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Well then I'll just have to give him a few more then, won't I! I can handle Mike, I can play him like a violin! And you're lying, I can tell you're lying! By the time we leave this place, I'll have him eating out of the palm of my hand again!
~ Linda boasting to her stepson Mark Redman that she plans to continue deceiving her husband Mike Baldwin - also his father - over their relationship, not realizing that Mike has overheard her confession about her true colors.

Linda Baldwin was a major antagonist of the British soap opera Coronation Street. She debuted on 19 October 1998 and became one of the show's secondary antagonists up until her departure on 5th September 2001.

She first came to Weatherfield as a mechanist who worked for her boss Mike Baldwin; later on she married him, becoming Mike's fourth wife in the process. However, it soon turned out that Linda was in fact a selfish and narcissistic golddigger who only married Mike for his wealth. She is also the brother of armed robber Dean Sykes, who was killed after holding both Mike and his archenemy Ken Barlow hostage in "The Fresco Siege". Soon enough, Linda turned Mike against his long-lost son Mark Redman after having an affair with the latter before her wedding to Mike. But after Mike begins to realize Linda's true colors following the deaths of his two ex-spouses Susan Barlow and Alma Baldwin respectively, he eventually discovered her lies about Mark and ends up divorcing her in response to her deceit.

History

Linda Sykes is the daughter of Evelyn Sykes and has four brothers, including one named Dean Sykes who became an armed robber at somepoint. Before arriving in Weatherfield she befriended Karen Phillips, going as far as to support Karen from her harassment ordeal and even letting Karen move into her house.

In 1999, she found a job as a mechanist at the Underworld factory and began to impress her boss Mike Baldwin on multiple occasions. It soon emerged that Linda had a disrespectful, uncaring personality when she began to hassle fellow colleague Hayley Patterson about her transgender change. Mike soon discovered Linda's treatment of Hayley and ordered her to leave her alone, despite initially supporting Linda's bigotry and merely saying this to get everyone back to work.

At somepoint, Linda began to seduce Mike and at sometime learned that his marriage with wife Alma Baldwin was threatened by an affair he committed and a subsequent blackmailing ordeal he endured. Linda later caused Alma to discover Mike's affair, thereby destroying their marriage and allowing Linda to proceed on seducing Mike even further. Mike, unaware of what Linda had done, began to date her and their relationship soon went public - although many were skeptical about this due to the large difference in their ages. She nonetheless started to use Mike to get special treatment, such as getting him to promote her to sale rap.

Eventually, Linda got engaged to Mike and they planned to get married. However, she later cheated on Mike by having an affair with his long-lost son Mark Bedman. This lasted until her wedding day to Mike when she attempted to keep Mark quiet, but he ended up telling Mike the truth about it. When Mike confronted Linda, she resolved to turn him against his son by claiming to her husband that Mark kept on pestering her; Mike ends up falling for Linda's deceit by believing her over Mark, going as far as to disown his son in the process.

Despite Linda's success in marrying Mike and turning him against his own son in order to extract their wealth, she later faced a personal problem when her brother Dean instigates an armed robbery at the Fresco supermarket; many people, including both Mike and his archenemy Ken Barlow, are held hostage in the ensuing siege. The situation ended with Dean's accomplice Lenny Larkin being arrested whilst Dean himself gets killed in a shootout with the police, much to Linda's devastation. Both Mike and Karen attempted to comfort Linda over her loss when she laments how she should've supported Dean more often.

In 2001, Linda supported Mike in his ongoing feud with Ken over a custody battle for Adam Barlow - both Mike's son and Ken's grandson - after the child's mother Susan, also Mike's ex-wife, has been killed in a road accident. Mike eventually won the custody battle, though it was clear that Linda merely supported him in order to prevent him from discovering her true colors. However, complications emerged when Mike learns that Alma is dying of cancer and he resolves to supporting her - against Linda's wishes. In response, Linda has an affair with Underworld manager Harvey Reuben whilst Mike was away with Alma.

She was later relieved when Alma died of cancer, believing that Mike would begin to focus more on her than his deceased spouse. But it was then that Mike realized that Alma is the one he truly loved and that while he is happy with Linda, it is not the same as Alma. Furthermore, he is incensed to see the extent of Linda's impatience and selfishness over the situation. They even had a row in which Linda threatens to divorce Mike and he finds out about her affair with Harvey, but she is forced to abandon her threats after learning that Harvey is already married; she manages to trick Mike into forgiving him after the events of Alma's funeral, during which they meet Alma's supposed cousin Richard Hillman and the residents gather together for Mike's heartwarming speech about Alma.

A few months later, Mike and Linda attend the upcoming wedding between Linda's mother Evelyn and Mike's friend Fred Elliot. They are soon joined by Mark, much to Linda's horror as Alma has previously urged Mike to reconcile with his son before her death. Mike does so and reunites with his son, though Linda is unhappy at the thought that Mark might expose her treachery and lies despite having foiled him the previous time. When she and Mark eventually come face-to-face again, she boasts about having deceived his father and vows to continue doing it - going as far as to threaten to lie about Mark again. However, neither of them realize that Mike heard the entire conversation; because of this, Mike realizes that Mark was telling the truth about Linda all along - that she turned him against his own son and has been lying to him about many things all along.

Enraged to discovering the extent of Linda's lies, Mike confronts her about it. She is unable to convince him otherwise and is horrified when Mike ends their marriage by telling her that he plans to divorce her. Soon enough, Mike kicks Linda out of their hotel room and forces her into his vehicle. Mark goes to comfort his father and they reconcile just as Linda, having realized that she lost everything, proceeds to drive off in Mike's car - stealing it the process. She is later reported to have been caught out; the car has returned to Mike, and then Linda was last mentioned to be dating a rich man and being engaged to him in Dublin.

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Trivia

  • She made a total of 328 appearances during her time on the show.
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