Alec Gilroy

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Alec Gilroy
Coronation Street character
Portrayed by Roy Barraclough
Duration 1972, 1975, 1986–1992, 1995–1998
First appearance Episode 1194
26 June 1972
Last appearance Episode 4534
30 December 1998
Introduced by Eric Prytherch (1972)
Susi Hush (1975)
Bill Podmore (1986)
Sue Pritchard (1995)
Brian Park (1996)
Book appearances Coronation Street: The Complete Saga
Classification Former; regular
Occupation Wine Bar Owner
Pub landlord
Home Brighton

Alexander "Alec" Gilroy is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Coronation Street, played by Roy Barraclough. The character made several appearances in the show as a small-time talent agent, the first in 1972, and later as a series regular from 1986 to 1992. He reappeared briefly in summer 1995, and returned for a longer stint between April 1996 and December 1998. Alec is best known for his tempestuous marriage to long-running character Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear).

Creation and development[edit]

Alec is introduced as the manager of a Working Men's Club, but soon progressed to being a theatrical agent with acts such as Rita Littlewood (Barbara Knox) under his control. In 1986, Alec took over the Graffiti Club on Rosamund Street, which enjoyed increased trade due to the fire at the Rovers Return. Through this Alec met Bet Lynch. It was after meeting Bet that Alec became a regular in Coronation Street and his character was fully explored by the show's writers.


Alec was mugged in 1988, which caused his wife Bet to wonder if he was operating an insurance fiddle. Cecil Newton and the police suspected the same, but on this occasion Alec had been telling the truth and was being honest. He was deeply hurt that nobody had believed him. In 1992, Alec left Bet after being offered a full-time job with Sunliners in Southampton.

Alec later returned in July 1995 to visit his granddaughter Vicky (Chloe Newsome), revealing that he was the regional manager of a travel agents, called Sunliners. He disapproved of Vicky's fiance, Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson), believing that Steve was only after Vicky because of her money. Alec tried to bribe Steve into calling the wedding off and leaving Vicky but was unsuccessful. Vicky severed ties with her grandfather and left for St. Lucia with Steve where they married. Alec refused to say goodbye to them and returned to Southampton.

Alec returned permanently in April 1996. In May 1997 he was made redundant from Sunliners. This didn't keep Alec down for too long, however, as he began a partnership with Jack (Bill Tarmey) and Vera Duckworth (Elizabeth Dawn) at the Rovers Return, since Alec helped bail Jack and Vera out of a VAT bill.

In July 1998, Alec saved Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox)'s life after discovering her unconscious from carbon monoxide poisoning in her flat. It was caused by a faulty gas fire that Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) had fitted. The two subsequently became close, and Alec proposed to Rita. She accepted the proposal and when they both got cold feet, Alec decided to fit a door between their adjoining flats. They were both happy with the arrangement, ignoring the sniggers from other residents of the street.

Relationships between Alec and the Duckworths soon became very strained and they finally agreed to dissolve their partnership, with Alec paying £30,000 for Jack and Vera's share of the business. However, Alec allowed them to continue living and working at the Rovers. This arrangement didn't work out, and when Jack and Vera wanted to spend Christmas in Blackpool, Alec refused. They ignored him and still went, causing Alec to change the locks. Rita thought that Alec had gone too far, contacting the Duckworths in Blackpool and apologising. A three-day siege took place with no one willing to back down. When Alec discovered it was Rita who had phoned the Duckworths, he felt totally betrayed, and showing that money meant far more to him than affection, ended their relationship. To Rita's dismay Alec boarded up the doorway between their flats.

When Vicky unexpectedly turned up at Christmas 1998, it gave Alec the change to contemplate his life and reassess his priorities. Alec suggested to Vicky that he could go in partnership with her at her new wine bar in Brighton. Alec jumped at the chance to get away, selling the Rovers to Natalie Barnes (Denise Welch), and leaving the street.


The character has been described as "scheming",[1] "squat and snivelling", and not one of the "better choices" of Bet.[2] He has also been described as being "Bet's long-suffering inamorata".[3]


  1. ^ "New Year gongs for celebs". The Sun. (News International). 31 December 2005. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Birch, Helen (17 October 1995). "Dear Bet Lynch". The Independent. (Independent Print Limited). Retrieved 3 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Mangan, Lucy (9 February 2011). "Corrie on stage? Bless my hairnet!". The Guardian. (Guardian Media Group). Retrieved 3 August 2011.