|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Helen Worth|
|First appearance||Episode 1412
29 July 1974
|Introduced by||H. V. Kershaw|
|Book appearances||Coronation Street:
The Complete Saga
|"East Street" (2010)|
|Other names||Gail Potter
|Home||8 Coronation Street|
Gail Rodwell (also Potter, Tilsley, Platt, Hillman and McIntyre) is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Coronation Street. Portrayed by Helen Worth, the character first appeared on-screen on 29 July 1974.
Gail is the daughter of Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls) and Ted Page (Michael Byrne) and is the mother of Nick Tilsley (Ben Price), Sarah Platt (Tina O'Brien) and David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd) and has featured in some of the most controversial and high-profile storylines in the soap involving her family and her number of relationships (she has been married six times).
Gail's storylines include her marriage to Brian Tilsley (Christopher Quinten); her vicious feud with her mother-in-law Ivy Tilsley (Lynne Perrie); coping when Brian is killed in a knife attack; marrying the much younger Martin Platt (Sean Wilson); coping when her teenage daughter Sarah falls pregnant at the age of 13; divorcing Martin and marrying serial killer Richard Hillman (Brian Capron); being kidnapped with Sarah, David and her granddaughter Bethany Platt (Emily Walton/Lucy Fallon) by Richard and being driven into the canal by him; her feud with Eileen Grimshaw (Sue Cleaver) after her son Todd (Bruno Langley) comes out as gay while dating Sarah; throwing David out after he hides drugs in Bethany's toys; being pushed down the stairs by David after he discovers that she took Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan) to a private abortion clinic to terminate a pregnancy fathered by David, marrying Tina's father Joe McIntyre (Reece Dinsdale); being imprisoned for Joe's murder when his plan to fake his own death goes wrong; a feud with David's wife Kylie Turner (Paula Lane); coping with the secret that Kylie slept with Nick and that her unborn baby may not be David's; marrying the burglar who robbed her home Michael Rodwell (Les Dennis); keeping the secret that Andy Carver (Oliver Farnworth) is not actually Michael's son but an impostor; trying to help David come to terms with Kylie's death; and locking David in the cellar of the Bistro after discovering that he is going to kill Kylie's murderer.
Gail Potter is a friend of Tricia Hopkins (Kathy Jones) and a boss. She is first seen when she tells Ray Langton (Neville Buswell) that Tricia fancies him. In April 1975, Gail discovers that the man her mother was living with - Frank Peterson - isn't her father as she thought. Angry, Gail leaves home, moving into the shop flat with her co-worker/former schoolfriend, Tricia. Gail is plagued by nuisance telephone calls and when phone engineer, John Lane, turns up one evening to catch the culprit, Gail realises that it is him. Luckily, Emily Bishop (Eileen Derbyshire) sees him go in, her suspicions aroused, and the police are called.
After the warehouse they work in burns down, Gail and Tricia work in the Corner Shop, but when Renee Bradshaw (Madge Hindle) buys the shop and flat in June 1976, the girls are evicted. Tricia leaves Weatherfield and Elsie Tanner (Pat Phoenix) returns, fortunately for Gail as Elsie ensures that she can stay in the flat. Elsie and Gail find work at Sylvia's Separates and move into No 11. She loses her virginity to Roy Thornley, but discovers that he is married and Gail is cited in a messy divorce. In December 1976, Sylvia's Separates is taken over by Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs) and renamed the Western Front. Elsie is moved from boutique manager to factory supervisor and Gail is promoted to manager with Suzie Birchall (Cheryl Murray), working for her. In early 1977, Suzie joins Elsie and Gail at No 11, and the three women become one of the programme's most popular groups.
In November 1978, Mike Baldwin closes down the Western Front, but things look up for Gail in December when Brian Tilsley (Christopher Quinten) gatecrashes a party at Elsie's and asks her out. In January 1979, Gail gets a job working with Emily Bishop in Dawson's Cafe. By April, Brian and Gail are engaged, beginning a long feud between Gail and Brian's mother, Ivy (Lynne Perrie), and saw the arrival of Gail's mother, Audrey Potter (Sue Nicholls). Brian and Gail are married that November and move in with Brian's parents at number five. Gail and Brian move to a one-bedroomed house at 5 Buxton Close in August 1980 and on New Year's Eve, their son, Nicky, (Warren Jackson) is born. The Tilsleys' marriage never seems wholly secure, especially with narcissistic Brian being given free rein by his doting mother, and soon hits a rocky spot. Gail is propositioned by Brian's friend, Colin Jackson, and Brian is dazzled by customer Glenda Fox. In January 1982, Brian's boss, Ron Sykes, announces that he is selling the business and emigrating to the Persian Gulf. Faced with the choice of working away or redundancy, Brian goes to work in Qatar. Gail makes friends with neighbour, Jackie Moffatt, but bored at home on her own, asks Jackie to look after Nicky while she works part-time in Jim Sedgewick's café (she had briefly worked there when it first opened in 1980), now run by Jim's ex-wife, Alma Sedgewick, (Amanda Barrie).
Brian announces that he is staying in the Gulf, extending his contract by two months. Lonely, Gail agrees to go for a drink with truck driver, Les Charlton, (Graham Fellows) but Nicky goes missing and is eventually found in the newly rebuilt number seven. A distressed Gail thinks about giving up her job and loses interest in Les. Unfortunately, Les's last visit coincides with Brian's return and he makes it very clear to Les that he is not welcome. Brian decides not to return to Qatar and admits having "had a drink" with a nurse and Gail realizes that his friendship with her was a lot closer than he is admitting. In August 1982, using the money he made in Qatar, Brian opens a garage in partnership with Ron Sykes and for a while, the Tilsleys are happy. In March 1983, things seem to be going so well that Brian takes out a bank loan and buys Ron Sykes's share of the garage. However, there is a change in fortunes - Brian's father, Bert (Peter Dudley), is seriously injured while overinflating a tyre at the garage and dies soon afterwards, and the business starts losing money - forcing Brian to put it up for sale. He is talked out of selling by Gail and Mike Baldwin, deciding to sell the house in Buxton Close instead, and move back in with Ivy. The Tilsleys' marriage now begins to crumble as living under the same roof irritates Ivy and Gail and when in August 1984, Gail is offered the job of manageress at Jim's Cafe, she takes it - annoying Brian and Ivy. A couple of months later, there is more friction when Brian finds that Audrey's latest boyfriend, George Hepworth (Richard Moore), made a pass at Gail. By April 1985, Gail has had enough and leaves Brian, moving her and Nicky into a bedsit. This finally makes Brian get a council house so Gail and Nicky move in there with him.
Early in 1986, Brian's Australian cousin, Ian Latimer (Michael Loney) visits and stays with Ivy. Soon he and Gail are having an affair. Gail admits this to Brian on learning that she is pregnant and doesn't know who is the father. Blood tests show that Sarah-Louise (Lynsay & Leah King), who is born in January 1987, cannot be Ian's but Brian never really bonds with Sarah-Louise, and moves in with his new girlfriend, Liz Turnbull (Catriona A Elliott). Soon after, Brian divorces Gail. Gail starts dating Jeff Singleton (Jonathan Barlow), and Brian doesn't like the idea of him being a stand-in father. After Brian's abortive attempt to kidnap Nicky, Brian and Gail reconcile and he moves back into Hammond Road, and they remarry in February 1988. However, Gail realises that she married too young and Brian's old-fashioned attitudes about wives mean that the marriage will never work so they separate again but continue living under the same roof. Eventually, Gail asks for another divorce after a massive row one evening in February 1989. Brian's attempt to find other female company that same evening results in him stabbed to death outside a nightclub.
Alma returns to Weatherfield from Spain late in 1988, and in June 1989, offers Gail a 40% partnership in Jim's Café, which she accepts. Martin Platt (Sean Wilson) has been working at the café since 1985. To Gail's surprise, she finds herself attracted to Martin, who is 10 years younger than her. Martin comforts Gail when she is upset about recent events and a few kisses leads to them ending up in bed together.
Much against Ivy and Audrey's wishes, Martin moves in with Gail and the children and she soon becomes pregnant. Feeling that she can't cope with three children and doesn't want Martin to be tied down too young, she decides to have an abortion. Martin catches her just as her train pulls out of the station and persuades her not to go ahead so David (Thomas Ormson) is born on Christmas Day 1990. Gail and Martin marry in September 1991 and in December, Martin buys number eight and the Platt family move in. Gail's emotional trials are far from over. When Martin studies to become a nurse, Carmel Finnan (Catherine Cusack), a fellow student, stays with them in late 1992 and becomes besotted with Martin. Gail angrily throws her out after Carmel tells Gail that she is too old for Martin but she returns a few weeks later, claiming she's expecting Martin's baby, and tries to kidnap David. This causes a fight between her and Gail and Carmel falls down the stairs. At hospital, it is found that she isn't pregnant and her grandfather arrives, explaining her mental history.
During 1994, tensions build as Nicky refuses to acknowledge Martin as a "father", causing problems for Martin and Gail. Depressed after Christmas celebrations at work, Martin sleeps with Cathy Power, (Theresa Brindley) and is caught kissing her by his stepfather-in-law, Alf Roberts, (Bryan Mosley). Alf and Martin agree to keep it between them but when Audrey finds out, Martin confesses everything to Gail. Gail takes the betrayal very badly, and although they continue to live together, she and Martin barely speak but reconcile after a family holiday in North Wales. However, tensions with Nick (as he now wants to be called) grow and are aggravated by Ivy's death in August 1995. She leaves most of her estate to Nick - providing he changes his name back to Tilsley. Months of wrangling and bad feeling ensue, with Gail, Martin, Nick and Don Brennan (Geoffrey Hinsliff) (Ivy's second husband) constantly arguing. In January 1996, Gail settles the row by getting Don to pay Nick £12,000 for the house. Soon after, Gail meets her half-brother, Stephen Reid (Todd Boyce) when he visits Weatherfield. Later in 1996, Martin and Gail's marriage is strained, due to conflict between Nick and Martin so Stephen invites them to Canada for a holiday and Nick decides to go to school there, using the money Don paid him for Ivy's house.
Roy Cropper (David Neilson) begins working in the café with Gail when Alma wants to spend less time there and eventually, Alma sells her share in the café to Roy after she and Gail fall out over Stephen's decision to cancel his contract with Mike. Gail and Roy get on very well and things tick over as usual. Roy even gives Gail and Martin a weekend trip to Paris from vouchers he has saved. In 1997, Don is in prison after attacking Mike and Alma but is diagnosed with terminal cancer and asks to see Gail to make amends for the trouble he caused since Ivy's death. Don leaves hospital, attacks Mike and crashes Alma's car into the viaduct, killing himself. Nick (now played by Adam Rickett) returns for the funeral and starts dating Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson), part of a loud, obnoxious family now living in number five. Gail is furious when Nick and Leanne elope to Scotland in January 1998.
Brian's murderer, Darren Whately, is released from prison on parole and Nick persuades Leanne to write to him so he starts stalking her. Gail urges Nick to report him to the police when things get out of control and Darren is returned to prison. Leanne and Nick are shocked to learn that Leanne is pregnant, something Gail disapproves of, and their marriage ends after Nick pressures her to have an abortion and tell people that she miscarried. Nick returns to Canada, much to Gail's delight that he is no longer with Leanne, behaviour very similar to her former mother-in-law, Ivy.
Gail tires of her responsibility of the café and sells her share to Roy and his new girlfriend Hayley Patterson (Julie Hesmondhalgh), but continues to work there. The café relocates in 1999 to a new development on Victoria Street and is renamed Roy's Rolls. 1999 also sees Gail and Martin's marriage get into serious trouble after Gail demands Martin have a vasectomy after she has a pregnancy scare and doesn't want any more children. Martin refuses and Gail's unreasonable behaviour and anger pushes Martin to become good friends with another nurse, Rebecca Hopkins (Jill Halfpenny). They initially bond over troublesome spouses but soon begin an affair that lasts into 2000. Martin plans on leaving Gail for Rebecca, but this is put on hold when they discover that Sarah (now played by Tina O'Brien), now 13, is refusing to eat and being sick. Fearing that she is developing an eating disorder, Gail takes her to the doctors and learns that Sarah is five months pregnant and gives birth to Bethany (Emily & Amy Walton) in June 2000. Sarah struggles with motherhood and Gail quits her job so she can look after Bethany while Sarah is at school and enjoy being a teenager occasionally. The truth about Martin's affair comes out soon after the baby's birth and Gail is devastated. She tries to keep the family together but it doesn't work as Gail kept on taking her frustration out on Sarah, accusing her of being a bad mother which caused her to run away and to move into the Croppers' flat. Gail felt very guilty after Sarah returned home. She breaks down and tells Martin she wants a divorce. Martin leaves in October 2000, and he and Gail divorce in early 2001. Soon after Martin leaves, Gail gets a job as a receptionist in the newly built medical centre.
The character of Gail then becomes central to one of the soap's most high-profile plot lines in which episodes would go on to get viewing figures more than 17 million. At first, Gail grows closer to her good friend Alma's cousin, Richard Hillman (Brian Capron), a financial advisor, after Alma's death. Smooth-talking Richard whisks Gail off her feet, and they marry in 2002. Little does she know that her apparently perfect husband, due to financial difficulties after proposals for a bail hostel to be built near apartments he had developed causes them not to sell, has become a serial killer to inherit money, murdering several Weatherfield residents and tries to kill others including Gail's mother, Audrey. When Audrey begins to suspect Richard, she tries to warn Gail but Gail believes Audrey is suffering from dementia as Richard made everyone, including Audrey at first believe through the use of secret mind games. This leads to a row and Gail cuts off contact with Audrey when she continues to call Richard a murderer, much to Audrey's heartache. Also, while Gail was still oblivious to Richard's actions, Sarah was involved in a serious car crash with then boyfriend, Aidan Critchley (Dean Ashton), after he steals Ken Barlow's (William Roache) car. Aidan escapes from the wreckage, leaving Sarah for dead. Fortunately she makes a full recovery but never forgives Aiden for what he did. When Gail begins to suspect that her husband is more than he seems, she confronts him with her suspicions and Richard admits everything to her in a special two-hander episode broadcast on 24 February 2003, admitting he killed Maxine Peacock (Tracy Shaw) and his ex-wife Patricia (Annabelle Apsion). He also reveals that he tried to kill Emily Bishop, Audrey, and left Rovers' landlord Duggie Ferguson (John Bowe) to die, all for his financial benefit. Gail also discovers Richard is a serial con-artist. Absolutely horrified, Gail brands him "Norman Bates With A Briefcase" and throws him out before giving a statement to the police about Richard's confessions. Gail also reconciles with Audrey and just as Gail starts to rebuild her life, Richard returns in March 2003. He takes Gail, Sarah, David (now played by Jack P. Shepherd) and Bethany hostage and attempts to gas them in the garage but people notice the noise from the garage so he drives them all into the canal. Gail, Sarah, David and Bethany survive but Richard drowns. Gail later finds out that she faces financial ruin, due to Richard's actions and could lose her house. Vera Duckworth (Liz Dawn) accuses her of being in league with Richard, as she and Jack (Bill Tarmey) also face financial instability as Richard was their financial advisor. However, Audrey saves the day by using her life savings to buy the house for Gail and her family but Gail's troubles continue. There is soon conflict with Sarah when Sarah and Bethany move into a flat with Todd Grimshaw (Bruno Langley). Gail calls Social Services, hoping to get Bethany returned to her so Sarah will have to return too. When this doesn't work, Gail and Sarah have no contact for several months. Sarah becomes pregnant again and she and Todd get engaged, further angering Gail, just like her relationship with her former mother-in-law Ivy. However, Todd admits to Sarah that he is gay so they break up and Sarah & Bethany move out, returning to live with Gail. When Sarah tells Gail what has happened, the fight between Gail and Eileen (Sue Cleaver), Todd's mother, turns physical as Gail is furious at the position Todd has left Sarah in, 16 years old and 7 months pregnant with her 2nd child. Unfortunately Sarah is rushed to hospital with a placental abruption and needs an emergency caesarean. She survives but baby Billy is very ill and dies the day after he is born.
Gail also does her best to come between Nick and his new girlfriend, Maria Sutherland (Samia Ghadie), believing that Maria will break Nick's heart again as she emigrated with him to Canada briefly once before but returned alone, as she wasn't happy there. They eventually do break up, and despite being very cold with each other for several months, Gail comforts Maria when she is devastated that Nick leaves to start a new job in Nottingham.
From early 2006, Gail receives cards from her late husband Richard, unnerving her so much that she becomes reliant on sleeping pills and drink. She contacts the police and thinks that new boyfriend, Phil, is responsible and this causes Phil and David to argue, resulting in him and Gail breaking up and Phil leaving. Her relationship with David is strained to the point of breakdown when she realizes that he is sending the cards. She takes him to the police to close the case but doesn't press charges. Gail forgives David and believes that she can keep him in line, only to find that he is not going to school. On Christmas Day 2006, David unveils Ivy Brennan's diary, revealing Gail's planned abortion and he also exposes Audrey's affair with Bill Webster (Peter Armitage). David runs away from home when Gail tells him she wants him to start paying rent, but returns with the police after claiming that Gail is abusing him. The final straw is when Bethany swallows an ecstasy tablet that was hidden in her doll's head by David in September 2007. Bethany is rushed to intensive care, and following an ultimatum from Sarah, Gail makes David move out and orders him not to attend Sarah's wedding to Jason Grimshaw (Ryan Thomas). As revenge, David writes a suicide note and leaves it on the kitchen table for Gail to find the day before the wedding. However, Sarah finds it first and believing it to be another attention-seeking stunt, she puts it in the bin. The next day, David sees his family celebrating the wedding, despite the suicide note. To prove his point, he drives his car into the same part of the canal that Richard had driven them all into four years earlier. A distraught Gail waits for hours for news on whether he is alive or dead, and when he eventually turns up at the house, Gail swears to him that she will never let the situation get so out of hand again. Her relationship with Sarah becomes strained when it is revealed that Sarah was aware of the suicide note when in fact he hadn't intended on killing himself at all, just ruin Sarah's wedding. She began to blamed herself, how her son David becomes evil since his father Martin left the town, and wish that she and Martin never divorce.
Gail's half brother Stephen comes to stay for Christmas and offers David a job in Milan which he accepts. However, as revenge for spoiling her wedding day, Sarah plants ecstasy tablets in his drawer at Audrey's salon and when Audrey finds them, Gail insists that David is not to go to Milan. Sarah is offered the job instead and plans on leaving with Jason and Bethany. However, she joyfully tells Jason what she did at the airport and disgusted with her, Jason returns to Weatherfield alone and tells Gail what really happened.
In March 2008, David's new girlfriend Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan) tells Gail that she is pregnant with David's baby. Believing that neither of them are ready for parenthood, Gail offers to pay for Tina to have an abortion and to keep it from David, which Tina accepts. However, David soon finds out and is angry with Gail. He goes to pack his bags and Gail begs him not to go and tries to explain her reasons, but David doesn't want to know and pushes her away from him. Unfortunately, she is at the top of the stairs and has a terrible fall resulting in her being hospitalised and suffering from short-term amnesia. Gail eventually remembers who pushed her but forgives David believing she pushed him to it. However, believing that he should be punished for nearly killing his mother, he begins smashing up windows in the street resulting in him spending several weeks in prison. Ted Page (Michael Byrne), Gail's long lost father, gets in touch with Audrey. Gail finds out and is angry that she was not told. However, she arranges to meet Ted after he discovers he has a daughter, 3 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.
Gail takes a shine to Tina's father, Joe McIntyre (Reece Dinsdale), and they start dating. Joe later proposes to Gail on a boat he renovated. However, Gail is unaware that Joe is deeply in debt, as his business has collapsed and is frequently visited by a debt collector. Gail marries Joe in January 2010 despite his debt. While Gail and Joe are on holiday the next month, Joe tries to fake his own death for the life insurance money. He tells Gail, who is horrified, and asks him to go to the police but they argue on the boat and Joe falls, spraining his wrist. The fight is witnessed by another couple. Joe eventually manages to push Gail back on to the dock and he sets sail. Shortly afterwards, Joe is knocked from the boat and drowns but Gail thinks he has gone ahead with his plan so she calls David and tells him about Joe's plan and they agree to tell people that Joe has got a job in the Lake District, thinking he will return. They take Joe's boat in from the lake and go home. Gail is devastated when Joe's body is found. However, the police find many inconsistencies in her story, especially when the couple from the lakes come forward as witnesses. She is arrested during Joe's wake for his murder and later charged after an indignant Tina tells the police that Gail intends to visit her daughter in Milan and that she asked Tina to lie to them. Consequently, Gail is denied bail and her trial is scheduled for three months later. Gail fears the worst, especially when former neighbour Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford) makes a false testimony against her claiming that Gail admitted in their prison cell to killing Joe with a rolling pin, but is relieved when she is found not guilty.
Gail learns that David is engaged to Kylie Turner (Paula Lane) and is against the marriage. Once David and Kylie are married Gail later warms to the marriage and allows them both to continue living with her. Gail and Audrey bump into Audrey's ex-boyfriend, professional con artist, Lewis Archer (Nigel Havers). They report him to the police but he is not charged and returns to Weatherfield, much to Audrey's horror. They reconcile, much to Gail's disgust, and live happily together. Lewis also gets a job at Nick's Bistro. However, Gail is sure that sooner or later Lewis will hurt Audrey so she plots with Gloria Price (Sue Johnston) to get proof that Lewis is really in love with Audrey. Audrey, however, finds out about this and doesn't stop them so when Lewis realizes that she knew, he leaves her. Wanting revenge, he later fools Gail into falling in love with him and they plan to remortgage her house and buy a hotel business in Italy. After telling her family this, and with Audrey and David disgusted, Lewis (by text) instructs Gail to turn on the DVD of 'Italian for Lovers' which David does. To the family's horror, Lewis has hacked her bank account, taken the money and left the country.
Gail meets a man named Michael Rodwell (Les Dennis), who turns up at her house pretending to be a gas man, who has come to the house to look at the "gas leak". He is revealed as a burglar and pushes Gail, causing her to fall over, and Kylie chases him out of the street, but he gets into his van and drives off. Gail starts to become anxious when she is home alone due to the burglary and is helped by her son David, Kylie and Audrey. However, Gail and Michael gradually grow close as Gail helps him to rebuild his life and she begins to stick up for him in front of David and Kylie. Eventually, Michael moves in with her.
In January 2015, Michael proposes to Gail, however she is taken aback by the proposal and Michael is scared that he had rushed into things and that she would leave him. However that evening at the bistro, Gail turns the tables and proposes to Michael. The celebrations are cut short when Michael collapses and is rushed to Weatherfield General. He later discovers he will require open heart surgery. When Sarah returns to Weatherfield in March 2015, she meets Michael but rudely refers to him as the 'burglar' before shaking hands. Gail and Michael are eventually married in April 2015.
However, in June 2015 after Michael receives a photo album from his former wife Susan detailing the life of their son Gavin, it is revealed to Michael that Andy Carver has been posing as his son and the real Gavin is dead. Michael is horrified to learn that Gail (as well as David and Andy's girlfriend Steph) knew about the fake identity and aided Andy in keeping the lie secret. Michael walks out on Gail. Unable to forgive her, Michael later demands a divorce and moves in with his new friend Eileen Grimshaw. Later Michael tells Gail that he and Eileen shared a kiss and Gail and Eileen end up fighting in the street. In July, Gail is upset when Michael and Eileen begin a relationship.
Gail stands by David and Kylie when Max's biological dad, Callum Logan, begins terrorising the family, as he wants custody of Max. Gail tries to co-operate with Callum's own mother, Marion, but the mediation sessions between him and David end in failure, worsening the situation as time goes on. After Max says he saw Callum and some other gangsters beating up Jason Grimshaw, Gail forces him out of the house when he stops by for one of his impromptu visits, only for Max to tell Callum he "wishes he was dead", leading to Callum chasing Max into the road. Max is then hit by Nick in a van. Thankfully, he recovers. Gail's hatred for Callum reaches new heights when he has thugs raid Audrey's salon. Following this, Callum suddenly disappears, and Gail assumes he has decided to leave the family alone from now on.
In September 2015, as uncertainty grows about the future living situation at No.8, Gail and David agree to convert the garage into a "granny annex" for Gail to live in. After it is finished, Gail discovers there is damp underneath the floor. This eventually dissipates, but Gail begins to notice David, Kylie, and Sarah acting out of the ordinary. She passes it off, and officially moves into the annex. However, in January 2016, Gail tells David and Kylie she wants underfloor heating for her annex. She gets Jason to take a look at it, but David, frustrated, stops him from doing so, raising Gail's evermore suspicions about her son's temperament.
Actress Helen Worth was cast as Gail Potter in 1974. The role of Gail was initially intended to be very minor, a friend of the more established character Tricia Hopkins (Kathy Jones), who was introduced as part of a new family. The Hopkins family made little impact on the show, and, after they were written out, Gail went on to become one of the most popular and high-profile characters in the history of the series. Although Worth was 23 at the time of her casting, the character of Gail was supposed to be 16 when she first appeared.
The character of Gail was first portrayed as a teenager who liked to have fun with her best friends, first Tricia and later Suzie Birchall. However, following her first marriage to mechanic Brian Tilsley her storylines have seen her constantly suffer many blows and misery. She has had five husbands, three children, and four grandchildren, although her grandson died in infancy. Her storylines have seen her feuding with a domineering mother-in-law, deal with affairs, three divorces, being widowed three times, deal with traumas from each of her children, marry a serial killer who in turn tried to kill her and her family, and even been imprisoned to await a murder trial after being falsely accused of murdering her fourth husband. Throughout each of these ordeals, her personality altered from laid back to a bitter, miserable, whiny and bossy woman, a clone of her former mother-in-law Ivy Tilsley. She has been known to interfere in her children's lives as family is important to her and she didn't come from a stable family background. Her mother gave birth to her at 18 because she thought it would help her get the baby back that she had been forced to give up for adoption two years previously. Gail's father was never told about her and as a result, she was mostly brought up by her grandmother or to fend for herself while her mother went out with a string of men. This caused Gail to become a headstrong, independent young woman. However, she always swore that her own children would have a proper family life, living with both their parents. However this hasn't worked out and she has been left with repeated failed marriages and being a single mother to her children. She interferes in her children's lives, thinking she is helping and knows what's best, causing many arguments in the process and feuding with whoever gets involved with her children, just like her own relationship with Ivy. Particularly after marrying a serial killer and putting her children's lives in danger, Gail's interfering has increased immensely. Actress Helen Worth has stated that she loves Gail's storylines as the many traumas give her great opportunities as an actress.
Feud with Eileen Grimshaw
Just like her relationship and feud with her former mother-in-law Ivy Tilsley, the character's feud with Eileen Grimshaw portrayed by Sue Cleaver has become a popular feud. The characters have a long history of catfights and insults between them, animosity that stems from the acrimonious break-up of Gail's daughter Sarah-Louise (Tina O'Brien) and Eileen's son, Todd (Bruno Langley). In one famous scene, Gail flings herself at Eileen after being soundly slapped and told to "Go home, Gail!" Despite this, various things, including the 2010 tram crash, have caused them to put aside their differences.
Cleaver who plays Eileen has commented, "Eileen's relationship with Gail is horrendous [...] I love all the scraps in the street with Gail. Helen Worth (Gail) and I love doing all that - we have such a laugh with the abusive comments we make for each other. The constant battle is fun. It's a love-hate relationship." Worth has suggested that Gail probably thinks she is "a little better than Eileen". Jenny Platt, who played Violet Wilson between 2004 and 2008 has noted that "Gail's found her nemesis in Eileen, but it's so stupid because actually they are so similar. They are both single mums looking out for their kids."
Gail and Eileen continue to feud, clashing in the Rovers on Gail's hen night to Michael in 2015. In June 2015, they ended up fighting in the street again after Gail discovered Eileen had kissed her estranged husband Michael Rodwell.
In 2008, Gail began a relationship with Joe McIntyre portrayed by Reece Dinsdale. The relationship was rocky just like most of other Gail's relationships but the two characters later went on to marry. Conclusion to the storyline and ending of the relationship resulting in Joe's death. In November 2009, The Sun reported Joe would decide to disappear on a boating holiday in the Lake District after experiencing a debt crisis which begins to spiral out of control, in a surprise twist, Joe ends up losing his life for real when a sail pole knocks him unconscious and into freezing cold water before he can carry out his plan in full. The plot mirrored real-life case of fraudster John Darwin, who faked his own death while out canoeing before turning up alive five years later in December 2007. A source said: "It's a copycat storyline of Darwin's insurance scam. Corrie bosses have decided that Joe will meet a watery end. He decides to fake his own death to avoid his crippling debt problems and leave wife Gail with the proceeds from his life insurance."
Speaking of how Joe compared to Gail's other husband, Helen Worth said; "On paper, Joe looks quite normal! He's like any other normal man with problems and they're getting on top of him. Gail will share those problems. Like she says, when Gail marries him, Joe's problems become her problems and that's the way it should be. That sums their relationship up, really. She'll do anything for him because Gail can't let her dream go. To realise that he's the wrong man would spell the end of her dream, so she's not going to do it."
In 2009, Worth revealed in an interview with the Daily Mirror that she thought Coronation Street bosses were going to write the character out of the soap as an upcoming storyline would see her on trial for murder: "At the time I was genuinely anxious as to whether it was the end of the road for me and Coronation Street... I wasn’t shocked, because it can happen to an actor at any time. But I was very pleased when I found out that whatever happens at Gail’s trial, I will be staying in the show."
In January 2014, it was announced that Les Dennis has joined the cast of Coronation Street as Michael Rodwell. In February 2014, it was revealed that Michael Rodwell was being lined up as a love interest for Gail. The Mirror reported that Michael will arrive in Weatherfield and burgle Gail's house. However, Michael will then turn up again in the summer to try to make amends with Gail as part of a restorative justice storyline. The restorative justice scheme involves people who have admitted crimes meeting their victims or making amends by doing some sort of remedial work. Worth revealed that Gail would sacrifice everything for her relationship with Michael particular her relationship with son Nick Tilsley (Ben Price) who would disapprove of the relationship. Speaking of the scenes, Worth explained: "Nick comes back to the house and spies Gail and Michael in the garden, enjoying a bottle of wine and kissing. It completely pushes him over the edge and as he leaves, he spots Michael's ice cream van and vandalises it. "Gail is absolutely devastated and completely humiliated - she knows full well who is behind it. Gail confronts Nick about it and he admits to it and tells her it's because he saw them kissing in the garden."
In June 2012, the Daily Mail's Jaci Stephen praised Worth and Gail, saying "The character has been through the mill with husbands – one murdered, one dull, one a serial killer and one a kitchen-fitter-cum-fraudster – and Worth has handled every plot with aplomb. She also has great comic timing, and Gail's incompetence in the Bistro is now making for terrific scenes with Nick."
On 9 June 2014, a 30-minute documentary entitled "Gail & Me: 40 Years on Coronation Street" was aired at 20:00 dedicated to Worth's remarkable 40 years on the soap. In the show, Worth was reunited with past actors Brian Capron (Richard Hillman) and Amanda Barrie (Alma Halliwell), and spoke out about Gail's most controversial storylines.
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