The business tycoon’s extensive manhunt for his wife Kimberly and their son Jody has finally borne fruit – thanks to a little help from his ex-wife, Cherel.
Barker (Robert Whitehead) has been holding his wife captive and, by using the truth serum on her, is trying to extract information that would lead to the whereabouts of his son. Kimberly, however, isn’t about to buckle under the pressure. Bottom line: he has to make a com- promise that would be mutually beneficial.
Whitehead, who has been away from the small screen for almost three months, has been working as one of the Ugly Stepsisters in stage director Janice Honeyman’s pantomime, Cinderella.
And, at about 25kg lighter, he is looking über fabulous.
Whitehead smiles: “I have been with Paula Galvão’s Eden Life Weight Loss Clinic since July last year. It offers an incredible pro- gramme and it is the most stress-free possible way of doing it.
“Doing Cinderella was a fan- tastic change for me. A pantomime is demanding. I could have never done it in the condition I was in last year, both physically and health-wise.”
Obsessed with finding his son Jody – the sole heir to the Haines empire – he once again finds himself in a Catch-22 situation.
“Kimberly is too tenacious. She is tough, smart and she does give me a run for my money. But she is not deadly in the way Cherel is. Barker does not instinctively feel she is a black widow spider, as it were.
“She is just a very ambitious girl who wants her own way. Kimberly is determined not to be controlled by Barker and he is determined that she will be. He wants the whole “family” package, come hell or high water.
“And Cherel, he just wants dead, really,” Whitehead shares.
So between Cherel and Kimberly, who is Haines more wary of?
“Cherel is always a lurking threat. But he knows where Cherel’s boy is. And they have this deal that their sons are off limits. That agreement kind of neutralises how far they can go with each other.
“Kimberly doesn’t trust this at all. But Barker does – he knows what losing Tanya did to Cherel,” the veteran actor explains.
With the Kimberly-Barker situation having reached a stale- mate, a deal is struck.
Whitehead shrugs: “They have been allies before and constantly do this kind of thing and come around to needing each other. This is always for a mutual benefit.”
While Barker clearly, on some weird level, loves Kimberly and wants to possess her, he isn’t able to do so.
“Right now he is pushing Harriet onto Kimberly. He knows Harriet’s deep loyalty to him and likes the idea of Harriet being Jody’s nanny,” he hints.
With his family soon to be reunited, Barker tackles his next project – taking down the Sibekos.
“The Jody situation has been a distraction, but that is being tidied up. And Barker realises he needs to get back to the business of the Sibeko family empire and taking them on. Now the face-off begins.
“There is a casino to develop and run and there is a huge Deep Gold project to get busy with,” says Whitehead says, hinting at his character’s rise to power once again.
While Whitehead was busy with his pantomime, Marisa Drummond was enjoying the joys of mother- hood.
When Tonight called her, she was out and about with her six-month-old daughter.
“We’ve got a little grumpy monkey in the back,” Drummond laughs. “I think she also wants in on the interview.”
On her character, Kimberly, being at the mercy of Barker, she said: “You must remember that Cherel helped him this time.”
As for Kimberly giving her hubby lots of grief, Drummond explains: “I managed to watch last night’s episode. Now the viewers can see she loves that child more than anything and would do almost anything for him.”
As for Kimberly’s determination to keep Jody away from Barker, she rationalises: “Growing up with Barker and his influence isn’t the greatest thing for Jody. And it isn’t only because she has seen what happened to his kids, Duncan and Lee. The relationship he had with Cherel resulted in their deaths.
“They have that unhealthy co-dependency. And Kimberly knows it isn’t safe or healthy for Jody.”
Kimberly gets Barker to see her side of things and they reach an agreement – she becomes the co-signatory on Jody’s Trust and she gets to call the shots at The Duncan once again.
“She still has her money from Benjamin so there is no dependency on Barker from a financial side. There are some interesting changes coming and a love interest on the horizon,” she teases.
Make no mistake about it – Kimberly has not forgotten about Cherel and the threat she poses. Let’s just say she is craftily plotting the demise of her nemesis.
• Catch all the twists in Isidingo on SABC3 at 7.30pm on weekdays.