Created 13th October 2004
Updated 16th October 2004

Michael Vernon ("Mike") Baldwin

Played by & IMDB entry for Johnny Briggs

Mike Appeared 1st: 11 October 1976 -

Born: 16th February 1942

Son of Frankie Baldwin and Mary ? Baldwin

Married 1st: 14 May 1986 Susan Barlow Divorced
Married 2nd: 5 July 1991 Jackie Ingrams Divorced 1991
Married 3rd: 19 June 1992 Alma Halliwell/Sedgewick Divorced end of 1999
Married 4th: 10 September 2000 Linda Sykes "probably" Divorced summer 2002.

Children: Mark Dunlop later Redman (by Maggie Dunlop and later adopted byy her 1st Husband Harry Redman)
b: 13 May 1983 (later b: 13 May 1981) ;

Adam Barlow (from Mike's first marriage to Susan)
b. 1988.

The Following Profile was submitted by Patricia Dempsey and is ©2004 to Patricia Dempsey &

One of Mike's first girlfriends on the Street was Bet Lynch

Mike Baldwin roared into the Street in 1976 and opened a northern branch of Baldwins Casuals, a denim factory across the road, taking on Ernest Bishop as his wages clerk. He bought number 5, which had been completely rebuilt inside and started a romance with Bet. He moved her in as 'housekeeper', but people knew what she really was. When he heard Sylvia's Separates was up for sale, he bought it, deciding he needed an outlet for his stock. He sacked Elsie Tanner but installed her as supervisor at his factory. March 1977 and he told Bet to move out as his wife was coming. Bet did and was not happy to learn Mrs Baldwin wasn't even married to him but he just said that to people so refused to leave. He sold the house under her to Ray Langton. Bet moved in with Renee Bradshaw in the corner shop flat with Mike secretly paying part of her rent which Bet was not happy about when she found out. By May he decided to change the name of Sylvia's Separates and offered a fashionable denim suit to the winner of the best name. Albert Tatlock was the surprise winner when he suggested Western Front. Gail Potter and Suzie Birchall were the staff, though Suzie was a bad influence on Gail and took too many liberties. Things were not going well with the factory halfway throught the year when Ivy Tilsley threatened to call a strike when he introduced a three-day week. Then a few months later delivery man, Steve Fisher was aslmost sacked after taking Gail and Suzie to Stockport, resulting in the van getting stuck in the sand.

March 1978 started off badly when Ernie Bishop was shot during a wages snatch. Mike had gone to speak to him, unknowing Ernie was being held at gunpoint. As he went in the room, he knocked into one of the theives and the gun went off. He took Suzie to task over her running up huge phone bills on his time by phoning France. But that was the least of his problems. As a result of sacking Hilda Ogden after she asked for a new brush, saying he damaged the old one, the factory girls rallied to her support and came out on strike. It took a while, but he eventually backed down and offered Hilda her job back. Towards the end of the year, he closed Western Front as it wasn't doing much business.

Almost a year later, Mike was hospitalised after a lorry crashed into the Rovers when the driver had a heart attack at the wheel and died. As he was out of commission, he put Steve Fisher in charge at the factory, which resulted in a threatened walkout. He discharged himself to sort the trouble out. A few months later, the entire street is awoken by the factory alarm constantly ringing due to a fault. After many hours, Stan Ogden took a poker to it. Mike was furious when he turned up on the Monday and demanded £200 compensation from Stan.

1980 was an average year for Mike. More trouble with the factory girls after discovering Ivy wasn't an elected shop steward and demands a vote, which she wins. A date with Hilda Ogden after she won a raffle for a date with 'Mr Wonderful', but she refused the offer of £40 to call it off. Then his errant father Frankie turned up and conned Fred Gee out of £70 he had been told was an investment in a video business and disappeared. Frankie returned a month later in January 1981, saying the vice squad were after him, then the cheque for £150 he gave Fred bounced after Fred had decided to invest again and persauded Alf Roberts to as well. By now, Mike was after a bit of romance and, athough Ken and Deirdre had made up and became friends, asked her out anyway. Thinking she had been stood up, when in fact Ken's car had broken down, she agreed to go out with Mike. Ken wasn't happy but she chose Mike. At Mike's flatwarming, Ken turns up with Sonia Price. Mike took a fancy to her and went off to a club leaving Ken and Deirdre. Frankie made another reappearance that September, in the money and with a young, blonde on his arm called Sylvia Hicks, whom Mike took an instant dislike to, saying she was a gold-digger. Frankie paid off Fred and Alf in full before going again. But that was no help when a customer went bankrupt, owing money on an existing order. He decided to set up a market stall with a couple of the factory girls running it to try and recoup some losses.

1982 was a bit of a life-changing year for Mike. The naturally tough Mike went a bit soft on discovering Eddie Yeats had borrowed Hilda's keys to his flat to impress his girlfriend Marion Willis and pretending he lived there. After originally planning to call the police, he relented and let Eddie off with a warning. Trouble at the factory brewed as no work was coming in. After dicovering the Weatherfield one was doing better business, he had no choice but to make some of the London workers redundant. They spoke to Ivy Tilsley and begged her to bring her members out on strike but they were worried about their own jobs so refused. He also hired Emily Bishop in her late husband's job as wages clerk after much persuasion after discovering the one he had was giving the girls too much money. The factory cat, Cleopatra, was causing havoc by knocking coffee over the wages documents and ruining his coat, so Mike took it to the RSPCA. The girls rescued her and made her a member of the union. Mike's father accused him of sleeping with his girlfriend Sylvia which Mike strenuously denied. He paid off Frankie's tax bill to try and make amends for their fall-out. A few months later, he heard Frankie had had a fatal heart attack and left him £3000. He realised Sylvia hadn't been the gold-digger he'd thought and she really loved his father so split the money with her. He bgan to feel very lonely and asked his girlfriend, Maggie Dunlop to move in. She did, much to Hilda's dismay until he offered to pay her a rise all the while Maggie lived there. Mike was over the moon when Maggie told him she was pregnant. He proposed but she turned him down flat, saying she was moving out, not wanting him anywhere near her or her baby. He was devastated even more on discovering she had married Harry Redman who was going to be father to his child. But things picked up for Mike at the end of the year as he enjoyed a cosy dinner with Deirdre Barlow.

The afair of Mike and Deirdre gripped the nation

Meanwhile as 1983 dawned, Mike was doing business to sell the handbags the girls had been making on the side legal. The girls refused unless they got a bonus. His affair with Deirdre became more intense as she spend more and more time with him as a result of Ken letting her down. Emily had got wind of the affair and confronted Deirdre about it. Mike begged her to leave Ken and marry him. He was surprised when Ken turned up at the factory announcing Deirdre was staying with him and refused to believe it. His fears were confirmed when he went over and she told him. He also opened the Graffiti Club with partners Alf Roberts and Len Fairclough, turning a disused warehouse on Rosamund Street into a trendy wine bar. It was not successful and he sold his share in 1984, the club being quiet until Alec Gilroy took it over in 1986.

The Baldwin/Barlow feud reached new heights when Mike married Susan Barlow.

Things were pretty quiet for the next few years until he met up with Susan Barlow again and fell in love with her at the end of 1985, much to Ken's disgust. He bought her a car for her 21st birthday the following year which also made Ken pretty mad. Susan had been shocked to learn from her father about Mike's affair with Deirdre but she still went ahead and married him. Susan had big ideas for the factory and suggested they made childrenswear. Mike reluctantly agreed and Susan found two young models. She was confused when an irate Maggie Redman turned up at the factory during a photo session accusing Mike of using anyway to get to Mark, his son. His protests he didn't know it was Mark fell on deaf ears. Susan went to see Maggie and explained he had nothing to do with it. She also persuaded Mike to sell the clothes on-site and so began Hopscotch, a small outlet with a flashing neon sign which annoyed the residents. But Susan was in over her head and constantly battled with him for more money. When she discovered she was pregnant she wasn't thrilled unlike Mike. He had great plans and took her to the country to show her a house. She didn't want the baby. She said she wanted to concentrate on her career. When she told him she'd had an abortion, he threw her out much to Ken's delight.

Mike has his first ban for drink-driving in 1988 after he had been set up. He had left the Rovers one night and the police were waiting for him. It turned out, after he had made several false accusations and gave Vera the sack, it was Ida Clough in revenge for him sacking her. He hired Terry Duckworth as his chauffeur but when he found out he had been using his car behind his back after an irate husband had written on it while he was away, he set Terry up to watch the factory overnight, caught him on the phone to his girlfriend and sacked him on the spot. He also had his first run-in with Don Brennan, who lost his taxi to Mike in a late-night poker game. His wife Ivy was furious but Don was too proud to accept her help. She went to see Mike and paid Don's debt anyway which made Don furious.

Mike with Dawn Prescott and her brother

In 1989 he sold the factory to Maurice Jones for redevelopment and bought a new flat at Weatherfield Quays after being shown round it by Dawn Prescott, who used to work for Alan Bradley. He had been having a relationship with Alma Sedgewick until then. Things turned sour with Dawn after her brother conned him out of money to buy a development in Spain. His interest then turned back to Alma. he was getting itchy feet and desperately wished he hadn't decided to retire. He persuaded Alma to let the girls make hangbags in the flat above the cafe, which was then halted due to Health and Safety. So he tried using Ivy's home.

put upon Alma who put up with Mike's antics for 7 years of marriage.
Jackie Ingram - Mrs Baldwin #2

Things were seemingly going fine until 1991 when he went to work for his old friend, Peter Ingram. When Peter suddenly died of a heart attack, Mike pursed the recently widowed Jackie Ingram, with an eye to getting back in the rag trade properly using her recently inherited business. Alma was devasted. But the marriage was short-lived and Jackie pulled a shotgun on him after discovering the secret payments from company funds he was giving to Alma which made him leave sharpish.

After the divorce, he opened MVB Motors and a print shop, which Steve ended up eventually taking over with the help of future wife Vicky Arden's money. He returned to Alma, determined to get her away from his old rival, Ken Barlow towards the end of the year. As Tracy had wanted all the family together on Christmas Day, Ken had no choice but to let Alma down and she ended up sleeping with Mike after his clever manipulation. She confessed to Ken on New Year's Eve at the hotel he'd booked for them what she'd done and he dumped her. Delighted when he'd managed to do that, Mike proposed and they were married in June 1992 after a bit of a sweat. Alma decided to make him suffer a bit so turrned up late then hesitated as she said her vows.

Mark Redman as a schoolboy

Mark Redman reappeared in 1993 having miraculously aged 2 years and was now 12. He had no idea he was his son until he found out Maggie had been seeing Ken. Meanwhile Tracy Barlow, having discovered this juicy bit of gossip, wasted no time telling Mark about his real father. Ken dumped Maggie after finding this out. Mike desperately wanted to be a father to the boy but had fierce opposition from Maggie. He struggled to get the money to send Mark to the private Oakhill school but Mark hated it and evetually he and his mother moved to Felixstowe leaving Mike devastated his son had been taken away from him by Maggie again.

Mike hired Doug Murray to work at the garage. But after a while, he decided to leave and stole Mike's Jaguar. Mike called the police and the car was found. When he went to collect it, he discovered Doug had sold it and bought a Mercedes in which he escaped to Germany. The police recognised the car from a accident Steve McDonald had the previous year and decided to detain it for further investigation. Steve and Kevin Webster were eventually charged with perverting the course of justice.

A few years later, Mike went into the property business. He originally bought number 1 from Deirdre, who then subsequently persuaded him to sell it to Ken. He then bought a flat conversion in Crimea Street, installing Deirdre as manager after Samir died and she was homeless. Creepy Roy Cropper lived in one flat, Bill Webster also moved in while Tricia and Jamie Armstrong lived in another.

Audrey's other illegitimate child, Stephen Reid, was over from Canada in 1996 and talked with Mike about setting up a manufacturing outlet for K-bec, the sprtswear company he worked for. Mike opened up a new factory and sold the flats and garage to raise the money. Don Brennan and his current girlfriend, Josie Clarke, who worked for Mike, were interested in the garage after Kevin Webster and Tony Horrocks weren't. Despite knowing of all the problems, Mike decided to trick them and left a document out for Josie to read citing an inflated figure of £50,000, making them think they were getting it at a bargain for £7,000 less. Don's problems grew as he discovered expense after expense which he didn't have the money for. He eventually went bankrupt and Josie left him over his obsession with Mike. Bygones were bygones at the factory and he hired Ida Clough but she didn't last long. He also took on Sally Webster as supervisor. Alma meanwhile had fallen for Stephen badly, but he wasn't interested. Audrey found out and told Mike who shrugged off his wife's infatuation. The K-bec contract was cancelled. The goods were shoddy and Stephen wasn't happy when he heard about the garage business. Mike wasn't beaten yet as he as desperate for income so began making counterfeit goods. Don, however, could only think of his growing hatred of Mike and burned the factory down, trying to make it look like an insurance job. When Mike wasn't charged, Don kidnapped Alma and despite her pleas to let her go, went completely mad and drove them into the canal at Weatherfield Quays. They were both rescued and Mike was glad Alma was safe and Don was sectioned in a mental hospital. Mike decided to open a new factory and took over the running of the former print shop. He took on Angie Freeman, recently returned and looking for a designing job, as his partner in the new venture. They called the factory Underworld, and concentrated on making ladies lingerie. He also let bygones be bygones and hired Ida Clough. Meanwhile, Alma was fed up so got herself a job at Firman's Freezers. Mike wasn't happy and told Curly she wouldn't be working there. After a holiday in Cyprus, Alma went to work much to Mike's annoyance. Sally Webster was his manager.

Don Brennan escaped from the mental hospital and lay in wait for Mike. When Mike was alone in the office one night, Don attacked him from behind with a table leg. He tied Mike up and told him he was dying of cancer so had nothing to lose. Don managed to escape when Angie turned up but was waiting for Mike in Alma's car. He his the accelerator and drove the car directly at Mike. Mike jumped out of the way but the car crashed into the viaduct and exploded.

Mike and Ken put their differences briefly aside in 1999 when Deirdre's good name was cleared.  However the whole episode had caused the feud to rais its ugly head again and even Alma wasn't too happy about Mike supporting Deirdre.

The Barlow/Baldwin feud raised its head again in 1998 when Deirdre Rachid was accused of fraud after her boyfriend Jon Lindsay had given her credits cards in her name, using his friend's bank details. Mike paid her bail and she turned more and more to him as Ken seemed heartless in comparision. Alma wasn't happy either to have Deirdre living with them. When Deirdre was found guilty, Mike and Emily Bishop did everything they could to get her released. Leaving him a huge legal bill, he angered Angie Freeman by paying for it with Underworld funds. She left the Street. When Alma discovered what he'd done, she accused him of still loving Deirdre and told everyone about their past affair. Deirdre went to see Alma to reassure her there was nothing going on between her and Mike.

Alma was the love of Mike's life but by 1999 their marriage was over.

Things were going fine at the factory until Sally was persuaded by her then boyfriend Greg Kelly to start up a rival business and undercut Mike. Greg persuaded Sally to use Mike's contacts. When Kevin found out, he told Mike and he sacked her. Sally was talked into setting up a rival business but Mike got the contracts first, which made Greg angry and he hit her. Mike would forever hold a grudge against her.

October 1998 - Hayley and Alma's lives were made even more difficult by the arrival of new factory girl Linda Sykes who wasted no time in bullying Hayley over her sexuality.

Also that year, Alma found herself under scrutiny from a work collegue. Hayley Patterson took to following her about which unnerved her until Hayley explained she was a transsexual and was copying her to behave like a woman. Alma did some matchmaking between Hayley and Roy Cropper and Hayley began work at Underworld. When Mike discovered the truth when her tax details were still in the name Harold, his bigoted side came out. Alma rallied round Hayley and eventually she was accepted And though Mike was still sarcastic towards her, he had to admit she was his best machinist.

Mike stupidly fell for Julia Stone's seductive charms

Mike and Alma's seemingly happy marriage was torn apart the following year after he had a one-night stand with Julia Stone, who then sought to blackmail him. He paid the £10,000 demand to keep this from Alma, who was worrying about a lump she found in her breast, and was shocked when Julia demanded more. He eventually discovered Greg Kelly was behind it all when Julia confessed but Alma was past caring. Meanwhile Greg Kelly decided to move things up a gear. He took Sally and the kids hostage until Mike paid him another £10,000. Kevin found out and called the police.

Alma walked out and moved in with Audrey Roberts. It was after this a scheming machinist called Linda Sykes set out to trap him. She turned up at his flat one day much to his surprise and they talked over a bottle over whisky. Things were going too slow for her so she made her move and seduced him, so began a passionate affair. After taking Linda on holiday, she was thrilled when Mike asked her to move in. But although Alma was divorcing Mike, she still saw the current Mrs Baldwin as a threat so much she did everything she could to turn Mike against Alma by making up stories so he wouldn't have to pay her so much maintenance.

Mike and Linda and Mark - one of the most successful stories for Corrie in recent years.

It seemed to be going well for Mike. A new, young girlfriend and his son Mark returned later that year but what had started as a coniving game by Linda, was starting to turn more serious. She admitted to her friend Nita she felt more about Mike than anyone she had before. However Linda was still jealous about Alma and when she found out MIke had taken Alma to dinner behind her back she was angry and upset. The strained relationship took a new twist on Christmas Day 1999 when Mike bought Linda sexy underwear. Sick of being treated like a sex object one minute and a child the next - Linda walked out on Mike. With their relationship over, at the Millennium party, Mike could not face Linda so asked Mark to go and shut up the factory. Mark was furious with Linda for breaking his father's heart so headed off to the factory to confront Linda while everyone was in the pub or on the street. However what began as hostile quickly turned into pasion for Mark and Linda in the factory where they kissed passionately and made love. Mike arrived unexpectedly after they dressed and proposed to Linda. After a few days of toying with Mike, Linda accepted much to Mark's annoyance. Mike made Mark a partner in his business. Little did he know Linda and Mark were drawn to each other and would use every opportunity they could bet to meet each other for sex.

she became manager of the factory.

At the end of June 2000 Mark and Linda's relationship came to a head when Mark finally forced her to make a choice. They had been going round in circles for months. Each taking turns at ending the affair but not being able to help themselves. Linda admitted she was in love with them both and if Mark had come first she would have had him for sure. Now however Mark could take this no longer and told her he was leaving Weatherfiled with his friend Craig. Mark wrote a letter to Mike saying he was leaving. Linda had finally decided she would leave with Mark however when she got back to the flat to tell Mike, she discovered him reading Mark's letter explaining how he was leaving which baffled Mike. Mike was so shocked that he had his first serious heart attack.

While Mark taught Linda to drive, she was teaching him other things.

Mark decided to leave without Linda. Linda was busy calling 999 to come and save Mike. Mark returned upon hearing of his father's heart attack but both he and Linda realised if Mark just leaving could cause Mike to have a heart attack, what would it do to him if he knew about their affair. Regretfully they both decided to end their affair. Linda would stay with Mike. Although Linda had made her choice, she still couldn't quite let go of Mark. In an attempt to keep him around a while longer, she lied to Mark telling him that his father only had 6 months to live and they had to ride it out until Mike died. Mark did of course find out this was a lie and when he did he was furious. Not wanting to hurt his father anymore and torn between love and hatred for Linda, Mark decided to leave Weatherfield. This time he told his father he just needed to travel. Mike agreed and paid his expenses under one condition, he came back to be best man at the wedding.

The Mike/Mark/Linda love triangle came to a head (but not a climax) in September 2000 - Linda and Mike on their  wedding day with Mark.

The wedding date was set for September 2000. Mark returned but it soon became apparent he was having problems accepting the situation. Right up to the wedding day itself he begged Linda to run away with him but Linda had made her choice it was Mike she wanted not Mark. Deep down however the viewer was left wondering if this was her true feelings. Meanwhile Mark had confessed all to Alma.

Mark was supposed to be best man but couldn't face watching his father marry the woman he loved so supposedly disappeared, Roy Cropper taking his place at the last minute. Later in their suite, Mark told his father about his affair with Linda. Linda wormed her way out of it much to Mark's horror. Mike got chest pains caused by the betrayal and told Mark he never wanted to see him again. He and Linda went on their honeymoon for the sake of public appearances but they didn't speek for the whole 3 weeks or so they were away. When they returned Mike decided to let Linda stay at the flat while they decided the future.

time to bury the hatchet for Mike and Ken when they found themselves cuaght up in the Fresco siege

After an armed seige at Freshco's in October, where Mike was held hostage, Linda was horrified to discover that one of the gunmen was her own brother, Dean, and he had been shot and killed on the scene by the police. Linda and Mike decided to put the past behind them and the whole incident made Mike realise that he loved and had forgiven her. Also the siege marked a turning point in the relationship of Ken and Mike. After being tied up together in a store cupboard they put the past behind them.

Mike went into partnership with Duggie Ferguson and Fred Elliott buying the Rovers from Natalie Horrocks. But they continued to disagree about things. Things came to pass when Duggie conned them out of their shares.


Mike got the surprise of his life in January 2001 when he learned first wife, Susan, hadn't had an abortion after all. Everyone but her twin brother Peter never knew of the existance of Adam. Susan visited her father and brother, begging her father not to tell Mike. Ken was furious she'd kept it secret even from him, though understood why she had from Mike. When Mike found out, he badgered Susan into giving him access. Afraid she'd lose her son, she decided to flee Glasgow but died when the car crashed. Adam was injured and mourned his mother. Peter encouraged Ken to fight for custody to make sure Mike didn't get his claws into his nephew, just as Susan wished. In the end, Ken gave up the fight after mike won the first round, deeming it unfair on Adam. Mike agreed Ken could see Adam whenever he liked. He enrolled Adam at school but he hated it and wanted to return to his friends in Glasgow. It broke Mike's heart, but he eventually agreed after talking it over with Linda.

Later that year, Linda's jealousy and insecurity reared its ugly head when Mike began to spend time with Alma. She didn't know Audrey had informed Mike that Alma was dying of cancer. When he went to the Lake District to talk to his ex, Linda embarked on a fling with Mike's rival, Harvey Reuban. Mike came back and, as planned, caught them on the sofa in a state of half-undress. As far as Linda was concerned, if Mike could sleep with Alma, she could with Harvey. Mike slapped her. She didn't believe the cancer story one bit. She visited Alma and scoffed at it, though as the reality began to sink in, she was delighted to be rid of the woman she peceived to be a threat to her marriage. But as Alma's illness progressively got worse, Mike spent more and more time with her and didn't care what Linda thought or said about it. She was at Audrey's as Alma's closest friends stayed in the bedroom. When Alma was dead, a triumphant smile broke out on her face as she stood behind everyone.

Bye Bye Linda!

Mike's marriage to Linda ended in September 2001 at Fred Elliott's wedding to Linda's mother Eve Sykes. After Adam went back to boarding school at the end of August 2001, Mike looked into divorcing Linda, however was adviced by his solicitor to make his assets un-touchable before going any further. However caught up in the emotion of the wedding, Linda and Mike seemed to patch up their marriage. Mike began to reconsider his options after all at his age how easy would it be to get another wife or a woman to care for him he thought? Linda had told him enough times how sorry she was and how much she loved him. To top it all for their first wedding anniversary she had given him a specially prepared photo album of photos of Adam. Being a paper anniversary she had deliberately gone to the trouble to give him something made out of paper that would be meaningful. Mike was touched. On the night before the wedding Linda and Mike slept together again for the first time in ages - and as it turned out, it would be the last time. The next morning Linda commented to Mike how emotional she was feeling and something felt different inside. Perhaps it was down to the wedding she concluded? The viewer was left to second guess was it more? However who should re-enter their lives, but Mark - who had just heard about Alma's death and wanted to see his father again. Mark turned up to the hotel where the wedding party were staying.

Mike and Mark made up and Mike said that he was seriously thinking of settling down with Linda for good and that she was sorry etc. Mark tried to talk him out of it. Later on Mark confronted Linda. Breaking his father's confidence by revealing that Mike was divorcing her. He didn't add that Mike was re-considering this. Linda didn't believe Mark's twisted facst. However he contined to wind her up that his Dad had finished with her. Mark wound Linda up to the point that she finally said she "could play Mike like a violin."

Unbeknown to Linda and Mark, Mike had overheard the last part of their conversation. So chose to believe Linda was out to use him yet again. This time Mike told her it was over and to get out of his life once and for all.

Later on after finding out Linda and Mark were kissing (a kiss Linda pulled away from not Mark), Mike would hear no more of her excuses. Choosing to accept Mark was the innocent, he bundled Linda into the back of his car and someone drove it off. Linda was never seen again.

a murder investigation was launched when Mike's car was pulled out of a canal - but there was no sign of Linda.

Then one day, the poilce arrived at his flat and arrested him on suspicion of murdering her.

Eve, Fred and the police waited anxiously by the canal to see if the divers could find any sign of Linda.  All they found was one boot.

He protested his innocence and was finally cleared when Linda's father told Eve that Linda was living in Dublin with another man in April 2002.

But his troubles didn't end there. In October 2001, his factory caught fire after a firework was pushed through the letterbox, trapping Janice Battersby and Dennis Stringer inside.

With Linda gone, it made Mike managerless, so he hired an ex-con, Joe Carter, who he met at the prison gate. 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 McDonald and together they slowly pilfered Mike's money with the intention that Mike wuld 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.

Mike thought he was fininshed when in March 2004 his factory burnt down yet again.

Mike then hired Nick Tilsley as manager. But while he was away in 2004, Nick became a tyrant and banned smoking. Janice Battersby, never one to obey rules, went into the stockroom for a quick puff but ended up being locked in. The cigarette fell to the floor and the material caught fire. Nick saved her. Mike returned from his holiday and was devasted. Rita Sullivan was on-hand with some brandy and tried reassuring him it was only bricks and mortar, and at least no one had been killed.

Mike and Penny

Mike, worried the insurance company wouldn't pay out, was getting desperate. He took up former girlfriend Penny King's offer to use her premises until he was up and running again and also restarted an affair with her behind Fred Elliott's back. Fred's son, Ashley, and his current girlfriend Claire tried to tell Fred the truth but he wouldn't listen. Fred proposed to Penny anyway but was broken-hearted when the truth came out. Meanwhile Nick went for an interview with Penny and was shocked to see Mike at the interview. Mike fired him. With his money troubles still he roped in his nephew, Danny, to become a partner. Danny had recently left his wife Frankie after her affair with his previous boss, so jumped at making a fresh start. To date, Danny's parentage hasn't been explained since Mike was an only child.

Tracy pulls a fast one under Mike's nose - 11th October 2004

Penny decided to invest in Ciaran McCarthy's restaurant against Mike's advice. Even when Ciaran needed more money, all protests not to give him any more money fell on deaf ears. But the restuarant was doing badly from the start, despite Ciaran, egged on by Tracy Barlow, claiming it was doing better than it was. Tracy convinced him to sell for £60,000, give £20,000 to Penny and pocket the rest themselves. Ciaran's conscience got the better of him until Penny's interference. Things were all set with the buyer until Mike and Penny walked in for dinner. Ciaran worried the plan would fall through and tried to keep Mike and Penny away from Tracy and the buyer so Tracy could pretend to be Penny. But while Tracy was happily spending the money, Ciaran's conscience wouldn't let up. Tracy warned him to stay quiet but he confessed all to Penny. Tracy tried to pretend she was an innocent victim but Mike was having none of it and called the police. Tracy ended up spending the night in the cells. Deirdre begged Mike to drop the charges.

There always was and there always will be a special bond between Mike and Deirdre

Mike with Adam 31st December 2004

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