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Michael Vernon "Mike" Baldwin was a London-born businessman who owned and managed the Baldwin's Casuals and Underworld factories in Coronation Street between 1976 and 2006.

Mike started his career as a market stall holder but within a few years was running his own factory in the rag trade. In 1976, he opened denim-maker Baldwin's Casuals in Weatherfield and moved there, ending his relationship with his common-law wife Anne Woodley. As an employer, Mike was ruthless, quick to threaten his machinists with the sack and constantly putting them in their place.

Away from the factory, Mike led a bachelor's life, using his Cockney charm and bulging wallet to attract women. He wanted a family but his lies and schemes destroyed many a relationship and prevented him from watching any of his three sons grow up. His eldest, Danny, was a result of an affair between Mike and his sister-in-law Viv, and Mike didn't know until 2005 that he was his son. Next was Mark Redman, born after his mother Maggie had already left Mike and married Harry Redman, with Mike ordered to stay away.

Mike didn't marry until 1986 when he fell for Susan Barlow, Ken Barlow's daughter. Ken and Mike had been enemies ever since Mike's affair with Ken's wife Deirdre in 1983, and their feud would continue for many more years. In 1987, Susan fell pregnant but let Mike believe that she'd aborted the child so that she could carry on with her career, leading Mike to finish with her. It wasn't until 2001 that Mike found out Susan had given birth to a son, Adam.

Mike sold Baldwin's Casuals to builder Maurice Jones in 1989 only to lose most of the money in a bad property deal. The 1990s saw him rebuild his empire by marrying Jackie Ingram in order to get his hands on her late husband's factory, a plot which ended with Jackie seeing Mike off at gunpoint. His longest-lasting marriage was to Alma Sedgewick, but she too eventually saw through Mike, finishing with him after he slept with Julia Stone. After investments including MVB Motors, the Crimea Street flats, and factory Baldwin's Sportswear, Mike returned to his roots with knicker factory Underworld in 1997.

The latter years of Mike's life saw him re-connect with all of his sons and marry Linda Sykes, one of his machinists. He threw her out in 2001 after realising that she was only after his money. Mike died in 2006 after a short battle with Alzheimer's Disease.

BiographyEdit

1942-1976: Early yearsEdit

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Making his first appearance in 1976 as a Cockney businessman with an eye for the ladies, Mike is well known for his string of ruined relationships. During his time on the show, Mike had 25 girlfriends and four wives.

Mike's father was Frankie Baldwin, a former docker and cockney wideboy.

1976-1989: Baldwin's Casuals and affairsEdit

Mike Baldwin arrived in Weatherfield in 1976, having bought the destroyed remains of the Mark Brittain Warehouse and rebuilt it to house a seconf branch of his factory Baldwin's Casuals. He quickly employed some local residents and bought 5 Coronation Street in order to be close to his investment.  He impregnated florist Maggie Dunlop, but the relationship was not serious, and she left him when he refused to buy the florist's she worked in. She married Harry Redman shortly before the birth of her son Mark. The Redmans moved away and Mike didn't see his son again for many years afterwards.

Barlow baldwin affair

The showdown on the doorstep...

His first main (and perhaps biggest) storyline came in 1983 when he had an affair with Deirdre Barlow, a bored housewife living on Coronation Street. Before her marriage to Ken Barlow, Deirdre had been Mike's girlfriend, but she had decided Ken suited her better. When she confessed everything to Ken, Mike turned up on the doorstep ready to whisk Deirdre away, only for her to decide to stay with Ken and give her marriage another go. This event turned Mike and Ken into sworn enemies.

Mike went on to marry Ken's daughter Susan Barlow, upsetting Ken further. Their marriage seemed cosy, but he was intending for her to be a housewife, and she was a career woman. When she became pregnant, Susan disliked the life she saw ahead of her and she told Mike she had terminated her pregnancy before moving to Newcastle after just a year of marriage.

1989-1999: Rags to riches and back againEdit

In 1989 developer Maurice Jones approached Mike and asked if he'd be willing to sell his factory to him, as he intended to put a new row of houses between Coronation and Arkwright Street. Mike initially refused until he learned that Jones had bought up all the land surrounding it so needed the sale. As a result, Mike sold the factory for more than double its worth but also made enemies of those he had just put out of work.

Using the money, Mike moved into a quayside flat and also began seeing his estate agent Dawn Prescott. Mike soon found himself bored now he was no longer working. A couple of months later Mike was introduced to Dawn's brother Robert who informed Mike that he was trying to buy up a petrol station in Alcazar, Spain as the land it stood on was due to dramatically increase in value. Sniffing the potential to make a profit (and desperate to satisfy his ego), Mike quickly flew to Spain and bought the petrol station himself, then took great pleasure in telling Robert he'd bought the land from under his nose and would happily sell it on for a price. The smile was quickly wiped off Mike's face when Robert revealed that the land was worthless and had been his in the first place (Robert having purchased it then getting lumbered with it when developers moved elsewhere). Mike was furious, having lost a large chunk of the money he'd made from selling the factory, and his relationship with Dawn quickly soured when he accused her of being in league with her brother. Soon after this he resumed his on/off relationship with Alma Sedgewick.

Deciding to start again, Mike started sniffing around his old contacts looking for any business they could offer. He struck gold during a meeting with Peter Ingram of Ingram's Textiles, who ordered 1000 travel bags from Mike. Peter thought Mike still had a factory, when in fact he was paying some of his former workers to make the bags in their front rooms (as well as having Alma make some in his flat). When Peter learned the truth, he was unhappy but allowed this to continue. When Ivy Brennan learned that she and the other girls were being underpaid, she formed a workers cooperative alongside Emily Bishop and went to Peter Ingram herself and offered to keep working but directly for him, cutting Mike out and increasing their pay. Ingram, happy to wipe the smile off Mike's face, agreed. Not one to be outsmarted, Mike went to the travel company and offered them a lower price to make the bags, snatching the deal off Ingram. Mike then set up a small factory in the cafe flat, employing more girls, but this was shut down when the local health and safety department were called in. Ingram couldn't deny Mike's initiative and decided he'd rather have on side than against him, and offered him a job as a sales rep. The job offer, however, was conditional to Mike signing a contract promising he wouldn't set up business in similar lines or use his contacts for five years. Despite his hands being tied, Mike swallowed his pride and signed the contract, as he needed the job if he wanted to keep his Quayside flat. Mike claimed to local residents he was in partnership with Ingram, however Don Brennan learned the truth after he picked Ingram up in his taxi and loudly proclaimed it to everyone in the Rovers Return. An embarrassed Mike was hauled into Ingram's office the next day and ordered to knock it off.

Other than his father, Mike had only ever worked for himself so the idea of answering to Ingram left a bitter taste in his mouth. After just a few months, Mike decided he'd had enough and set up Phoenix Fabrics. To keep himself safe from Ingram's lawyers, Mike decided to hire a right-hand man who would be the face of the company while he ran things behind the scenes. Ingram sussed out what Mike was up to straight away and sent his wife Jackie (under a fake name) to the interviews to confirm his suspicsions. Mike was then moved inside the factory and demoted to the position of works manager, answering to Ingram's deputy Ralph Dobson, so Ingram could keep an eye on him. Mike hated being works manager more than he'd hated being a sales rep, as he was doing the same job he'd done at Baldwin's Casuals but without any of the money that came with it. He aimed to replace Dobson as Ingram's number two, but when Ingram told Baldwin he would never get that or any other higher position the two got into a huge argument which ended when Ingram dropped dead of a heart attack.

Seeking to fill the power vacuum at Ingram's Textiles, Mike immediately started acting as if he owned the place determined to oust Dobson who was placed in charge by Jackie. He secured the company an order with Phil Jennings and began a charm offensive on Jackie, only for her to decide to sell the business. Mike, keen to stop this, arranged for an associate to put in a low offer to persuade Jackie not to sell then acted like he'd received another job offer. Jackie took the bait, called off the sale and made Mike general manager, an act which caused Robson to resign. As a result, Mike became Jackie's right-hand man and helped her make all her business decisions.

It wasn't long before Mike and Jackie ended up in bed, which they did after celebrating a huge order. Jackie told Mike she wanted a relationship with him but only if he dumped Alma. Although reluctant, Mike didn't want to miss the opportunity to continue his takeover of Ingram's Textiles and kicked Alma to the curb.

In the New Year of 1991, Mike sold his Quayside flat and moved in with Jackie who decided to sell her house so they could live together somewhere that was truly theirs. The two married but the bride realised that Mike only wanted the money and factory that she had inherited from her late husband, and their marriage lasted just a week, Jackie threatening Mike with a shotgun if he didn't get out of her sight.

A couple of years later, after almost breaking up, Mike and true love Alma finally married. Mike ran his business, and Alma ran Jim's Cafe with Gail Platt; their marriage hit rocky patches at times. As his business went through a rough patch in 1998, Mike slept with Julia Stone, who turned out to be a former prostitute, and blackmailed him for large sums of cash. Long-suffering Alma finally found out the truth, and walked out on Mike; upon divorcing him, Alma reverted to her maiden name of Halliwell.

1999-2006: Fourth marriage, later years and Alzheimer'sEdit

Mike was soon wooing others, and settled with loud-mouthed machinist Linda Sykes, who was half his age. His son, Mark Redman, turned up in Weatherfield, and he took him on at the factory as manager. This proved wrong as, on his wedding night, Mike found out that Mark and Linda had been sharing a steamy affair. He forgave Linda, but told Mark to get out of his life. He duly left the area.

Mike's fourth marriage didn't last long though, as cracks began to appear. Mike enraged a jealous Linda by choosing to spend some days with his ex-wife Alma, as she was dying. He was with her as she died from cervical cancer. At this point, he knew that it was a mistake marrying Linda and that he loved Alma all along, and it was too late. He called Linda a tart, and claimed that she had married him only for his money, ending their marriage. Linda then slept with Hanif Ruparell, Mike's new business associate in revenge. She also caused a stir at the wedding of Fred Elliott and her mother Eve, and the pressure built on Mike as Mark reappeared for the celebration. Mike was spotted fighting with Linda, who disappeared. Mike was arrested on suspicion of murder and gained a few stalkers in the Sykes' clan. Linda was later found living in Ireland with a new man.

In 2001, Mike's first wife, Susan, returned to Weatherfield to build bridges with her estranged father, Ken. It was revealed that she had a son, Adam, by Mike. The truth was that she hadn't terminated her pregnancy as she said, but had made this up in order to escape Mike. As Mike began a fight to gain access to his son, Susan made efforts to escape him once more, but in her haste to leave, she crashed her car on the motorway and was killed. Adam survived the crash and this led to a custody battle between Mike and his nemesis Ken. Adam was awarded to Mike, although he was returned to Glasgow to attend Borthwick Hill boarding school.

In 2004, Mike was joined by his nephew Danny, and his wife, Frankie, and their children, Jamie and Warren. In October 2005, the revelation came that Danny was actually Mike's son, a result of a fling between Mike and his sister-in-law, Viv.

Ken Mike

Mike dies in the arms of his nemesis

Near the end of 2005, Mike was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. In April 2006, after a short battle with the illness, he suffered a fatal heart attack outside the factory and died in Ken Barlow's arms.

Background informationEdit

First and last linesEdit

"If I come back and find another card school, it's down the road for the lot o' yer." (First line)

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"You're finished, Barlow! Deirdre loves me. She's mine, I..." (Final line, just before suffering a fatal heart attack)

See alsoEdit