#1
Kiss me, Barlow

by TOM BRYANT, Daily Mail

28th March 2006




They are both national institutions. One helped Britannia rule the waves. The other helped Coronation Street rule the airwaves. And each had a liking for the ladies.

So, in death, the legends of Horatio Nelson and Mike Baldwin have been entwined in a rather bizarre publicity exercise to mark the demise of Johnny Briggs's character after 30 years on the ITV soap.



The 2006 Radio Times version: Mike Baldwin is tended by Ken Barlow (left). On the right, the 1807 original by Arthur Devis showing the death of Nelson. It was painted 2 years after the event.

The front cover of this week's Radio Times recreates the painting of The Death of Nelson, with an ashen-faced Baldwin surrounded by his nearest and dearest during his final moments.

Prominent among the mournful gathering is his former arch rival, Ken Barlow, played by William Roache.

The decision to recreate Arthur Devis's 1807 masterpiece will not please the traditionalists, who may feel that running a factory in fictional Weatherfield could not be compared with commanding a fleet.

They could also point out that Ken Barlow is hardly Captain Hardy, Nelson's right-hand man who, as legend has it, was asked to kiss his master as he lay dying on HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.


However, Radio Times deputy editor Shem Law defended the decision to recreate Devis's work.

He said: "Like Nelson, Baldwin lived quite an eventful life - and also had his fair share of run-ins with women - so we thought it was more than appropriate."

The Street's serial womaniser, Briggs's character went through four marriages and numerous flings.

Nelson married Frances Nisbet before embarking on his famous affair with Lady Hamilton. Mr Law added: "Mike Baldwin is such a large star in the show and has been around for such a long time that we wanted to portray a dignified death - and it doesn't get any more dignified than Nelson's death."

In Baldwin's final appearance, to be shown on April 7, he suffers a heart attack and dies in Ken Barlow's arms.

The Death of Nelson hangs in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

After being contacted by Radio Times, the curators have decided to hang the magazine's cover next to the original.



dailymail.co.uk