Coronation Street star Alex Bain reflects on violent Simon Barlow story

Coronation Street spoilers follow.

Alex Bain has looked back on one of his Coronation Street character Simon Barlow's most violent storylines ahead of his exit.

While the character is off to join his father Peter Barlow on his yacht, it didn't always seem like Simon's story would have a happy ending.

In 2015, Coronation Street aired an issue-based storyline where young Simon started becoming physically abusive to his mother Leanne Battersby.

Reflecting on that storyline, Alex said: "The biggest one for me really and the one that had the most impact was the domestic violence storyline with Simon physically abusing his mum. It was incredible to be able to work with Jane on that and I was proud to be able to highlight an issue that not many people talk about.

"But it is more common than you think and I had lots of people telling me that they had gone through the same thing even people that I know. It was a difficult storyline to work on but I am really proud of what we did. Simon had been through so much in his life and he had lost his way and that is how it manifested itself. Very sad but very believable."

Leanne is honest with Simon

Related: Best streaming services 2024 — including Disney Plus, Netflix, iPlayer and Apple TV+

The actor went on: "Another one was the storyline of Simon being bullied. That one really resonated with me as I could identify with what Simon was going through because I was bullied when I was younger. I was a boy and I was a ballet dancer and kids can be very cruel and naïve.

"As someone who was bullied to be able to bring my own experience into the storyline was incredible. I did a scene in the Bistro where Simon had been put in a dress and had make-up all over his face and I felt the emotion that Simon felt because I knew how he felt. "

A few years later, Simon and his mother Leanne were drawn into the county lines drug trade by the villainous Harvey Gaskell — leading to Natasha Blakeman's tragic death.

"The county lines drug storyline was another one that was important to tell and again it was easy to see how Simon could find himself caught up in that," Alex said. "He was looking for his tribe, he wanted to belong but he ended up in an awful situation that put people in real danger."

simon barlow and jacob hay in coronation street

Along the way, Alex has had a chance to learn from some of the most acclaimed soap actors as part of Coronation Street over the past 16 years.

"[I've learned from] Chris [Gascoyne], Jane [Danson] and definitely Bill [Roache], to see someone of his age coming to set every day and still be on top of his game is awesome," he said. "Working with adults every day from a young age definitely made me grow up and mature quickly and learn so much. I could list so many people, not just actors, but directors, people on the crew, they have all shaped my life."

The actor confirmed that he's been able to take the most recognisable part of Simon's wardrobe with him after leaving the show.

simon barlow in coronation street

"I have got his fake leather jacket, I was determined to keep that," Alex said. "It even has ‘Simon’ written on the label inside and I will keep that in there as it makes me smile. I have also taken Simon’s name tag from the mirror in my dressing room.

"And I have taken his belt as it is the only belt that has ever fitted me properly without having to put extra holes in. I have got his belt, jacket, his name off the mirror and lots of amazing memories."

This pivotal moment in Alex's career was a perfect time for him to reflect on joining Coronation Street as a 6-year-old child in 2008.

"I was only 6 when I started but I remember doing the scene with Chris where we are getting out of the taxi and he says 'Let’s go in and give them the shock of their lives'," he recalled. "My first word was ‘tired’. At that age you don't realise the enormity of what it means to be joining one of the longest-running shows in the world and be part of the family that were in the first episode in 1960.

peter barlow and simon barlow in coronation street

"Obviously I came to appreciate that as I got older and also to have the privilege of working with some amazing actors. I remember my first scene with Anne Kirkbride, she was so kind and helpful, she looked at me after the scene and said ‘You will go far’. That has always stayed with me."

Alex also looked back on how he'd landed the coveted soap role, saying: "When I was little my mum and dad took me to do some professional photos and the photographer asked if it would be OK to give my details to an agent as he thought I would be good as a child model. The agent got in touch and signed me up and I have been with them ever since.

"I did some photographic jobs, a couple of commercials including one for Rice Crispies and then a role in Sunshine alongside Bernard Hill.

simon barlow, leanne battersby, coronation street

"My agent then called my mum and said there was a role for a child my age in Coronation Street so I went through the audition process and the list kept getting shorter and shorter until my agent called and said I had got the part. That was a huge moment for my mum and dad coming from a Northern working-class background and suddenly you are taking your son to work alongside Ken Barlow!"

Simon Barlow's final scenes will air next week.

Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm on ITV1 and streams on ITVX.

Read more Coronation Street spoilers on our dedicated homepage

If you've been affected by any of the issues raised in this story, organisations including Refuge ( and Women's Aid ( can provide further support and information. The 24-hour, freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline is 0808 2000 247. The US National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or text LOVEIS to 22522.

You Might Also Like