Wilfred Perkins was the headmaster of Bessie Street School in the early 1970s, during the period when Ken Barlow was deputy head.

Despite his gruff appearance, Perkins was an amiable leader, often seen joking with staff and occasionally entertaining them at his home. As a teacher, Perkins strictly observed the national curriculum, but was willing to bend the rules if it meant keeping the parents happy. His approach was the opposite of Ken's, as the new deputy head discovered when he started working there in January 1972, having previously taught English and History there between 1962 and 1964. On his first day, Ken was reprimanded for not attending assembly, told off for going off on a tangent by teaching the children about World War I, and being too weak on discipline.

One of Ken's most disruptive pupils was Terry Bates. When Terry was given detention by Ken, Perkins overruled him and let Terry go as he was responsible for taking his younger sister Doreen home while his parents worked. Taking an interest in the boy, Ken found out that his parents weren't around much and told him to ask his mother Rita Bates not to work him so hard. Rita saw Perkins to complain about Ken's interference, and Ken was ordered to let the matter drop. Over the next few weeks, Ken and Rita developed a close relationship, but despite the children gossiping about it, with Perkins catching Mark Hillkirk writing "Barlamb fancies Terry Bate's Mam" on the blackboard, Ken and Rita assured him that there was nothing between them.

In April, Perkins made Ken sports master for an upcoming football match between Bessie Street and Regent's Road. Perkins placed a friendly wager on the result against his counterpart from Regent's Road, James Dawson, and watched the lads play from the sidelines. The team won the match, beating Regent's Road for the first time in ten years.

In July 1973, Perkins held a soiree for the teachers at his home, celebrating the end of another school year. There, he introduced Ken to his daughter Elaine. Ken and Elaine took to each other immediately - a situation which pleased Perkins. They had a brief friendship but stopped seeing each other when Ken fell for Elaine, who did not reciprocate his feelings.

Nearly a year later, Ken was offered a job as an executive at the Mark Brittain Warehouse by Sir Julius Berlin, who had been impressed by him when he came to the warehouse to pass on the local residents' complaints about the increased lorry activity in Coronation Street. As the job would represent a significant career change for him, Ken took a few days to think it over. Perkins was surprised that Ken was considering selling himself for an extra £1,000 and a company car, and said as much to Ken's wife Janet, hoping that she would talk him out of it. In fact, Ken hadn't told Janet about the job, and upon learning about it she was greatly in favour of Ken accepting. Ultimately, Ken took the job and left teaching after twelve years.

Perkins was a widower and also had a son, who lived in London.

The character was often credited as "Mr Perkins".

List of appearances




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