Tuesday 12 June 2012

Leanne Anneke Battersby Tilsley Barlow

Leanne's life has always seemed to be one bad choice after another, with her lurching from disaster to disaster, and not just in her relationships though they've been the catalyst for a lot of her unpleasant situations. Today's character study looks at Leanne Anneke Battersby.

When first we met the Battersbys, Les, Janice, Leanne and Toyah, they rumbled into Weatherfield with their worldly goods in a clapped out old car and pull-trailer in July 1997. Leanne was 16 and fresh out of school. No A-levels for our Miss, she'd had enough of that and she was ready to get on with her life. The Battersbys as we knew them were a blended family. Les's biological daughter was Leanne and Toyah was Janice's but the two girls had grown up together and were mates as well as sisters. From what we know, Les and Janice had lived together for a few years before they got married, which was shortly before they moved into Number 5 (depending on which source you use, otherwise, they married in 1994...it's a bit murky).

We know that Leanne's mother left her to be raised by Les, and knowing what we do about Les, he probably made a botch job of it before Janice came along. We know that Janice has always been gobby, common and aggressive when she's had to be though she loves her daughter and grew to love Leanne as a daughter as well. She probably did provide some semblance of family stability for Leanne but family life at the Battersbys' is bound to have been fraught with loud arguments fueled by booze. Leanne and Toyah do not seem to have been brought up with a lot of discipline or responsibility and by the time we met them, they pretty much did what they wanted to and when.

Janice wasn't one for letting Leanne off the financial hook, however, and insisted that if she wasn't going to school, she would have to get a job. If Janice is nothing else, she's a worker (when she has to be). She managed to get Leanne a job as cleaner at Underworld but that didn't last long when Leanne was caught having a crafty fag in the Ladies' loo.

Even though the new family started off on the wrong foot, and as much as the residents viewed this family with suspicion, one person decided to take a chance on Leanne. Rita gave her a trial run in the Kabin after Mavis moved away and oddly enough, the two rubbed on quite well together for a time even if Leanne continued on rubbing other neighbours the wrong way, particularly Gail Platt. Leanne wasted no time giving young Nick Tilsley the glad eye and he was more than happy to return it. Gail was horrified that her son was attached to someone from such a common family.

Leanne was happy to wind up Gail and when she and Nick ran off to Scotland to get married, her job was complete. They weren't going to live under the Platt roof for long so eventually they rented a room from Ashley who was living in Number 4 which his "Uncle" Fred had purchased for Maureen, the bride who got away. Ashley was dating Maxine Heavey but runaway Zoe usurped her place. Zoe Tattersal and Leanne had made friends and Leanne is loyal to her friends and family in the "we all stick together" mode of thinking. In fact, it was Leanne that pursuaded Zoe to return and claim her baby from the Mallets.

The marraige didn't really go on that well. Leanne was holding down a job but Nick was going to school and was a bit wet behind the ears (or maybe, he was just a bit wet full stop). He and Leanne went to Canada for a holiday and when they returned, Leanne discovered she was pregnant. Nick insisted he was not ready to be a father and pushed her into having a termination. This irretrievably broke the marraige. Nick scarpered back off to Canada and Leanne took what financial offer she could get from Gail as a divorce settlement.

Single and ready to party, she dated Vikram Desai. Too many late nights and missed mornings at the Kabin meant she and Rita parted ways but she soon got a job in the Rovers behind the bar working for Natalie Horrocks. The party girl continued to have a good time but unfortunately, she soon made friends with cocaine and Jez Quigley. This went badly wrong when he used her for sex when she couldn't pay the piper and eventually, he wanted her to allow his boys to rob the Rovers. She put her foot down and fought back that time but Jez kept coming back. She became friends with Mike Baldwin's son, Mark Redman and finally, in order to escape Jez, she left town with Mark to travel to Amsterdam, just as friends.

Over the next few years, we'd get the occasional mention of her via one of the Battersbys and it seemed like she'd made it all the way to Australia. But in 2004, Les discovered her dressed as a belly dancer in a back street local bar, serving beer. She returned to the street and moved in with Janice. She discovered Nick was back from Canada and dating a local hairdresser, who also happened to be the woman that stole her sister's boyfriend from her. Leanne had just enough ammunition to give them both a hard time (remember that loyalty thing) and after a while, Maria and Nick's relationship showed the strain.

Leanne worked in a variety of jobs including a short term in the corner shop where her flirting with Dev resulted in her getting the sack. Rushing in without thinking, yet again, she decided to sue Dev for sexual harassment. Leanne never did figure out that "scream and leap" was not usually a successful method of planning. She used solicitor Maya Sharma who in turn used Leanne since Maya had a grudge to settle with Dev. The case was lost and Leanne was back to square one which is familiar territory to her.

In another relationship that was due for disaster, she dated Jamie Baldwin though she and Jamie's mother, Frankie, did not get along (too much alike?). She flirted with Danny who then ramped it up and pursued Leanne romantically. They decided to go for it and had an affair. Nothing serious, you understand, it was all just a laugh... until it was discovered. You see, Frankie found out and threw Danny out. Jamie was heartbroken at the betrayal of not only Leanne whom he'd wanted to marry, but of his father as well. Since neither of them had any better ideas, Danny and Leanne moved in together. Neither of them were in love with the other but they did like each other at least.

Unfortunately, Mike Baldwin, Danny's father, had health problems and was suffering from Alzheimer's. Danny and Leanne moved in with Mike and Leanne got the brunt of caring for Mike. Danny had managed to manipulate Mike into making a will giving it all to him, and cutting out his other sons, Mark and Adam but shortly after Mike's death, Leanne discovered a will that post-dated this one and in it, Mike left Adam his fair share. Janice advised her to make a copy of it and let Danny know (but not that the original was still safely with Leanne herself). Another bad choice. Leanne worked with Danny in the factory that he thought was all his now and they got engaged but when Danny thought that Frankie wanted him back, he dumped Leanne. She used the will and blackmailed him. She got half of the money she wanted and gave the will to Adam to do with what he ...er...will. She took the money and ran.

50,000 pounds should have been enough to give her a new start in life but this is Leanne "half baked idea" Battersby. When she returned to Weatherfield in March 2007, she did still have a bit of it left but was adding to it in an more traditional way, as a paid "escort". She thought that was ok since it wasn't as if she was walking the streets. Yet, Janice pointed out, bitterly disappointed in her stepdaughter. It seemed Leanne may have hit rock bottom and was yearning for a bit of respectability, especially since she'd quickly found a handsome new boyfriend in Liam Connor, now owner of Underworld.

She quit the business but Liam's sister-in-law, Carla, proposed that they start up a restaurant, buying out the local Italian. To get her share of the investment, Leanne went back to providing her services but was soon busted by Carla. Because Carla's husband, Paul, was almost one of her customers, Paul stood to lose everything and kidnapped Leanne by stuffing her in the boot of his car. He was drunk at the time and crashed his car. He was killed but Leanne was only shaken up but the secret was out. Shunned by Liam, outcast by most of the neighbours, Leanne was determined to show them all.

She borrowed the rest of the down payment she needed from Janice's new boyfriend, Roger. She hired the Duckies' grandson, Paul, who was a pretty good chef though he was a bit on the dodgy side too. She let him invest in order to pay back Roger and didn't mind that he obtained the money by pretending to be Jack at a bank and using Number 9 as collateral. Paul developed feelings for Leanne but she didn't return them. However, she used them.

The restaurant was not making money and eventually, after a joking suggestion by potential new boyfriend, Dan Mason who was the local bookie, she hinted to Paul that he should burn it all down and they could collect the insurance money and start over. He would do anything for her and he did the deed only to discover that she wasn't returning his affections as she led him to believe. Having nothing to lose, he's going to turn her in but alas, he is the only one that's going to pay for the fire, because it's his word against hers.

She got nothing, though, because the insurance didn't pay out after all. Janice turned on her and threw her out but they made up eventually. She went on nicely with bookie Dan Mason but her involvement in a lottery scam with Janice offended even his somewhat-dented sensibilities and that was over and done with. She was beginning to warm up to newly returned Peter Barlow and fell for his sweet little boy Simon but didn't cope well with  Peter's drinking and she went off to Leeds working. While she was gone, Peter stopped drinking and she's back in his bed once more. Unfortunately, her ex-husband Nick has returned and he still loves her.

Leanne agreed to Nick's proposition that they open up a bar together and The Joinery opened it's doors in November 2010. Along with the opening, Leanne also succumbed to Nick's amorous advances, a throwback to the past it seems. All the old attractions, unresolved feelings and nerves about her upcoming marraige to Peter seemed to have her throw a wobbler and she and Nick had an affair that lasted several weeks. She admitted it to her friend Carla who had fallen in love with Peter herself. Peter gently rejected Carla who continued to subtly push Nick and Leanne together so she could make inroads with Peter.

It all came crashing down, literally. Leanne gave Nick the push once and for all but the tram crash in December 2010 nearly cost Peter his life. Leanne married him in hospital, thinking he might not live and asked Nick to leave her be. She realized she did love Peter and Nick agreed to back down. Peter survived but has not dealt well with paralysis and is drinking again, with Carla egging him on.

Naturally, affairs don't stay secret for long and Peter found out about Leanne and Nick's affair. After he recovered from the crash, he had to learn to walk again and Nick, still determined to have Leanne, schemed to lure Peter back to the bottle. Leanne stuck with Peter though the recovery process was difficult and just before the wedding, Peter found out about the affair when Tracy overheard Carla and Leanne in the ladies' loo. Peter walked down the aisle for the wedding vow renewal they had planned and blasted her at the altar, serving Leanne with divorce papers. In a matter of days, though, Peter was persuaded by Ken to take her back and work through it and they plodded on. But there was more to come.

Leanne's long lost mother, Stella, showed up a few months after the wedding. Leanne was reluctant to say the least, after a lifetime of knowing her mother abandoned her to be raised by Les. After a devastating miscarraige, though, and little by little, Leanne and Stella finally bonded. Good thing, too, because Carla was still shadowing the marraige.

Clearly, Carla's presence is a thorn in Leanne's side. Peter and Carla finally gave in to temptation around the anniversary of the tram crash, something that sent Peter back into the bottle yet again with serious post-traumatic memories. Peter finally left her for Carla when the truth came out at the trial where Frank Foster was accused of raping Carla. Leanne's been on a mission to protect little Simon from Carla and Peter both, considering that while Carla isn't an alcoholic, she does drink too much and Peter's sobriety is not all that stable. Simon has already lost one mother and he wants to be with Leanne, holding a lot of anger inside against his father and Carla both. Leanne is fighting with everything she has in spite of the possibility of her own past being dragged up.
Peter and Leanne did make a good couple but I wonder what's the future going to hold for Leanne?  Leanne's history has her lurching from pillar to post, not seeming to have learned her lesson. She tries to be responsible but she just can't quite get the knack of it. Will Leanne ever put her murky past behind her and become respectible? Will she at least find some success in life, with a family of her own, sagely giving younger women advice gleaned from her own mistakes? In the aftermath of this current custody battle crisis, it looks like Leanne is going to yet again lean on Nick who is more than willing to hold her up. Is Nick the real love of her life or just an unresolved issue from her past?

Leanne isn't one of the savviest characters on the street but she's never been boring.


1890* said...

Another great post! TY

CorrieCanuck said...

Carla didn't egg Peter on his drinking during his paralysis, it was Nick.

I used to like Leanne, but her behaviour of late has made her one of my least favourite characters on the show at the moment.

I hate the way she speaks ill of both Peter and Carla in front of Simon. It is a huge pet peeve of mine (having seen it many times in real life) and it proves that she has not grown up at all.

And considering how quick she is to bring up everybody else's past, she should have her past drawn up as well.

In fact, I think the only people actually thinking of what is best for Simon is Ken and Carla. Peter and Leanne are too involved in their own methods of revenge against the other to be truly thinking of what's best for Simon.

but that's just my two cents

I love this soap... :)

Anonymous said...

Great post.

I prefer Peter with Carla but I like Leanne on her own. I personally think she'd be better off on her own. She was boring when she was with Peter (she was usually moaning about something) and she probably won't be much different, now that she's with Nick.

Like Misi, I hated the way she ranted on about Peter and Carla in front of Simon. She even tried to argue with Peter and tell Simon how everything was Carla's fault, bla bla bla, when he was lying in a hospital bed.

Anonymous said...

Meant to say I agree with CorrieCanuck

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