Mikey North as Gary Windass (2013)
|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Mikey North|
|First appearance||14 November 2008|
|Created by||Kim Crowther|
|Coronation Street: Gary's Army Diaries (2011)|
Labourer (2011, 2012–)
Delivery Man (2011–12)
|Home||5 Grayling Street|
Gary Windass is a fictional character in the UK television ITV soap opera, Coronation Street. Portrayed by actor Mikey North, the character first appeared onscreen during the episode airing on 14 November 2008.
The character of Gary was created as part of a new family unit that new producer Kim Crowther introduced to the soap opera, consisting of a mother, father, son and uncle. They were originally billed as a storyline device for established character David Platt. An ITV spokesperson said of the character and his onscreen family: "The Windass family are very rough and ready, always ducking and diving. Early on they get involved with David Platt when he helps to fit a new kitchen in the Windass family home. However, Anna thinks the work is shoddy and refuses to pay for it. David goes round, rips out the kitchen and sets fire to it outside the family’s house." fellow actress Debbie Rush said of their entrance and choice of surname for the family, that they would be prepared for the public taunts they would receive for their surname. The character was originally called Carl Windass but was changed last minute to Gary Windass after a series of name changes to all the members of the family since their inception, but before appearing onscreen.
Upon their onscreen arrival it panned out almost as planned seeing him arrive as the son of Eddie and Anna Windass. He and his uncle Len went after David Platt and Joe McIntyre after David menaced his parents into handing over the money they owed for a new kitchen. Even though he has been brought up by his parents Gary looks up to his uncle who has had a heavy impact on his personality and his antics on the wrong side of the law.
Personality and identity
The character of Gary is quite one-sided at first with him being presented as a typical bad boy. Actor Mikey North who portrays the character told the Scarborough Evening News that he is a hard nut type of guy but has plenty more side to come out stating: "Gary has a lot of sides to him. He is a bit of a hard nut, but also a charmer with the ladies.". Also he calls his character a lovable rogue. His traits and personality are based on what his onscreen uncle tells him to act like and in an interview with media website Digital Spy he talks about this saying: "He gets it all from his uncle Len, who in a way is his idol. Gary copies his uncle and wants to be like him, even though he realises that it's not the best thing to do." In the same interview he also speaks about the fact that Gary is in love with himself and thinks he can get any girl he wants with his own one-liners and the fact he loves to know that he is succeeding in winding people up with his antics. Popular Corrie coverage website Corrieblog described the character as cunning in the 'thick way' as he knows he would have to face consequences for fighting after he continually wound fellow character David Platt up.
After six months of the character being onscreen North commented more about his character saying: "The first time you step onto the Street you have to stamp your mark as to what kind of character you are. At first Gary was shouty and happy to be aggressive, but the more you see it, his nicer side is coming out. In the run-up to the court case you see him showing affection towards his family. He fears the worst. He thinks he's going to go down. He's worried about his mum too."
Gary takes Joe McIntyre's (Reece Dinsdale) working tools as Len (Conor Ryan) threatens him. Gary and Len steal and burn out a sports car that David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd) and his friend Graeme Proctor (Craig Gazey) had been driving. Gary is later furious when David smugly informs him that the car was already stolen. Gary and the rest of his family later move right next door to the Platts' where their feud continues to heighten.
On Christmas Eve 2008, he flirts with Rosie Webster (Helen Flanagan) in the Rovers, the pair then get drunk on Rosie's birthday champagne and end up in bed together that night much to the annoyance of Kevin (Michael Le Vell) and Sally (Sally Dynevor). The following day, Gary virtually ignores Rosie when he arrives at the Platts' Christmas dinner party. He then gets into a fist fight with David after telling him he has set his sights on David's girlfriend Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan). On New Year's Day 2009, Gary constantly pesters Tina, which results in Tina's father Joe warning him off. In spite of the tension, Gary shares a relatively friendly relationship with Tina, and enjoys winding David up by repeatedly bragging that Tina is soon going to be his girlfriend.
After Gary nearly brawls with Joe, he talks Len into helping him steal expensive copper piping from Joe's workplace. Joe is initially the prime suspect, but David tells the police he'd seen saw Gary and Len laughing and driving away the night of the theft. Gary is thrilled to learn that Tina believes that he is innocent, as this drives a further wedge between her and David.
In January 2009, Gary continually follows and taunts David following him down the street. During their altercation Gary mentions several things from David's past including him driving into the lake, and pushing his mother down the stairs. Things escalate when David enters his house, having seen Tina approaching, Gary blocks him from shutting the door and tells him "Come out and fight me like a man, or are you scared?" David shoves Gary back and after a few more words the pair fight. Gary gets the better of it and David is left on the floor after the fight, later it emerges that he has a broken nose and concussion. After the fight Gary flees but he is arrested upon his return. Tina lies to the police after David tells her to, and the story also received media attention ahead of the air date.
Gary starts to become very worried that he is going to prison as Tina continues to persist with her claims. He becomes very angry when he discovers that Len has been intimidating Tina into changing her story and apologises to her for Len's behaviour. On 2 March 2009, Gary's court hearing takes place, during which Tina admits to the prosecution that she had been lying about who started the fight. Gary is cleared of the assault charge much to his and his family's delight.
A few months after the verdict David begins plotting against Gary. He steals tools from Bill Webster (Peter Armitage) and lets Gary take the wrap for it, only to defend him, this is a way for him to make Gary believe the air is cleared between the pair as they shake hands and make up. David tricks Gary into buying stolen goods from him - but they actually belong to Graeme. In June 2009, David takes full revenge on Gary when his mother Gail (Helen Worth) and grandmother Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls) go abroad. He tricks Gary into robbing a house - which is Audrey's - David steals the keys and hides all photos of his family so Gary won't know whose house he is burgling. While David deliberately stays at home during the burglary, he asks Graeme to spy on Gary as he goes to the house, Gary is about to go home when he hears that David is not coming, but instead goes into the house. Graeme tells David about this via phone and David tells him to call the police. However, David's grandfather Ted Paige (Michael Byrne), who is housesitting, arrives at Audrey's. Gary sees him and pushes him as he tries to make a run for it, while Ted chases him. Ted recognises him and calls the police. Gary returns to the Street only to see a police car outside his house, he has no choice but to run away. David's plan to frame Gary and get rid of him has tragic consequences as Ted later has a heart attack, which he survives. Len offers Gary an alibi, but Gary is still arrested, only to be released later. Gary realises that David has set him up and attacks him, warning him not to cross him again. Gary had told his parents and the police that he wasn't robbing Audrey's house, however he later tells his parents the truth and decides to confess to the police.
Gary apologises to Ted for what happened - although this is halted by David - Ted accepts the apology and even helps build bridges between Gail and the Windass family. However, the Windass family have since been shunned by the rest of the Street, when Gary goes to the corner shop, he is ignored by Tina and taunted by Minnie Chandra (Poppy Jhakra), although Molly Dobbs (Vicky Binns) is less judgmental. Gary and Eddie (Steve Huison) are told to get out of the kebab shop by Tina and are later ridiculed by Janice Battersby (Vicky Entwistle) and Sean Tully (Antony Cotton). On 26 June 2009, Gary is sentenced, much to the delight of David, however, Gary tells the police about David's involvement in the burglary and David is the one who is shunned as a result. While Gary is incarcerated, David is beaten up on the street by an unknown attacker. When Gary is released, he gleefully reveals to David that he organised it.
In November 2009, Gary makes an insulting remark about the armed forces when he sees Ted wearing a poppy for Remembrance Day. Ted and Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) vent their anger at Gary, who takes it to heart, apologising to Ted the next day and asks to hear about his days of service. Ted's stories soon lead Gary to go on a taster weekend for the army, after which he decides to sign up. On 15 January 2010, an emotional going away party is held for him in the Rovers, David shakes hands with him, whilst slyly putting an archery target on his back. Anna is furious when she discovers this, Gary tells her not to rise to it and calls David a 'loser' in front of everyone, it appears that the pub are more on Gary's side. After a tearful goodbye he says goodbye to his parents and leaves in the back of a cab.
Gary returns several weeks later with Quinny (Steven Bell), a friend who is also in the armed forces. During their visit, Quinny receives news that his brother, also serving in the Army, has lost his legs in a roadside bomb. The news makes Gary and Anna even more anxious about potentially going to war. Indeed, several weeks later, Gary goes AWOL through fear of what might happen in a warzone. He is discovered AWOL by David Platt who agrees to keep quiet. However, upon seeing the stress Anna is under, David informs the Windass parents of Gary's whereabouts. Eddie later convinces him to return to the Army.
In September 2010, Gary and Quinny return for another visit before they go to Afghanistan. Becky McDonald's (Katherine Kelly) half-sister Kylie Turner (Paula Lane) sets her sights on Gary and the two end up sleeping together in Mary Taylor's (Patti Clare) motor home. Gary soon tires of Kylie, however, and attempts to win the affection of wheelchair-user Izzy Armstrong (Cherylee Houston). To prove himself, he stands up to a man who makes an insulting comment about Izzy's disability. Gary and Quinny later get into a fight outside the Rovers with the men in question, and Gary punches the thug. A passing Kirk Sutherland (Andrew Whyment) tells Gary and Quinny to go before anybody sees them. Kirk later takes the blame for the attack, with a relieved Gary thankful to Kirk for saving his Army career. The night before he heads out to Afghanistan, Gary finally gets together with Izzy.
An army officer visits Anna and Eddie in November 2010, informing them that Gary was involved in a roadside bomb and is severely injured whereas the other troops, including Quinny, had died as a result. He also states that Gary will be sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in Birmingham. Roy Cropper (David Neilson) informs the public at the Rovers about the tragic news and as a mark of respect he requests a 2 minute silence. Gary is psychologically and emotionally scarred as a result of the attack. He lashes out at those around him, including Anna. He plans on visited Quinny's bereaved parents but cannot face it and doesn't go. The chaotic aftermath of the street's tram crash on 6 December 2010 triggers Gary's post-traumatic stress disorder and he is forced to flee to his home where he breaks down in tears. He becomes increasingly more withdrawn and begins drinking alone much to the concern of Izzy, Eddie and Anna. Eventually, Gary manages to deal with this problem himself and eventually faces Quinny's parents which seemed to have helped him a lot.
Gary becomes obsessed with Izzy's welfare. He takes a job at Underworld so he can be around Izzy more. Izzy goes into town with Sean Tully (Antony Cotton) and Julie Carp (Katy Cavanagh) to get away from Gary for a while, only to get robbed by a cash point. Gary then takes Izzy's wheelchair away so she cannot leave the house and says he will later return it. He then keeps her imprisoned in the house until Izzy's father Owen Armstrong (Ian Puleston-Davies) rescues Izzy. He then breaks up with Izzy.
When Owen takes an interest in Anna, Faye Butler (Ellie Leach) steals Owen's phone so that she and Anna can go to the cinema as planned instead of Anna meeting Owen at The Rovers Return. Faye later sends Anna a message that Owen does not want to meet her. After Anna finds out about the situation she tells Owen she is not interested. Later Owen and Anna sleep together. Anna does not know if she has made the right decision so she tells Gary. Gary then sets Owen and Anna up at The Bistro.
In July 2012, Izzy and Gary decide to have a baby. Izzy miscarries and they try to adopt, but can't due to Gary's criminal record. Izzy's sister Katy Armstrong (Georgia May Foote) offers to be a surrogate mother to their baby. At first, they all agree, but Katy's boyfriend initially Chesney Brown (Sam Aston) refuses to let them do it. Chesney agrees but Izzy sees it isn't fair so she calls it off - she also breaks up with Gary because of his desire to be a dad and her not being able to give him that. The reunite and eventually select Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan) as their surrogate, after Owen offers to pay her. Tina is successfully impregnated with Gary and Izzy's child in November 2012, and her pregnancy goes smoothly for the first trimester, although Tina grows aggravated at Gary's interference. However, in April 2013 Gary's feelings for Tina become more romantic after Izzy leaves an antenatal class due to Gary's touching of Tina. Gary later cats on his feelings for Tina and makes a pass at her, but she rejects him. Izzy overhears Gary and Tina discussing what happened and as the pair argue Tina goes into labour. Tina gives birth to a baby boy prematurely, and Izzy stops Gary from seeing him as he tried to cheat on her. As Gary and Izzy continue to argue, Tina becomes convinced they won't make good parents and decides to name the baby Joe keep him for herself. Izzy and Gary visit lawyers but find out it will take years to get Joe back. Gary is devastated when Izzy gives up fighting and tells Tina she can keep Joe. Afterwards Izzy begins to soften towards Gary and he moves back in with her.
Tony Stewart of The Mirror said of Gary that David Platt has met his match in the character and the two of them have enough criminal convictions, Asbos and restraining orders to wallpaper over their living room and comparing Gary and his family's criminal record to that of the Battersbys', saying the latter compared to them it's like a day out with the Von Trapp family. Grace Dent of The Guardian stated her love for the Windass family and of the character Gary, and she went onto describe him stating: "Gary Windass loves thieving cars, stealing tools from vans, spitting globs of phlegm between his front teeth and, at the mere hint of sunshine, strutting about with his top off wearing trakkie-beeees that cry out for a good boil wash. But that's fine by me as he's TWOC'd all of David Platt's thunder.." MSN branded Gary and his family as chavs (Gary being the prime example) and being perfect guests for the Jeremy Kyle show, and going onto to calling the a million miles away from lower class yobbish families 'The Mortons' and 'The Battersbys'. Whereas Simon Swift of Soaplife magazine commented on the fact that on first looks he couldn't help feeling that Gary and the rest of the clan are a bit too much like original neighbours-from-hell the Battersbys. The character was also noted for the big impression he made within the soap in such a short space of time by Rick Fulton of The Daily Record So much so that he has been nominated for Villain Of The Year in The British Soap Awards 2009, which he did not go on to win. Kris Green of media website Digital Spy praised and commented on the fact that Gary and her family had 'settled in so well, in such a short space of time', with actor Mikey North stating that their success is down to the good writing and many plotlines the family received in the short time period. Mikey North also said that even though his character is a bad boy he has gained the public support after beating David Platt up, branding him as a legend for being the first one to do it. (The public loathe the character of David's antics) Ben Ashford of The Sun newspaper compared the real life fraud crimes of The Peters family, who came up with a range of illnesses including agoraphobia and alcoholism to swindle state handouts, as that mirroring Gary and the rest of his family, branding both units as 'scroungers'.
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