Coronation Street legend Ken Barlow has become Soapland's most unlikely villain in recent weeks. The patriarch of Weatherfield's most famous family has gone from upstanding pillar of the community to a bitter, spiteful old meanie – he's made so many enemies that half the street is now a suspect in his attempted murder.
But before you start accusing Corrie of turning Mr Barlow into a baddie purely as a convenient plot device to justify the 'Who Pushed Ken?' mystery, we're here to tell you that the show's longest-serving character has had a dark side all along.
Stick with us. Yes, he's the moral guardian of the cobbles, but he's no angel. In 57 years on screen, he's racked up a few mistakes he'd rather us forget that prove he's got an evil streak…
1. He's a serial cheater
Ken's luck with the ladies is one of his most famous traits, but he's not been the most faithful of partners. He cheated on first wife Valerie several times, and his long-running romance with the much-missed Deirdre was beset by cheating on both sides. He betrayed her with Wendy Crozier (boring buttoned-up secretary on the local paper) and Martha Fraser (bohemian washed-up actress who lived on a barge).
Neither were a patch on the amazing Deirdre. Shame on you, Barlow.
2. He neglected Deirdre
Talking of Deirdre, Ken's treatment of the late great Corrie icon deserves its own mention. Yes she famously cheated on Ken with cocky Mike Baldwin – but why? Because she was unfulfilled with stuffy old Ken who didn't give her enough attention, that's why. And he has the cheek to slag her off to Sinead, claiming she held him back and he wasted his life being with her.
So why didn't he just let her marry Mike? She would've had a darn sight more fun, and nicer holidays. Or even shack up with Dev? Actually, we don't want to think about Dev and Deirdre doing anything together ever again, thanks.
3. He's a snob
And he always was, clashing with his working class family in the soap's very first episode in 1960 and rejecting his roots ever since. He even wrote a magazine article in the early days of the show, bitching up his small-minded, uneducated neighbours. (Bet that earned him a few dirty looks in The Rovers.)
Ken's snobbery about his background stems from his frustrations as a politically-engaged young clever clogs, who felt he was cleverer than anyone else on the street (he was the first resident to go to university) and could've achieved great things.
When son Daniel got offered a place at Oxford recently, Ken's mix of manic pride and secret jealousy showed how he still resents spending his life in Weatherfield. Would you like salt and vinegar with that massive chip on your shoulder, Ken?
4. He's got a temper
For someone so famously mild-mannered, Kenneth has some deep-rooted anger issues – he can be downright vicious in verbal fights and over the years it's boiled over into occasional violence, with many a thump dished out to arch enemy Mike Baldwin.
He also displayed an aggressive streak towards second wife Janet (he was briefly suspected of murdering her when she took her own life) and even Deirdre after discovering her dalliance with Mike. He also punched a pupil during his teaching career, battering bad boy Aidan Critchely after being seriously wound up by the teenage tearaway. And this is the man who kept saying the pen is mightier than the sword…
5. He abandoned most of his kids
Following Valerie's death, Ken couldn't hack it as a single dad, so twins Peter and Susan were packed off to their grandparents in Scotland for most of their childhood. He barely saw dorky Daniel when he was growing up and hadn't clapped eyes on him for almost a decade before reconnecting last year.
And nobody mentions Lawrence, the grown-up son who was already 50 by the time Ken even knew of his existence in 2010 when they met (he wasn't particularly nice, but he's still his son). Despite adopted daughter Tracy feeling hard done by, she's the only one Ken actually bothered bringing up.
6. He's been in prison
You read that right: Ken Barlow was actually banged up once. It was for demonstrating against the Vietnam war and, okay, it was only for seven days. And yes, it was way back in 1967. But it's an actual crime! Told you Ken always had an edge…
Digital Spy Soap Scoop video – hit play below for all the latest Coronation Street gossip, as Ken Barlow's attack leads to a huge whodunit mystery on the cobbles.
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