Created 8th November 2004
In June 2000, as a replacement for her on the machines, Linda Sykes (later Baldwin) suggested to Mike Baldwin that he take on her old friend Karen Phillips. Karen had previously worked at Wheelers with Linda and it was soon apparent they had grown up together but at this time nothing else was known about either Linda or Karen's background. Apart from meeting Karen's Aunt Eva in 2003, we didn't know anything else about her family other than she had nothing to do with her parents.
In September 2004 Karen's mother died and she had a near on nervous breakdown as she had refused to see her before she died despite her father's pleas for her to do so. Karen even refused to go to the funeral. On Monday 13 September 2004, Karen MaDonald finally told her husband something of her past and this involved Linda Sykes/Baldwin. Linda had watched out for Karen at school. Karen's parents were very poor but they were very religious and had nothing materialistic at all. Karen was bullied at school for her clothes and her strict parents - Karen wasn't even allowed to have toys and was supposed to pass her time by going door knocking with her parents spreading the word of the Lord. Linda lived on the same estate as Karen so felt compelled to stick up for Karen.
At around 15 years Karen started to hang out more with the Sykes family. There she would eat crisps, drink lemonade and other things, watch televison and above all smoke. All these things were disapproved of by her parents. When Karen's parents found out about Karen's activities while in the company of Linda, they beat Karen black and blue and told her she was going to burn in hell. Karen left home there and then and had nothing more to do with her parents. Karen moved in with Linda and slept on the Sykes sofa. Karen explained to her husband Steve (while telling him her story in September 2004) it didn't really matter because people were always coming and going in the Sykes household so it made no difference to them to have someone else.
From the day Karen left her family home, she vowed to be completely dfferent to them and this somewhat explains how she has behaved since arriving on the Street.
One of Karen's first stories came in September 2000 as she and fellow factory worker Bobbi found themselves being two-timed by Harvey Ruebens. They got revenge by pouring baked beans onto him while he sat in his posh car.
In October 2000 Karen accompanied Linda to the funeral of her Linda's brother Dean Sykes. While there Karen looked like she was interested in resumng relations with Jimmy Sykes - who had been a childhood sweetheart however now they were grown ups it didn't amount to anything.
Then Karen and Bobbi vied for the atention and played games with Steve McDonald and Vikram Desai. Then there was the spectre of "her Liam." We don't really know who Karen's Liam was? He was either a brother or a close friend of Ryan Sykes. Whoever he was, the viewer learned he wasn't someone to be messed with and he was in jail. Even being in jail he was expecting Karen to wait for him and watch out anyone who messed with her in the meantime. Karen wasn't interested however and as far as she was concerned she and Liam were finished. Lucky for her to date Laim hasn't come looking for her (although the story was left open-ended).
From the moment Karen arrived on the Street she was gobby, rough, and it was clear she wouldn't be pushed around by anyone. She also came across as a back street slapper who could be slightly unhinged. Perhaps at first she wasn't particularly likable however this all changed when in May 2001 she married Steve McDonald for a bet.
The paring of Karen and Steve has proved one of the most popular couplings in Coronation Street history. As Steve grew to love Karen, so did the public. Their fights and making-ups became legendary. Karen was over the top and at times just didn't think before she acted but she just became more liked by the public.
Despite whatever others thought, Karen and Steve made a very happy couple. Yes there were hickups along the way for example when Mrs Alahan hired her for a honey-trap to break up Dev Alahan's engagement to Geena Gregory. However Karen and Steve would always come out the other end. As far as Steve was concerned Karen was nuts but he loved her for it as it was one of her most endearing qualities.
However things really went wrong for Karen and Steve when Joe Carter entered the scene.
With Linda gone, it made Mike managerless at Underworld, so he hired an ex-con, Joe Carter. Joe proved a worthy asset to the business for a while. After Dev talked Mike into doing business with his cousin and the cheque bounced, Joe and Steve McDonald broke in to the warehouse and recovered the unpaid for goods. But things started going wrong during 2003. Unbeknownst to Mike, Joe was hatching a plan to rob him. His 10% of the business wasn't good enough - he wanted it all. He began an affair with Karen and together they slowly pilfered Mike's money with the intention that Mike would go bankrupt and they'd buy the factory at a knock-down price.
Then things went wrong. Karen overheard Joe slagging her off and the next day, returned the money they'd stolen. Joe was furious with her and told her in no uncertain terms he had only been using her before he left for good.
Unfortunately for Karen her dealings with Joe Carter had cost her, her marriage. Long before Joe and Karen had had an affair Steve had been suspicious of the two of them and Steve's doubts Joe craftily played on. When Karen had decided that she couldn't stand Steve's mistrust anymore after he had a one night stand in his perceived revenge for his wife's affair, she did begin an affair with Joe for real.
With Joe gone Karen had nothing, no Steve, no home etc and was facing being charged over trying to embezzle Mike Baldwin. So she left Weatherfield supposedly for good. A heartbroken Steve had a one night stand with Tracy Barlow. Tracy had had a crush on Steve since a school girl back in the early 1990s - when at that time he had been far too old for her. However Steve had no feelings for Tracy in the past and liked her even less now. It was Karen he wanted and with that in his mind he went hunting for her. He tracked her down to her Aunt Eva. Karen eventaully returned to Weatherfield and Steve bought Mike Baldwin off so he didn't press charges against Karen.
Karen and Steve had an on again and off again relationship for the next few weeks, however their 'decree absolute' in their divorce proceedings was drawing nearer that when they finally decideed they belonged together and didn't want a divorce, it was too late. A race to the court to stop the divorce going through proved fruitless, they got their just too late.
However the little fact Mr and Mrs McDonald were now divorced didn't bring down their spirits for long. Karen decided they would just get re-married. However unlike the last time where they did it in a registry office, this time it would be done proplery. Karen would pull out all the stops for the Weatherfield wedding of the year. No expense would be spared and poor Steve would nearly face bankruptcy as Karen went about organising the big bash. The date was set for the episodes of Monday 16th February 2004.
Meanwhile Tracy Barlow had discovered she was pregnant and furthermore she believed the father was Steve from their one night stand. At first she didn't tell him, she had drugged Roy Cropper in July 2003 for a 1p bet that she could get him into bed. Nothing actually happened during the night but Roy was too drugged to remember, so Tracy could easily convince him he was the father - lying abou the baby's due dates etc - and Tracy went on to extort £25,000 out of Roy and Hayley. She knew they were desperate to have a child and she had one on the way she didn't want. Unfortunately by Christmas Day 2003 Tracy's childhood crush on Steve MacDonald had turned into an adult with obsessive behaviour. She wanted Steve and she played her trump card and informed him he was the father of the baby she was carrying not Roy Cropper.
2004 dawned and while the fianl preparations for the wedding were taking shape, Tracy had high hopes of getting back with Steve. She was angry to begin with when her grandmother Blanche informed her that the house she had just bought was for Tracy only if she kept her baby. Tracy went out of her way to try and sabotage Karen and Steve's wedding cancelling the venues etc. Then a week before the wedding was set to take place during an argument with Steve, Tracy went into premature labour. Steve drove her to the hospital but waited outside. Roy was in the delivery room with her, much to her annoyance and she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Steve popped in when everyone had gone and try as she might, she couldn't persaude Steve to play a part in the baby's life. Steve told her to give the baby to the Croppers, which she did. But that wasn't the end of it.
Tracy decided she wanted her baby back and went to Steve and Karen's remarriage to get her. There she announced in front of everyone Steve was the father. Roy and Hayley fled with the baby while Steve, Karen and Tracy had it out in the vestry. Karen was so angry at the betrayal she hit her shoe against the wall by Tracy's head. But the plan backfired and Steve and Karen married anyway. After a battle, Roy and Hayely reluctantly handed the baby over. Tracy hated the name, but couldn't get the birth certificate changed from Patience Cropper so did it by Deed Poll to Amy Barlow.
Karen got her revenge on Tracy when she burst into the christening, wrongly thinking Steve was there when he had only dropped his mother off, and punched Tracy to the ground.
Despite Tracy's earlier protestations she wanted her baby, it became a hindrance and she left it with anyone who offered, including Roy and Hayley, though still had to pay them back their money. She managed to persaude Steve to pay for the baby. he agreed to £50 a week on condition she and the baby stayed out of his life. She agreed but during Karen's breakdown after her mother's death, enjoyed telling all to her. Surprisingly, Karen didn't erupt and said Steve could see his child.
Tracy Barlow and Karen MacDonald are now fighting enemies and Tracy will do anything to bring down the MacDonald marriage. Tracywas not happy when Karen announced she and Steve were planning on having their own baby so Tracy used Amy to come between them. Tracy decided to dump Amy on the McDonalds then disappeared for a few days so she couldn't be returned. She also took delight in calling Karen "Barren Karen" while Steve got her pregnant after one try. Karen decided enough was enough and was glad her plan to get Tracy to take charge of Amy again worked by threatening they would sue for custody.
On Friday 5 November 2004 - the viewer learned that Linda Baldwin was still living in Dublin. Karen informed Steve that Linda had phoned and invited Karen and Steve to Dublin for the weekend. Beautiful city great bars etc. Karen would love it according to Linda. However Steve refused to go saying they couldn't afford it. It was finally decided that Karen would enjoy it far better on her own and she would be able to catch up with Linda much better.
Below is two articles from 28 Oct and 5 Nov from http://www.dehavilland.co.uk/
about Coronation Street's Christmas episodes
Suranne Jones, who plays Karen, has revealed that the holiday season episodes will also be her last.
The festive fracas happens at the wedding of Weatherfield's wettest couple, Ashley and Claire.
Karen and Tracy have already clashed twice in church - once at Karen and Steve's wedding and once at the Christening of Tracy and Steve's baby. The scenes were so violent they left the actresses with bruises.
Jones, who was voted the nation's favourite actress this week, said: "Karen has got to get a final fight scene. So watch for Tracy and Karen at their best, getting their claws out. It's a bit Dallas-Dynasty. It's a big fight.
"The scenes are so violent that we've had to call in stunt doubles."
Jones revealed some weeks ago that she would not be renewing her contract with the soap - which runs out in November.
The 25-year-old actress plans to take two months holiday after filming finishes and head to Australia with her family.
© 1998-2004 DeHavilland Information Services plc. All rights
According to The Sun, viewers will see Karen McDonald's car burst into flames as she leaves the cobbled streets of Weatherfield for good.
Loudmouth Karen is set to have a fight with Tracey Barlow, before her explosive exit.
Karen's husband Steve, who is the father of Tracey's baby, looks on in horror, fearing that his daughter is in the car.
Tracey and Karen have been mortal enemies since Steve's indiscretion led to Tracey's pregnancy.
The pair finally have it out at Ashley and Claire's Christmas Day wedding.
Suranne Jones, who plays Karen, revealed that the fight is so viscous that stuntwomen had to film most of it.
Jones decided that after four years she would leave the soap when her current contract expires this month.
Karen's exit is a blow for Corrie writers as she is one of the most popular characters, but her final scenes should strike a telling blow in the festive ratings war.
EastEnders has responded to the ratings pressure with a Yuletide storyline that will see Paul Trueman killed in a "gruesome" fashion, according to Gary Beadle - the actor who plays him.
© 1998-2004 DeHavilland Information Services plc. All rights reserved.
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