Adam Barlow is the son of the late Mike Baldwin and his former wife Susan Barlow. Shortly after the couple's divorce, Susan returned to Glasgow and gave birth to Adam, keeping him a secret from Mike and the Barlows until 2001. Soon afterwards, Susan died in a car crash, leaving Adam in the custody of Mike. Adam returned to his boarding school in Glasgow before taking up a job at Mike's factory Underworld in 2005, which he later gave up for a job in Portsmouth in 2007. After living in Canada for a number of years, Adam returned to Weatherfield in 2016 after his grandfather Ken suffered a stroke. He was later a prime suspect when Ken was attacked, but his uncle Daniel Osbourne was revealed to be the culprit.
1988-2001: Early life
When Susan Barlow became pregnant in 1987 she, after days of misery, went to London for three days, revealing on her return that she had had an abortion.The incident caused Susan and Mike's relationship to fall apart and Susan moved to Glasgow with the secret that she was in fact still pregnant. Adam was later born in May 1988.
2001-2004: Mother's death
Adam's existence was kept a secret from Mike and the Barlows until January 2001 when Susan's twin brother Peter revealed to their father Ken that Susan had a secret. Susan came down to Weatherfield a few days later and introduced Adam to the family. Word soon got out to Mike and he demanded to be able to see Adam, though Susan was firmly against the idea. She decided to run away with Adam but died in a car crash on the way there, while Adam experienced minor injuries.
Following Susan's death, a custody battle was waged between Ken and Mike, with Mike eventually being awarded custody. Adam was unhappy at his new school so Mike agreed to let him return to his old boarding school in Glasgow, Borthwick Hill. Adam visited his family a few times later in 2001 and in 2002 and 2003.
Adam quit his school in May 2005 and landed a job in his father's factory Underworld. Mike died in April 2006 and Adam conflicted with his half-brother Danny Baldwin over who would inherit Mike's assets. Adam was furious to discover that in Mike's will most of his belongings, including the largest share of Underworld, were to be given to Danny. However, Danny and his girlfriend Leanne Battersby had actually hidden the most up-to-date will from Mike's family and when Danny broke up with her, she gave the correct will to Adam. Adam reached a compromise with Danny and they both became co-proprietors of the factory, although there were frequent disputes between the brothers. However later that year, Adam sold his share of Underworld to brothers Liam and Paul Connor, to the dismay of his family, who felt he was throwing away what his father gave to him.
In early 2007, Adam tried to support his aunt Tracy Barlow after she was arrested and put on trial for the murder of Charlie Stubbs, though Tracy was ultimately convicted of murder in April. Shortly after the trial, Adam's uncle Peter offered him a job in Portsmouth opening a betting shop which he accepted. Adam and Peter left a few days later.
2007-2016: New life
In October 2008, Peter discovered his ex-wife Lucy had recently died of breast cancer and he was subsequently given custody of their five-year-old son Simon. Peter and Simon went to stay with Ken and his wife Deirdre in Weatherfield to get support, and Adam continued to run the bookies in Peter's absence.
Adam moved to Canada and became a qualified solicitor. In July 2013, grandfather Ken travelled there to support him after suffering a shock collapse at work. Adam eventually recovered from his undisclosed illness and Ken returned to Weatherfield in August 2014.
In November 2016, Adam flew back to England a few weeks after Peter informed him that Ken had suffered a stroke. He arrived in Weatherfield, where he took some whisky from the office at Underworld, resulting in a conflict with the factory owners, Aidan Connor and Johnny Connor. After reuniting with Peter and Tracy, he went to see Ken in hospital where he met his uncle Daniel Osbourne for the first time. Daniel and Adam stayed with Ken at his home until they moved into 15a Coronation Street, with Daniel's new girlfriend Sinead Tinker tagging along in March 2017. That same month, Ken was attacked by an unknown assailant; Adam was suspecting to be the attacker, but Adam himself suspected it was Daniel, as the pair did not seem to get along. He bundled Daniel in the boot of his car and demanded to tell him the truth, but Daniel instead told Adam that Ken had manipulated Sinead into aborting their baby. This caused Adam to report Sinead to the police, which caused Daniel to angrily threaten him. Adam's suspicions about Daniel being Ken's attacker were proven right, and Daniel was cut off from the family. However, after Daniel had a recreational drug overdose, Adam realized his uncle was suffering from a lot of issues from the past and made up with him.
- Adam's existence is that of a retcon. Although off-screen, Susan didn't fake an abortion so she could leave Mike, she "aborted" her child as she wasn't prepared for motherhood. Also 2001 seems to hint that Ken never had contact with Susan after 1987 so wasn't aware of Adam, however, this is untrue as he still visited Susan off-screen in that time. Susan was said to be present at Peter's wedding in 1990.
- Adam was introduced in January 2001, played by Iain De Caestecker, as part of a storyline which involved a custody battle between long-time rivals Ken Barlow and Mike Baldwin. Although Adam left the programme after a few months, De Caestecker reprised the role for a few episodes in 2002 and 2003.
- Adam returned as a full-time character in December 2004, now played by Samuel Robertson, who was credited as Sam Robertson during this stint. Robertson left the role in 2007 with his last onscreen appearance taking place in April of that year.
- Adam's shock collapse in 2013 was written in to accompany the absence of William Roache.
- It was announced in July 2016 that Adam would be re-introduced to the programme later that year alongside Peter Barlow and Daniel Osbourne, as new producer Kate Oates wanted to strengthen the Barlow family. In September it was confirmed that Samuel Robertson would reprise the role of Adam. Adam returned onscreen the following November as a full-time character.
First and last lines
"Hi." (First line, to grandfather Ken)