|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Gray O'Brien|
|First appearance||16 September 2007|
|Last appearance||9 June 2010|
|Created by||Jonathan Harvey|
|Introduced by||Steve Frost (2007)|
|Book appearances||Coronation Street: The Complete Saga|
Anthony "Tony" Gordon was a fictional character in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street, portrayed by actor Gray O'Brien. The character first appeared on screen on 16 September 2007 and made his final appearance on 9 June 2010 after deciding to sacrifice himself in the Underworld fire. He was a local businessman, disliked by many of Weatherfield's residents for his ruthlessness. His storylines revolved around his business deals, his relationships with Carla Connor and Maria Connor, and the murder of Liam Connor. Tony was named "Bad Boy" of 2009 at the All About Soap Bubble awards, and "Villain of the Year" at The British Soap Awards 2009.
Prior to arriving in Coronation Street, Tony Gordon was born in Scotland in 1971, followed by his younger brother Patrick. His father had a heart attack aged 39. Tony, however, had witnessed this, but didn't phone an ambulance as he felt his mother didn't need his father. His grandfather had died aged 42 from a heart attack. In 1998, Tony married a woman known as Lindsay (Susie Amy), who later had an affair with his brother Patrick. Tony was a womaniser and only cared about money and mostly himself. He had run a business known as "Gordons Catalogues", and was also a property developer. In 2006 Tony and Lindsay divorced, although she thought that he would eventually come back to her.
Tony arrives in Coronation Street in September 2007, as the owner of a clothing firm, giving a contract to Carla Connor (Alison King) and Liam Connor's (Rob James-Collier) underwear factory, Underworld. He is unpopular with local residents for commissioning a new housing development in the area, destroying a colony of bats in the process, much to the anger of Roy Cropper (David Neilson). Planning to expand the Underworld factory, Tony attempts to convince corner shop owner Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox) to sell her store, and mechanic Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell) to sell his garage. When Kevin refuses, Tony enlists his friend Jimmy Dockerson (Robert Beck) to sabotage his business. He also menaces elderly resident Jed Stone (Kenneth Cope) out of his home, wanting to redevelop the site. Tony begins a relationship with Carla, unaware she has romantic feelings for Liam. She breaks up with him in order to prove her feelings to Liam, but they later reconcile, becoming engaged. Before their wedding, Tony realises Carla is having an affair with Liam, after seeing a video clip of them kissing.
He hires Jimmy to kill Liam, running him over on Tony's stag night. A distraught Carla briefly leaves the country, but upon her return, she and Tony marry. Upon discovering Carla's affair with Liam, his widow Maria (Samia Ghadie) begins to suspect Tony's involvement in his death. She confides in Jed Stone, who threatens to go to the police. Tony strangles Jed, and initially believes him to be dead. He plans disposal of his body, initially putting him in a box in Underworld, but is shocked to discover Jed is still alive when the staff return and here him shouting for help. He offers him a new flat in Wigan and £3,000 to leave the area and keep his secret. Maria begins a vendetta against Tony. He attempts to depict Maria as mentally unstable, but raises Carla's suspicions in the process. She tells Tony that she loved Liam more than him, and Tony confesses to the murder. Carla escapes from Tony and flees to Los Angeles. Tony has a short-lived relationship with hairdresser Natasha Blakeman (Rachel Leskovac). Maria begins to soften towards Tony when she finds him mourning at Liam's grave. They become friends, and Tony helps her through her pregnancy with Liam's baby, delivering her son, who she names Liam Anthony. Liam's parents do not approve of the developing relationship, leading Tony to threaten them, stating that if they do not leave Maria alone, they will never see their grandson again. Eventually, the relationship becomes a romantic one, and Maria and Tony become engaged.
Carla returns to Weatherfield, and instructs Tony to sell her his shares in Underworld and leave the country, otherwise she will tell the police what he did. Tony hires Jimmy to kill her, but changes his mind at the last moment. Carla is able to escape from Jimmy by knocking him unconscious, but Tony tricks her into thinking she has murdered him, leading them to call a temporary truce. Carla then leaves the country once more. When Maria pays a visit to her parents in Cyprus, Tony suffers a heart attack. He is taken to hospital by Roy, with whom he had previously clashed over the new housing development, and confesses Liam's murder to him. He tries to buy Roy's silence, it doesn't work, he begins threatening him. Roy and his wife Hayley (Julie Hesmondhalgh) report him to the police. Roy decides to go bat spotting at the canal. When Maria comes looking for answers, Hayley tells her about everything while not knowing Tony is hidden behind the cafe counter with a knife. This upsets Tony even more and he goes to the canal and pushes Roy in the water. He then saves Roy, confesses to the police, appears in court charged with his crimes. On 11 December 2009, Carla visits Tony in prison where he admits that Jimmy is still alive and that she didn't kill him. He asks her if she thinks Maria will forgive him and she tells him that she never would and that he would be going to hell on his own, before leaving.
Tony reappears on 28 May 2010, as he plots his escape from prison with the help of cellmate Robbie Sloan (James Fleet). Tony feigns a heart attack after initiating a riot at the prison and is quickly led to hospital by ambulance. Robbie manages to run the ambulance off the road and frees Tony and they head for Weatherfield. Together they hold Carla and Hayley prisoner in the factory at gun point. Tony double-crosses Robbie by revealing that he never intended to pay him the full sum of money that he promised and after tricking Robbie into giving him his gun, shoots him dead. Maria gets caught up in the siege, after she shows up at the factory and Tony holds her prisoner too. However, he lets her go and she goes to the pub and tells everyone that Tony is holding Carla and Hayley hostage. Becky McDonald (Katherine Kelly), Gary Windass (Mikey North) and Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson), amongst others, arrive outside the factory to try and help. Becky attempts to break the door down with a large pole. Tony later releases Hayley as well, pushing her out of the door and causing her to fall over. He then sets fire to Underworld, after dousing the building with petrol, determined that both he and Carla would die together. However after a violent struggle, Carla manages to escape, shooting Tony in the process, and Tony walks into view, looks out of the open factory doors at the crowd watching from the street and then deliberately walks back into the fire. The factory explodes and Tony is killed. His and Robbie's bodies are removed from the building the following day.
Character creation and casting
In August 2007, it was announced that actor Gray O'Brien had been cast as Tony, with The Mirror's Brian Roberts heralding him as the new Coronation Street "heartthrob". O'Brien stated of his casting: "I'm delighted to be joining the cast of Corrie. Tony is a great character and I hope I'll be well received by the viewers. I've had a great time [on River City], but I'm looking forward to the new challenge."
In June 2009, it was reported O'Brien had been asked by producers to return to the show at a later date to complete Tony's storyline. Tony's initial exit aired in November 2009 and O'Brien performed in pantomime before resuming filming in Spring 2010 for the conclusion to the story, which involved the character taking several others hostage in a siege at the factory, before killing himself in an explosion.
In an interview with entertainment website Digital Spy, O'Brien described the dynamics behind his character ahead of the murder storyline, stating: "He does have boundaries - and the boundaries are that he won't be told 'no'. Anything up to that point is good enough. I don't think he's a murderous person. Tony killing Liam is just circumstances. He's come from nothing and has worked his way up. He's a respected businessman and he thinks it's all about fairness - you play with the sword, you die by the sword. He truly believes that everyone has a price. Up until this point, that's his game. His ambition is that he wants to retire in his mid 40s with several million in the bank. But now, something's come up to stop all that- Liam." When interviewed by BBC News O' Brien spoke of the feasible length that his bad-boy character could remain on the show: "Coming in to play the Coronation Street villain has a life span, so I was aware of that. I knew he was going to be villainous, but I think it was all based on audience reaction that they liked him and the writers just went with it. So it's been a really organic process, I don't think I expected this to happen, quite as it has happened. I've got great faith in the writers at Coronation Street and entrust that they'll keep the momentum with the character going. He's a great character to play and he's popular so I do trust whichever way it ends will be the correct ending." ITV publicity describe him as liking having power and making a lot of money but hating the competition that goes with it.
Tony who is a fan of Celtic F.C dislikes their rivals Rangers F.C.. In one episode he remarks: "I could no more fancy Rosie Webster (Helen Flanagan) than I could support Glasgow Rangers". Supporters of Rangers took offence to this remark and flooded the ITV switchboard with calls of protest as they thought the remark was a retaliation for the 2008 UEFA Cup Final Riots involving Rangers fans. Ironically, it was revealed that his brother has a season ticket for the club. He also once said he was a modern Robert the Bruce - fighting for his honour in the street and the business world. The Scottish Tourist Board claimed that this remark lead to a 4% increase in the historical figure from tourists.
Gareth McLean of the Radio Times has described Tony as "the sort of man who would steal your teeth and come back for your gums" and commented that his friendship with Maria Connor softened his character. In an advance press screening of the Liam Connor murder episodes, soaps editor for Digital Spy Kris Green applauded Gray O' Brien for his portrayal of Tony by saying that both he and co-star Alison King "steal the show."
- Webmaster (2009). "Coronation Street - Cast & Characters - Tony Gordon". ITV. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- "Coronation Street's Tony has murder on his mind after Rosie's seduction attempt backfires". Evening Standard (Daily Mail and General Trust). 15 August 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Green, Kris (24 December 2008). "Tony loses it with Jed". Digital Spy (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Roberts, Brian (9 August 2007). "Corrie's new heartthrob". The Mirror (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (9 August 2007). "'River City' actor joins Weatherfield". Digital Spy (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Green, Kris (27 May 2009). "Gray O'Brien extends Corrie Contract". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 2010-06-04.
- Green, Kris (10 October 2008). "Gray O'Brien (Tony Gordon, Corrie)". Digital Spy (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Pryor, Fiona (15 October 2008). "Talking Shop: Corrie's Tony". BBC. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Green, Kris (31 March 2009). "All About Soap 'Bubble' winners announced". Digital Spy (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Young, Fiona (10 May 2009). "Corrie's Scots star wins best baddie at Soap Awards but rivals claim top gong". Sunday Mail (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- English, Paul (4 October 2008). "Exclusive: Coronation St bosses drop anti-Rangers jibe from script". The Daily Record (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- McLean, Gareth (30 June 2009). "The week in soapland - Blogs - Radio Times". Radio Times. (BBC Magazines). Retrieved 2009-08-03.
- Green, Kris (10 October 2008). "Bonus Scoop: Weatherfield's Tony Gordon". Digital Spy (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 2009-07-02.