Karen McDonald’s long-running feud with Tracy Barlow in Coronation Street came to an end at Christmas in 2004 in dramatic fashion on the roof of the factory.
Karen’s romance with Steve McDonald got serious when Karen bet Janice Battersby that she could get him to propose in six weeks. The pair tied the knot in a budget-do and Karen was soon dreaming up another scam – to get divorced so they could have the wedding of their dreams.
But her scheme backfired when she and Steve fell out and he told her the divorce was on, but there wouldn’t be another wedding. Oops.
The couple eventually reconciled and started planning their dream do. But at Christmas in 2003, Tracy Barlow told Steve he was the father of her baby, Amy, and not Roy Cropper as she’d previously let everyone (including poor Roy) believe.
She announced the news at Steve and Karen’s wedding, breaking Karen’s heart because she was desperate to have a baby and hadn’t been able to get pregnant. In revenge, Karen ruined Amy’s christening and punched Tracy in the church.
So by the time Christmas 2004 came, the pair were sworn enemies with Tracy taunting ‘Barren Karen’ at every opportunity. Things had got worse when, unknown to Karen, Steve took part in a gameshow as part of the Barlow family and won a car. Poor Karen was already grieving the death of her mum, and at the Underworld Christmas party, she suffered stomach pains and discovered she’d had a miscarriage.
Furious and upset, Karen took Steve’s new car, not realising that Amy was inside. She set fire to it on the Red Rec, making Tracy and Steve terrified that Amy was dead. Karen had actually dropped the little girl off with the Croppers, but a frantic Tracy didn’t know that. She confronted Karen in the factory and the pair fought.
Karen begged Tracy to listen to her when she told her Amy was safe, but bolshy Ms Barlow was out for revenge.
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She pursued Karen on to the roof of the factory and threatened to kill her as shocked crowds gathered below. “There’s only one way down,” she told her nemesis.
Luckily for Karen, Steve arrived in the nick of time (what a hero!) and stopped Tracy pushing his wife to her death. But it wasn’t a happy Christmas for Barren Karen as Steve told her their marriage was over and she left Coronation Street for good on Boxing Day.
It might have taken one prison sentence, several weddings and break-ups, and another one-night stand leading to an accidental pregnancy, but Tracy eventually got her man. Even if he did propose with Karen’s old engagement ring.