Coronation Street love rat Des Barnes is worlds away from soap past in gym snap

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Phil Middlemiss now looks totally different from his soap days (Image: Daily Record)
Phil Middlemiss now looks totally different from his soap days (Image: Daily Record)

Coronation Street's infamous love rat Des Barnes is now worlds away from his acting past as he shared a snap of himself at the gym. Actor Phil Middlemiss looked unrecognisable from his soap days after playing the character for almost a decade.

He starred in the ITV soap from 1990 until 1998. Now aged 59, Phil has taken to social media after a tense training session. The former soap star posed alongside former WBC interim heavyweight champion Dillian Whyte in the boxing ring. Phil wore a black T-shirt, workout shorts and a pair of Hugo Boss sliders.

He gave a thumbs up to the camera for the snap next to the boxing star. Phil captioned the photo: "Revenge is sweet congrats champ." The actor played Des until 1998, when his character suffered a heart attack and died in wife Natalie's (Denise Welch) arms. One of his most memorable storylines involved him moving in his ditzy girlfriend Raquel only for her to call things off as she realised that he would never commit.

Coronation Street love rat Des Barnes is worlds away from soap past in gym snap eidexiqreiqtrinvPhil showed off his tense workout in the gym (Instagram)
Coronation Street love rat Des Barnes is worlds away from soap past in gym snapHis character Des left Coronation Street in 1998 (Granada Television)

He was so jealous of her moving on with local nice guy Curly Watts that he sabotaged their engagement party, and forced her to admit that she didn't love her future husband. But Des' womanising days seemed to be over when he got married to Denise Welch's character Natalie.

Phil since starred in Where The Heart Is, and was the winner of a special Corrie-themed Celebrity Come Dine With Me with Julie Goodyear, Tupele Dorgu and Ken Morley. In 2012 he was declared bankrupt after he poured his life-savings in to directing a film in Africa that was derailed by the 2008 financial crisis.

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He told the Manchester Evening News: "It was partly-funded by myself but I didn’t have the money to fund the rest of the film. Filming came to a grinding halt. It was nearly three-quarters of the way along the line. It has been a difficult time. Three-and-a-half years is a long time to fund myself without any income. I have had to get money from family and friends."

He was caught up in the costliest global bribery scandal of all time, accused of involvement in corruption at the highest level of government in Ghana. Joining hosts Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard on Good Morning Britain in 2021, Phil revealed that the allegations turned his life upside down and have seen him lose his house and suffer from panic attacks and PTSD.

"I ended up losing the house, the car," he said. "It's a very stressful situation." Phil, who denied any wrongdoing, spent the last two years facing possible prosecution by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office in relation to allegations of bribery and corruption and the £50million sale of three C-295 military planes by global aerospace giant Airbus to the Ghanaian government.

In 2019 Airbus agreed to pay a record $4billion fine to the UK, France and US after a four-year investigation in more than 12 countries found the firm bribed public officials and hid the payments in a web of worldwide corruption. A year later in July 2020, Interpol had issued a red notice on him, which the Ghana Government had sent out on all media platforms.

"When I saw the red notice had been issued [...] my first thought was, 'Oh my god'," he said. "It's full of the world's worst people. It said he might be travelling under the alias of 'Des Barnes'... I'm a bit stupid but I would think of a better one than that!" He also revealed that two of his former co-stars had continued to support him through such a difficult time.

"Charlie Lawson (Jim McDonald) has been a great friend, Simon Gregson (Steve McDonald)," he said. "You find out who your real friends are." The actor revealed that he has been "approached by a few networks for dramatisation" of the ordeal, but that he was "waiting until his life was in order" before thinking about agreeing to anything.

Speaking to The Mirror, Phil opened up about the panic attacks he had been suffering from: "My heart started missing a few beats, leading to regular palpitations. And many sleepless nights. Protecting my family is paramount, I’m fortunate to have a great support network and very loyal friends."

Mia O'Hare

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