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Irma Ogden: Misc


Coronation Street

Up to date as of January 31, 2010
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Irma Barlow
Occupation Shop owner
Born 28th September 1946
Residence Llandudno
Father Stan Ogden
Mother Hilda Ogden
Sibling(s) Trevor Ogden
Tony Ogden
Sylvia Ogden
Spouse(s) David Barlow (1965)
Children Darren Barlow (1968)
First appearance 27th January 1964
Last appearance 8th December 1971
Duration 1964-1968, 1969, 1970-1971
Played by Sandra Gough

Irma (formerly Freda) Barlow (née Ogden) was a Coronation Street resident in the 1960s and early 1970s. She was Stan and Hilda Ogden's daughter and married Ken Barlow's brother David - a marriage which ended with Irma being widowed when David and their son Darren were killed in a car crash in Australia in 1970.




Early life

Freda Ogden was born on 28th September 1946, the eldest child of Stan and Hilda Ogden. Freda was like her parents in some ways, less in others; the Ogdens lived in near-poverty as neither parent brought in much money and lazy Stan was a heavy drinker and was occasionally violent to his family. Hilda was dedicated to Stan and stood by him but Freda was sick and tired of his excuses and in 1961 left home, having had enough.

In 1964, Stan, who was working as a long-distance lorry driver, tracked down Freda, now Irma, to Weatherfield, where she had taken on jobs at the Corner Shop and Rovers Return Inn in Coronation Street. Irma's brother Tony and sister Sylvia had been taken into council care, but Stan swore he had changed and bought a house in the street, No. 13, promising a fresh start for the family. Irma had her doubts but moved into the house with Stan, Hilda and her other brother Trevor.

At Christmas, Irma went out with footballer David Barlow, who was in town visiting his family. The Ogdens approved of David because of his money, but Irma found out David was suspended for accepting a bribe - which he was later cleared of. David returned to play, but when he came back permanently, retiring from football, he took Irma out again. Irma liked David; he was steady and reliable but he and his brother Ken were successful and Ken thought the Ogdens were too common.

When shop owner Florrie Lindley emigrated to Canada in 1965, Irma continued at the shop under new owner Lionel Petty. Lionel ran the shop like a military base and Irma didn't warm to him.

Marrying David

David popped the question to Irma during a trip to the Blue John Mines. Irma immediately accepted, flattered that somebody like David would be interested in somebody like her. However, their engagement wasn't a bed of roses as when David didn't like Irma excluding him when she went dancing. Irma didn't like his reaction and returned the ring, but they made up when David apologised.

David Barlow and Irma just after getting hitched

As traditionally the bride's father paid for the wedding, Stan was panicking about the cost, but they eventually got married in secret at Ridgeway Street Registry Office, tired of their families taking potshots at each other, with David's footballer friends as witnesses. Their families and friends found out and surprised the couple by showing up after the wedding and holding a surprise reception.

David and Irma looked forward to a well-off new life in Cheshire, but while playing football, David was injured enough that the doctor told him his football days were over. The Barlows couldn't afford the house they were interested in anymore and had to remain at 17 Ackroyd Street where they had been living for a while. When Lionel Petty announced he was moving, Irma convinced a reluctant David that they should buy the shop - David had higher aspirations than living in Coronation Street and buying the shop would be as much as accepting a mediocre lifestyle. Irma talked him round as no other work was coming his way.

By 1966, Irma was getting bored with the shop. She and Lucille Hewitt got jobs as machinists at the new PVC factory across the street, leaving poor David with Hilda as his new assistant. Irma found the work hard going and kept burning the plastic and she was warned by works manager John Benjamin, who told her to work faster or she would be sacked. After blowing up her machine, Irma was moved to folding plastic, which she was better at, but she soon got fed up with the factory and went back to the shop.

Irma was friends with Ken's wife Valerie, and the two sometimes went out. Flirty Irma enjoyed the attentions of Ron Jenkins and Brian Thomas when she and Valerie went to the cinema. Ron tried to make a date with Irma and stole her compact, refusing to give it back until she agreed to a date. Realising she had put her foot in it, Irma introduced Ron and Brian to Ken and David.

Baby talk

Irma tells David she's returning to work after miscarrying

In 1967, Irma told David she wanted to have a baby in two years. Irma got pregnant but miscarried after four months - David was keen to try again but Irma was convinced her miscarriage meant she couldn't have children. David held out, hoping Irma's decision would change over time but looked into other options for them, including fostering, which they pursued, fostering Jill Morris for a few days over Christmas.

David still had his ambitions of a better life, preferably in football, and went on to manage the all-woman Weatherfield Hotspurs. Irma didn't like the thought of David working with so many women and joined the team but was terrible at football and quit.

In 1968, even David was getting bored with the shop and was interested in playing football for a team in Australia, considering himself recovered from his earlier injury. Irma didn't want to live in a foreign country but was talked round by David and the couple sold the shop to Les and Maggie Clegg.

The couple's move to Australia was a happy one at first. Irma got pregnant again and they had a son, Darren, born later in 1968. In 1969, Irma briefly came up to Weatherfield over Christmas.


Killer Joe Donelli poses a danger to Irma

The Barlows' new life came to an end in 1970 when a car crash took the lives of both David and Darren. Bookie Dave Smith loaned the Ogdens £600 for Hilda to fly to Australia and bring Irma home. Irma soon found herself back in the shop when Stan bought a 30% share using money the residents had raised for him to pay Dave back. Irma worked at the shop to pay Dave back the money herself and after a few weeks Dave asked her out. Irma accepted for the fun of it but put an end to the relationship when she found out that as stake for the £600 Dave had acquired the deeds to Stan and Hilda's house.

Having apparently moved on from her grief rather quickly, Irma moved into the shop flat with Bet Lynch. However, Irma was suffering from depression and when reminded of her losses she got confused and kidnapped toddler Antony Lock from outside the post office, thinking he was Darren.

Irma continued seeing men, including Billy Walker and Joe Donelli. Joe had killed Steve Tanner in 1968 but got away with it, and confessed the murder to Irma, telling her he would kill her if she told anyone. The next few weeks were hell for Irma as she lived in fear of what Joe would do. Ultimately he took Irma hostage in the shop flat, holding a pair of scissors to her throat. Joe eventually shot himself inside Minnie Caldwell's house.

In 1971, Irma disappeared, but contacted Maggie to ask her to buy her out of the shop. Irma started a new life in Llandudno and never returned to the Street.

Behind the scenes

In 1971, Sandra Gough abruptly left the series because of illness, requiring scripts to be hastily rewritten and Janet replacing Irma in an upcoming storyline with Alan Howard. Sandra returned after recovering but left again in December when she was sacked for taking too much time off. Sandra was quoted in the press after her sacking: "I was taking more and more time off, hoping that they would sack me. I was sick of being Irma. It was driving me mad."

Miscellaneous information

  • Irma played one of the ugly sisters in the Street's production of Cinderella.
  • Her godfather was Bernie Sparks.

See also

This article uses material from the "Irma Barlow" article on the Coronation Street wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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