Vivian Barford was an old friend of Alf Roberts who was very big in WARTS (Weatherfield Association of Retail Traders and Stockholders). Vivian had known Alf since at least 1987, when her husband Desmond died and she emigrated to Spain although she later returned.
In March 1991, Vivian drove Alf home from a WARTS function at which he had given a speech as President of the association. Vivian spent the journey complimenting Alf, comparing him favourably with the "shilly-shallying" midgets at Weatherfield Town Hall. When she learned that he was no longer on the council, Vivian told Alf it was his duty to stand in the upcoming elections and remarked that he needed look no further for somebody to lick his envelopes.
Her words got through to the former Councillor as he soon afterwards announced that he was standing as an Independent. Vivian turned up at the Corner Shop to congratulate Alf and put her foot in it by assuming his wife Audrey to be a regular employee. A few days before the election, Alf took part in a radio call-in show about the retail trade on Radio Weatherfield where one of the callers, a Mr Owens (really Phil Jennings) asked him about his late-night deliveries to Nightingale Lane and Mrs Barford. Phil was working on Alf's rival Deirdre Barlow's campaign and was hoping to damage his campaign by spreading the word about Alf's "other woman". The truth was that Alf was dropping Vivian off at her house after WART meetings as a favour to his old friend Desmond. Audrey believed Alf but her patience wore thin when Vivian supported Alf alongside her at the Town Hall on election day. Alf won with over 1,200 votes and as he took to the podium to thank his voters, Vivian and Audrey shoved each other aside to stand next to him, causing Audrey to walk out.
A few weeks later, Vivian made a badly-timed visit to Alf's house while Alf was in the bath. Audrey saw them together and assumed something was going on as Alf was in his robe, causing her the next day to change the locks and demand a divorce.
In August of that year, Vivian dressed as Britannia on the WARTS float at the Weatherfield Carnival. Standing in for Alf, Percy Sugden caused a ruckus when, started by Phyllis Pearce, he knocked Vivian off her chair, bringing the Union Jack down on both of them.
In May 1993, Vivian called to see Alf when she heard on the grapevine that he was retiring. Vivian later gave him the news that he was being made an honorary life member of WARTS - much to Audrey's horror.
- The character was credited as "Mrs Barford" in Episode 3200 (15th March 1991), Episode 3203 (22nd March 1991) and Episode 3241 (19th June 1991), "Vivienne Barford" in Episode 3221 (3rd May 1991), Episode 3271 (28th August 1991) and Episode 3272 (30th August 1991), and "Vivian Barford" in both of her 1993 appearances.