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Some dark parts of Chris Gascoyne’s life have been mirrored in his character’s storylines – but certainly not his love life.
The Coronation Street star became the seventh actor to take on the role of Peter Barlow in 2000.
Wayward Peter has had a chequered love life over the years, bedding half of the Street, having affairs and even becoming a bigamist at one stage.
“It’s odd because I’ve never been like that at all,” admitted Chris in 2010, who has been with wife Caroline Harding for nearly 20 years.
“When I was younger it wasn’t for want of trying, but I’d be the bloke at the bus stop at the end of the night on his own with a kebab.”
Caroline has actually appeared in Corrie multiple times over the years, but the vast majority of fans would have had no idea she was Chris’ beloved wife.
The couple first met in 2000 when they went to see their mutual friend Catherine Tate performing at London’s Comedy Store.
Chris spotted Caroline during the interval but thought she was with her partner, so was thrilled to discover it was just a friend when she came over to chat at the end.
They went for a walk through Soho together and Chris was gutted he didn’t get her number, but thankfully he managed to get it from Catherine and they started seeing each other.
Caroline has played four different characters in Emmerdale and appeared in Weatherfield twice in 2015 as the doctor who diagnosed Hope Stape’s cancer.
Most recently, Caroline played Dr Howarth, who treated dying Oliver Battersby and told the court it would be an act of kindness and compassion to switch off his life support.
Chris is step dad to Caroline’s two sons, Pip and Freddie, from her previous marriage to Line of Duty star Jason Watkins.
Together they are also parents to daughter Belle and got married in 2002. They now live in Manchester close to where Corrie is filmed.
“If someone had said to me in my 20s that I’d have dated a divorced mum with kids, I would have said no way,” explained Chris in 2010.
“But it kind of made me feel closer to her. It was a very real relationship very quickly. I saw this amazing strength in her and I loved her kids Freddie and Pip.”
Peter has battled with alcohol addiction for many years and is currently in desperate need of a liver transplant, or it may be the end of Chris on the soap.
The actor actually drew from his own experiences with booze to portray Peter’s frightening downfall on-screen.
“I’ve kind of been there myself – when I was younger I did used to drink an awful lot. I think you get seduced by it when you’re a young actor,” he said during a 2010 interview.
“You’re surrounded by a drinking culture and it’s almost a romantic thing. Everywhere you go it’s there.
“I still like a night out, but it had gone past that to a pointless place where I was looking always to seek oblivion in it. You come home and you’re hung over and you get drinker’s guilt. You feel depressed and ill and wonder what you’ve said to people.
“Then you vow never to do it again, until it gets to opening time and then you think you’ll have a drink and those feelings stop.
“It went on for a good 10 years, but after a while I realised I was drinking for reasons that were no longer social. It was no longer purely about having a good time.
“I was never an alcoholic, but a lot of us have problems with alcohol – anything that affects your life or your judgement is a problem.”
His days of drinking began when he left drama school in the early 90s, but in 2002 Chris decided to put his party lifestyle behind him, partly due to meeting Caroline.
“I kept looking back and realised any mistakes I made could be put down to alcohol,” he confessed.
“I had said things to people and done things I wouldn’t have done if I’d been sober.
“And when you realise that, it spoils your drinking. You can still drink a bit, but not to the same level. Meeting my wife was part of me changing, but mainly it was a realisation in myself that drinking was making me unhappy.
“Before I would drink to all hours of the morning and wouldn’t really question it. But now it gets to midnight and I get slightly scared and have to go home. I know when I’ve had enough.
“I’m not teetotal, but I drink very rarely now.”
Chris has given everything to the role of Peter and even gone “full method” for his current storyline by drastically losing weight in real life to mirror his character’s deterioration from alcoholism
As well as being a challenging time for Peter, it will test Chris’ limits in real life too with doctors advising to make sure he does no long term damage to his body in the coming months.
“Peter is obviously a very self destructive character, and I think his self destruction will be taken to new depths with this chapter of his addiction story,” said Corrie boss Ian MacLeod at the start of the year.
“And having been speaking to Chris Gascoyne who plays Peter, he’s very keen to go full method actor and really immerse himself in Peter’s physical deterioration this time.
“We’re having discussions with doctors and nutritionists about how we can best represent Peter’s current fall from grace and make it as visually shocking and realistic as possible.
“So we’re really going to town with this. Peter’s been told many times that ‘Your next drink could kill you’.
“And we felt that actually, it’s time we had to sort of make good on that to a degree and go right to the end with what would happen to Peter and his body now, if he hit the bottle again.”
Chris’ future on the soap might be in doubt as Peter is set to go missing this week when he discovers Adam has pulled out of being a donor for his liver transplant.
After facing opposition from wife Sarah Platt, Adam decided he couldn’t donate part of his organ to his uncle.
Acting frosty with Sarah, furious Carla claims Adam has all but signed Peter’s death warrant by pulling out of the transplant.
When Daniel breaks the news to Peter that that unfortunately his liver isn’t compatible, the recovering alcoholic feels hopeless and does a disappearing act.
The transplant centre manages to find a compatible liver for Peter but he is nowhere to be seen.
Will Peter be found before it’s too late? And will any operation be a success?
*Coronation Street airs tonight on ITV at 7.30 and 8.30pm
This content was originally published here.