7 things you didn't know about Kate Ford - AKA Coronation Street's Tracy Barlow

Kate Ford
(Image credit: PA Archive/PA Images)

She's played the now-legendary Tracy Barlow since 2002, but here are a few things you might not already know about Coronation Street actress Kate Ford...

Kate Ford has become a household name thanks to her role as Coronation Street's Tracy Barlow... bringing cat fights, love triangles, murder and laughter to our screens since she joined the soap almost twenty years ago.

But what do we know about the actress behind Steve McDonald's sharp-tongued wife? Here are a few things you might not have known about the lovely Kate Ford...

1. She's got a very famous best friend

Kate has been best friends with TV presenter Kate Thornton for years, and the pair even live in the same street. She once told The Mirror: "Last year I spent Christmas with Kate Thornton at her house and she made the most ridiculous amount of food I've ever seen in my life.

"We live on the same street in London and our boys (Kate has a ten-year-old son called Otis) are really good friends. We're so close, and in and out of each other's houses all the time."

A photo posted by on

2. She was in another soap before Coronation Street 

These days Kate has become such an integral part of Coronation Street that we couldn't imagine life on the cobbles without her, but Weatherfield wasn't her first soapy experience. Before joining the cast of Coronation Street, Kate actually appeared in rival soap EastEnders! She was cast in a spin-off episode that focused on characters Ricky Butcher and Bianca Jackson.

3. She has got one thing in common with Tracy

Kate has confessed she shares one similarity with her on-screen alter ego, and that's being determined. She once told us: "I’m quite single-minded when I want to be and I suppose that’s something I've got in common with Tracy. If I’ve wanted to do something, I go all out to do it. That doesn’t just apply to work, it’s everything, because you’ve only got one life haven’t you?"

4. She was in a music video for The Beatles 

Before becoming a household name in Coronation Street, Kate appeared in a music video for The Beatles song Free as a Bird in 1995. The video shows Kate looking very glam as she comes out of a shop with friends... you can't miss her!


5. She thinks some people are frightened of her

Kate has confessed that she doesn't get approached by fans in public very much, and she's convinced it's because people are scared of her thanks to Tracy's sharp tongue! She told us: "I think maybe people are frightened of me, no one really bothers me at all. It’s fine. The only people who speak to me are women who come up to me and say ‘I’m just like Tracy’ and I think ‘really’?!"  

6. She's got a weakness for handbags

Kate has confessed that the most expensive thing in her wardrobe is her black Chanel quilted handbag, but she has a great money-saving tip for other handbag fans out there... the Designer Bag Exchange. Kate loves it because all you have to do it take your designer bags in and they'll either buy it from you, or you can swap it for another one. Perfect for when you get bored of your bag!

A photo posted by on

7. She was once followed to the Caribbean by the paps

You might think that jetting away to Antigua with your friends is just what a soap star needs to relax... but not if you're Kate, because she was followed all that way to the Caribbean by photographers! She told us: "Me and Shobna Gulati (who played Corrie's Sunita Alahan) got followed all the way to Antigua and once we got to Antigua, we got on two commuter planes and they were still there on the beach, it was unbelievable. They were hiding in the bushes!"

Picture credits: Main image: PA Archive/PA Images

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.