brown | Bryn Winter-Brown | Carys Winter-Brown | Llio Winter-Brown | Nina Lucas
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