Coronation Street Past And Present Wiki

Janet Barlow (Nee Reid) was a character in Coronation Street from 1969 to Ep 1680 - 21 Feb 1977. She was the second wife of Ken Barlow. Janet was played by Judith Barker.



Janet Reid was born on the 6th May 1942 in Keswick, Cumberland.


In June 1969 Janet worked as a town clerk in Weatherfield. She had a relationship with councillor Len Fairclough and he planned to propose to her, but his feelings weren't reciprocated, so Janet broke off with him before he had a chance to propose.

During her time in Weatherfield she came to know the residents of Coronation Street, and in August 1971 she began working in the corner shop while Irma Barlow was sick. She eveloped an interest in Alan Howard, a friend of Len's, and he was up to having an affair and they shared a kiss, even though he was married to local resident Elsie. She followed him to Leeds when he was on a business trip, but nothing happened. Elsie found out about what they were up to and told Janet exactly what she thought of her, which caused Janet to leave the area.

In 1973 Janet left her job at the town hall and later got a new one at the Department of Education. There she met Ken Barlow, a teacher at Bessie Street primary, and they began a secret relationship. She went with him to Scotland to visit his eight year old twins Peter and Susan, who were being looked after by their grandparents following Ken being widowed after his wife Valerie died in 1971. Ken had been looking for a new to become a mother to his children and ended up marrying Janet, who had fallen for Ken. After their marriage Janet wanted to get a house with him but Ken wasn't too keen on moving away. When he was late to a viewing she was furious and they had an argument.

In 1974 Ken wanted the twins to come back to Weatherfield to stay with them. Janet got cold feet as she didn't want to be a mother to his children, and began looking at boarding schools to pack them away to. Ken was angry when he found out, knowing that Janet knew that he only married her to look after the twins. Janet eventually agreed for the twins to move in with them, although it later turned out the twins didn't want to come back as they had settled down in Scotland, much to Ken's disappointment.

Their marriage wasn't strong and she felt that Ken didn't have strong career prospects, as he had turned down a promotion at the warehouse the road. Realsiing things weren't working out in their marriage Janet walked out on him and left the street once again.

In 1975 Janet entered into a relationship with Vince Denton. While dining out Vince got drunken and aggressive, which caused her to phone a taxi. Coincidentally the driver was Ken, and he took them home. Vince didn't allow Janet to return to their home that night so she stayed the night with Ken. Ken was worried for Janet but she returned back to Vince when he came to collect her the next day.

Janet and Vince ended up separating. In February 1977 she attempted to reconcile with him but he refused. Feeling broken and alone and in a bad place, she turned up at Ken's doorstep wanting to get back with him. Ken refused, although he agreed to let her stay the night and sleep in his bed while he slept on the sofa. Feeling rejected, Janet took an overdose that night and died in bed. Ken discovered her the following morning and phoned for help, but it was too late. A police officer looking into the case suspected Ken had killed Janet to avoid a divorce, although her death was ruled as suicide.


  • Judith Barker originally joined the role for a two episode guest stint in June 1969. In 1971 when Sandra Gough (who played Irma Barlow) took a leave of absence, Barker returned to the show as Janet for a brief period as part of a plot in which she had an affair with Alan Howard, which was originally intended for Irma. Barker found it difficult to do her lines because they were originally written for Irma, and no changes were made to scripts to accommodate a new character.
  • Barker returned in 1973 as a regular, in which she became the second wife to Ken Barlow. The marriage took place off-screen and was a surprise to viewers. Barker left in 1974, due to Janet's plots being mostly used as a wrecker of relationships. She made guest appearances thereafter, and returned briefly in 1975.
  • Barker returned for a final tine as Janet briefly in February 1977. She found work difficult to come by due to potential employers seeing her still committed to Coronation Street, and she welcomed Janet being killed off.
  • Janet was the first character on the show to commit suicide.


List of addresses[]

Address Duration
Keswick, Cumbria 28th November 1942 to unknown date
Weatherfield around 1960s to August 1971
15a Coronation Street August 1971 to September 1971
1 Coronation Street October 1973 to January 1974
11 Coronation Street January 1974 to 22nd May 1974
Weatherfield 22nd May 1974 to 21st February 1977

Employment history[]

Role Institution Duration
Clerk Town Hall c.1969 to 1973
Shop assistant Corner Shop 1971
Department of Education Bessie Street Primary School 1973 to unknown

Memorable info[]

Appearances: 16-18 Jun 1969, 11 Aug-15 Sep 1971, 24 Sep 1973-5 June 1974, 15 Jan-3 Feb 1975, 8-10 Sep 1975, 14-21 Feb 1977

Born: 6th May 1942, Keswick, Cumberland

Died: 21st February 1977, Number 1 Coronation Street, Weatherfield, Salford, Lancashire

Parents: Charles Reid and Jacqueline Reid

Siblings: Helen Reid

Spouse: Ken Barlow (1973-1977)

Children: None biological but 2 stepchildren Peter Barlow and Susan Barlow

Cousins: Marilyn