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Carla Barlow (née Donovan, previously Gordon and Connor) is a character Coronation Street from 2006 to 2016 and from 2017-. Carla was the co-owner of the Underworld factory. She first appeared in December 2006 and was involved in some very high profile storylines such as her involvement with Frank Foster and Peter Barlow. Carla was branded a modern day Elsie Tanner due to her ferocity but vulnerability. Carla left in Ep 8914 (26 May 2016) after she cheated on Nick Tilsley and he jilted her at their wedding. She returned to the series on Christmas, 2017. Carla is the older half sister of Rob Donovan.



In a sense of irony, Carla found out that she was actually a Connor by blood as well as marriage as her father was Johnny Connor, a distant cousin of Carla's late husband Paul Connor. Carla's mother Sharon Donovan and the Connors had been neighbours for decades.

Carla is played by Alison King.

Biography[]

Backstory[]

Carla Donovan was born on the 3rd January 1975. She was the daughter of Sharon Donovan. Carla's father was Sharon's friend Johnny Connor. The Connors and Donovans were neighbours. Carla was registered as Carla Donovan on her birth certificate. Father's name left blank. Sharon had another son Rob Donovan in about 1977 after a fling with another man. Sharon later married a man called George who used to beat Carla and Rob up. Sharon was a drug dealer. In about 1992, Carla started dating her neighbour Paul Connor, unaware she was a distant relative of his. They moved away from the area but did not marry until 1999. They never had any children.

2006–2009[]

Carla Connor in 2010

Carla Connor arrived in 2006. She soon became acquainted with Underworld after her and husband Paul Connor bought a share there. She later found out that Paul had been sleeping with prostitutes, and that he had recently ran into Leanne Battersby who was a client although they didn't have sexual intercourse. Carla called an end to their marriage and a vengeful Paul kidnapped Leanne and bundled her into the boot of his car, but he ended up crashing when speeding down the road. Leanne recovered but Paul later died in hospital. Although Carla was upset with Leanne the pair would later make up and become friends.

Carla began to date client Tony Gordon, which made Liam Connor jealous causing him to propose to his girlfriend Maria Sutherland. Although Carla started a serious relationship with Tony, her and Liam still had strong feelings for each other, but Maria ended up marrying him in February 2008. Carla later got engaged to Tony, and forced Liam out of the company by making him sell his share to Tony. With Tony now involved in the business, he made plans to expand the company so he and Carla can retire early as millionaires. Tony began to make enemies with street residents, especially business owners such as Norris Cole and Kevin Webster, as he wanted his hands on their businesses to expand the factory. But a lot of factors led to Tony not succeeding, such as the likes of Kevin and Norris refusing to sell and then the 2008 economic crash meaning Tony was unable to sell a lot of his properties just developed.

Carla continued an affair with Liam, which was secretly recorded by her personal assistant Rosie Webster. Rosie showed the footage to Tony, who then arranged to have Liam killed during Tony's stag night, although managed to make it look like a hit and run accident. Carla ended up leaving for a break to Los Angeles, which upset Tony as he hoped that getting Liam out of the way would mean she would remain with him. But Carla returned and the pair went ahead and got married in December 2008. They went away on their honeymoon, unaware at the time that Sally Webster had shown Maria footage of Liam kissing Carla, as revenge towards Carla for making a remark towards her family at the reception after husband Kevin Webster accidentally spilt drink on Carla's dress.

Carla and Tony returned to the street in which Maria claimed that Tony had Liam killed. Tony was questioned by the police over the accusations but let go due to lack of evidence, although Maria continued the campaign. Carla grew fed up with Maria's harassment and wanted her charged, but Tony refused to do so. Carla assumed that Tony was going soft and taking pity on Maria, unaware that he was simply being easy on her due to it being the truth. In January 2009 an emotional Maria attempted to kill Tony by running him over in the street, but he survived. Carla wanted charges pressed against Maria for attempted murder, but Tony refused and he stated that Maria simply needed help. When Maria accused Tony of killing his enemy Jed Stone, Tony presented the old man to the Rovers Return, and Jed revealed he was living safe and well in a flat in Wigan provided by Tony. Carla felt satisfied that Maria was proven to be wrong, although she herself had suspicions of Tony when seeing him bundle Jed into a taxi and threatening him to not return to Weatherfield again.

Carla secretly traveled to Wigan to confront Jed about the situation and took him out for dinner and a few drinks. Jed insisted that there was nothing wrong with Tony. Carla felt she had misunderstood her husband, but this was quickly erased when Jed loosened his scarf revealing scarring around his neck, which was from when Tony strangled him the previous month. Carla attempted to probe Jed further but he fled into the night out of fear. The following day Carla asked Tony about it, and he claimed that Jed tried to commit suicide by hanging due to Tony's past mistreatment of him, and that Tony gave him the flat and money out of guilt. Carla initially believed Tony, but was again suspicious after hearing Jed was suddenly in hospital after suffering a heart attack and hearing that it was after an altercation with someone. Tony's lack of care about the situation also aroused her suspicions. She confronted Tony's henchman Jimmy Dockerson about the incident but he refused to give answers.

Tony came to realisation that Carla was onto him. He let the workers off for the day and when Carla arrived back at the factory, he locked her inside so they can talk. He ended up confessing to Carla that he did indeed kill Liam. Carla was in shock. Carla embraced Tony and whispered to him that she could never forgive him, before then kneeing him in the groin. She then used the opportunity to flee the factory and got into her car. Tony tried to stop her by jumping on the front windscreen, but Carla sped off into the rainy night, leaving a torn Tony behind sobbing in the street.

After leaving Carla moved to Los Angeles. She chose not to report Tony to the police, and intended to settle down for good in America. She contacted her old friend Luke Strong to run her share of the factory while she was away, although she later sold it to him. She then sent Tony divorce papers, signalling the end of their marriage.

In October 2009, eight months following her departure, Carla learned from Leanne that Tony and Maria were in a relationship and got engaged, having patched up their differences following Carla's exit. Carla was enraged at Tony's actions and returned to Weatherfield, with a plan to get Tony out of town. She contacted Luke demanding her shares back. He complied, and then fled the country after stealing money from Rosie Webster. On the day of Liam Connor Jr.'s christening, Carla contacted Tony to meet him by Liam's graveside. She blackmailed Tony and told him to sign over his share of Underworld and to leave town for good, or she would go to the police. Later that night she waited at her flat for Tony to arrive and sign the papers, but he was a no show. Carla went to bed, but was awakened when the buzzer went. Assuming it was Tony she let him in, only to be confronted by Jimmy, who was sent by Tony to kill her. The pair struggled but Carla gained the upper hand by hitting him with a candlestick, knocking Jimmy out cold. Tony arrived shortly afterwards and claimed he knew nothing about it, stating that Jimmy must have found out about her being back in town. Tony declared Jimmy dead and covered him with a sheet. He told Carla that he would dispose of the body as long as she left town. Heartbroken that Tony was getting away with it, Carla complied out of fear of being arrested and left Weatherfield to return to the United States. Unaware to Carla, Jimmy wasn't dead. Tony then got Jimmy to leave town as he was now a "dead man".

A month later, Carla returned after discovering Tony had been arrested and charged with Liam's murder after confessing to the police. She attended his court hearing in which Tony smiled at her, causing Michelle Connor to assume Tony was smirking at her and her son Ryan Connor, leading to her to scream at Tony at spit at him. Carla tried to deny any knowledge of knowing what Tony had done, although the police ended up questioning her when they arrested Jimmy and he confessed to Carla's return the month prior and him attacking her. Carla confessed she knew, but fled out of fear of Tony. Michelle later found out about this and angrily confronted Carla in the street. Carla went to visit Tony in prison, and when he asked her if Maria would ever forgive him he told her there wouldn't be a chance of it happening.

2010–2012[]

Carla started a relationship with binman Trevor Dean. They first met when he visited Underworld and saw her cleaning the floor and assumed she was a cleaner, although he later found out she was the boss. Despite their differences in careers Carla was interested in Trevor and they started a relationship. Carla later sold Tony's shares of Underworld to Nick Tilsley.

In June 2010 she was involved in a hostage situation when Tony broke out of prison, then kidnapped her and Hayley with the intent of killing them in a blaze inside Underworld. But Carla begged Tony to release Hayley, which he did. During the blaze Carla manged to untie herself and fought Tony. Using all her remaining strength, she managed to shoot Tony and flee the factory. Tony decided to remain in the factory and perished in the blaze. Following the incident Carla and Trevor took a break away from the street, leaving Nick to deal with the ramifications of the destroyed factory and the staff being out of work.

When Carla returned she found that Nick had started up his own clothing firm and hired all of the staff. Carla hoped to be involved, but Nick didn't want her. Carla managed to convince Nick's client (whom she knew) to do a deal with her instead, which forced Nick to return to co-running Underworld with her. The factory was eventually rebuilt and they returned there. Carla got Trevor involved in the business and got him a job in the office, although it was way out of his depth due to lack of experience. Trevor and Nick were frequently arguing with each other, which later led to Trevor punching Nick in the factory and quitting his job. Trevor broke off with Carla when it became clear she still had feelings for Liam, and he departed the street to go traveling. Nick later sold back his shares to set up a bar on Viaduct Street, and Carla later employed Michelle as a personal assistant, with their previous dislike towards each other now water under the bridge.

Carla began to rely on drinking heavily to cope with her demons, and she ended up being stopped by the police. She contacted Leanne's partner Peter Barlow for support, as he was an alcoholic himself. Although Peter was engaged to Leanne him and Carla grew close and developed feelings of each other. The history with Liam Connor appeared to be repeating itself. Peter was caught up in the tram crash at Nick's new bar which left him badly injured. On the night of the incident a shaken and emotional Carla expressed her feelings for Peter to Leanne, causing Leanne to slap her.

After Michelle left with Ciaran McCarthy Carla employed Maria as her new personal assistant, again repeating her same mistakes as Maria wasn't qualified for the job due to just being a hairdresser at Audrey Roberts' salon. When they got a new client named Frank Foster, Carla set up a meeting for them both and asked Maria to dress really nice in order to impress Frank. But this caused an issue when Frank tried to force himself upon Maria, causing her to flee his home in panic and feel uneasy being around him. Maria informed Carla that Frank attempted to rape her. Carla wasn't pleased with Frank's behaviour and confronted him. Frank said that he would take his business elsewhere, which forced Maria to play down the situation for the sake of getting the contract and keeping the workers employed. As the incident was just played down to being him making a drunken pass Carla softened up to Frank, and later allowed him to buy a share in the factory. Maria wasn't pleased as she had hoped Frank would have moved on following the deal. She later quit, and her boyfriend Chris Gray assaulted Frank at the factory.

Carla continued to struggle with drinking problems and her love for Peter. Frank's support for her caused the pair to enter into a relationship and later get engaged. But Carla continued to have an affair with Peter. One night an emotional Carla got drunk at the rebuilt Joinery bar and got into a car, and ended up running over Stella Price (Leanne's mother) and crashing into Peter's bookies. Frank retrieved Carla from the car and placed her into the passenger's seat, and told the police he was the driver, so Carla wouldn't be charged and possibly imprisoned for not having a license. Frank got points on his license for dangerous driving but wasn't given a prison sentence, which spared Carla. Despite her gratitude, Carla decided to call off their wedding as she realised she didn't love him. Frank deduced her feelings for Peter and angry and jealous he proceeded to rape Carla. He then left the flat and put on an innocent image to the neighbours of Coronation Street by buying a bottle of wine from the Corner Shop. Carla phoned Maria who came to her aid, and they phoned the police. When the police were inquiring with Carla Frank returned home and acted oblivious to her accusations. He was arrested and charged for rape and held on remand.

2013–2016[]

In 2013, she married Peter Barlow but the marriage was short lived. He had cheated on her with Tina McIntyre. In 2014, Carla found out that Rob had killed Tina, Tina threatened to expose him for his dodgy deals. Rob hit her with a metal bar, killing her. He then hid the bar. Rob later confessed and Carla said he need to go to prison and do his time, Rob was later jailed.

2015 brought an unusually dramatic year for Carla. At the beginning she was involved in a minibus crash and nearly went over the edge of a quarry, if it wasn't for her being dragged out by Tracy Barlow. Although she was grateful towards Tracy for saving her life, Tracy still blamed Carla for "ruining" her wedding and having Rob arrested (even though Tracy set him up to the police in the end).

Four-months following the crash Carla offered to buy Liz McDonald's share of the Rovers Return as she planned to leave with her boyfriend Tony Stewart (not knowing he was seeing Tracy and tried to obtain her share and run the pub with Tracy). Tracy was devastated that her plans were scuppered, and believing Carla deliberately set out to ruin her (despite not knowing of the scheme) she broke into Carla's flat when she was asleep on intent of killing her. But Tracy fled when she heard a toilet flush (unknowingly it was her daughter Amy) and left a candle burning. The flat went up in flames, and although Carla and Amy were saved both Kal Nazir and Maddie Heath perished. Carla blamed herself thinking she left the candle burning and went through months of guilt, which resulted in her drinking and gambling and pushing away her boyfriend Nick Tilsley. Carla later decided to end her life by driving to the quarry with Tracy and standing on the edge, which forced Tracy to confess to Carla she left the candle burning. Carla was relieved to know the truth, and although she couldn't prove Tracy indirectly started the fire her conscious was clear.

But more heartbreak was in store before the year was even out. In December 2015 she discovered that Johnny Connor was her father and that she was the distant cousin of Paul, Liam and Michelle. Johnny had slept with her mother back in 1974, resulting in her birth. The confession came about as Johnny was being blackmailed by an incarcerated Rob who was bitter and vengeful about Carla "betraying" him. Carla relapsed into more gambling and drinking, and ended up sleeping with Bistro chef Robert Preston (who had just broken off with Tracy after discovering she was seeing Rob).

In January 2016 Carla went to see her brother, and told him not to come looking for her once he was released. Carla then went to Johnny's kids Aidan and Kate and told them the truth, thus preventing Rob's blackmail plot once and for all. Later that month she was approached by 2 thugs who stole her handbag. She chased after them and as they were driving way, she held onto the car, wrestling the passenger who had her handbag, but she let go and fell onto the road. She was knocked unconscious and taken to hospital.

In May 2016, Carla admitted to Nick, on her wedding day, that she had slept with Robert Preston. Gail slapped Carla. Carla accidentally caused a crash.

Feeling there was nothing left for her in Weatherfield, she then decided to leave for Devon, a clean break away from the grimy streets of Weatherfield. She then departed for Devon on the 26th May.

Off-screen: 2016–2017[]

Michelle went to stay with Carla in March 2017 following the breakup of her marriage with Steve, as it turned out he had fathered a child with Leanne Tilsley following a one-night stand. This revelation came shortly after Michelle was forced to give birth to her and Steve's son early and the child had passed away. After staying with Carla a few weeks Michelle returned to Weatherfield in April, with the intent to get back at Steve and get what is rightfully hers following the divorce.

2017-[]

In late 2017, Carla had developed kidney failure, and she only informed Roy Cropper about it. In December Aidan contacted her and had a secret meeting, as he needed the money to get Underworld back up and running, but she said she had other things on her mind and left.

Carla returned to the street the following day, and after speaking to Johnny he convinced her to help Aidan out. She also found out that Michelle and Robert were in trouble at the Bistro and offered to help, but Robert refused as he didn't want her help. She also found out that Michelle had robbed the Bistro in order to get the insurance to keep it afloat.

Due to her problem, Carla refused to drink, which caused confusion to several people who believed she maybe pregnant.

Carla was later revealed to have a liver complaint, due to drinking. In January 2018, Carla seduced her former brother in law Daniel Osbourne, even though he was 20 years younger. Although the age gap was slightly closer than when Peter Barlow had an affair with Tina McIntyre. Aidan had his kidney transplant operation and Carla was given her half brother's kidney. While recovering, Carla said she would be selling her house in Devon and moving back to Weatherfield. Carla handed her share of the factory to her half brother Aidan Connor. Aidan was very depressed and planned to take his own life He left the factory to employee Alya Nazir. Carla scoffed at this when she found out, and even tested Alya, wanting her to quit. Alya discovered the truth and took over the factory. Carla made an offer but Alya relented. Carla and her family thought of ways to get the fcatory back.

Behind The Scenes[]

  • Carla was absent from February to October 2009 as Alison King went on maternity leave.
  • King took a second break from July to December 2012.
  • Carla is branded as a modern day Elsie Tanner, she has ferocity but underneath is very vulnerable. Although Carla can be very bitchy and even villainous at times, something Elsie never was.
  • There were some rumours that Johnny Connor may have had an affair with Carla's mother around the time Carla was conceived and he could be Carla's father, this would make Carla a Connor by blood as well as marriage, thus making her and Michelle third cousins. Johnny and Barry are 2nd cousins.
    • This was later confirmed. Carla is a Connor.
  • This means that as well as being sisters in law, Carla and Michelle are distant cousins, seeing as Michelle's brother was a relation of Carla's father Johnny Connor.
  • It was originally reported that Alison King would be taking another break, this time in 2016. However in January 2016 it was confirmed she would be permanently departing the show.
  • The door was left open for Alison to return to the show, which was always possible as her character Carla was a major character. Carla returned in December 2017.

Internet popularity[]

Since the episodes of Siege Week were aired in June 2010, the scenes of Carla Connor depicted with her hands bound behind her back and her mouth taped shut have had an unexpected rise in popularity on the Internet and as an Internet meme. They have also been comically remixed on platforms such as YouTube.

The scenes gained extensive popularity among fans of BDSM. Tape gags are sometimes used for pleasure by fetishists who are aroused by the sound gagged people make when they try to speak, and by video depictions in which a captor gags a damsel in distress to stop her screaming for help, as Carla Connor is portrayed in the segment. For some, gags have connotations of punishment and control, and can be seen as a form of humiliation.

Appendices[]

List of addresses[]

Address Duration

Employment history[]

Role Institution Duration

Memorable info[]

Appearances: 1 December 2006–2 February 2009, 19 October 2009–16 July 2012, 10 December 2012–26 May 2016, 22 December 2017–

Born: 3rd January 1975

Full Name:Carla Barlow (Nee Donovan, later Connor,Gordon,Barlow)

Parents: Sharon Donovan and Johnny Connor

Siblings: Rob Donovan (half, same mother), Aidan Connor (half, same father), Kate Connor (half, same father)

Spouse: Paul Connor (1999-2007), Tony Gordon (2008-2009), Peter Barlow (2013-2015, 2021-), Nick Tilsley (2016)

Grandfathers: James Connor

Third Cousins: Paul Connor, Liam Connor, Michelle Connor

Fourth cousins once removed: Alex NeesonRuairi McDonald

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