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Gail Platt (née Potter; previously Tilsley and Hillman) is a long-standing fictional character in the UK television ITV soap opera, Coronation Streetmarker. Portrayed by actress Helen Worth, the character first appeared onscreen during the episode airing on 15 July 1974. She is the daughter of Audrey Roberts and Ted Page and has featured in some of the most controversial storylines known to the soap.

Background

Gail Potter entered the series in an episode on 12 July 1974 as a friend of Tricia Hopkins. The character of Gail was only intended as a 'mate' for the Hopkins character, but has remained in the programme since her debut.

Tricia moved away from Weatherfield, and Elsie Tanner lodged briefly with Gail at the corner shop, before they moved into No. 11 Coronation Street. In 1977, Elsie and Gail were joined by Suzie Birchall, and the three women would become one of the programme's most popular groups.
Gail as she appeared in 1978.


Storylines

Marriage to Brian

Gail married Brian Tilsley on November 28, 1979, starting a feud between Gail and her mother in law Ivy, who hated Gail. Brian and Gail had two children: son Nick and daughter Sarah.

Gail was initially unsure who Sarah's father was, because she had an affair with Brian's cousin, Ian Latimer. When Brian found out, he asked Gail to have an abortion but she refused. Her infidelity caused them to split up but they reconciled, after a paternity test revealed that Brian is Sarah's father. Brian and Gail remarried in 1988.

Unfortunately their marriage soon deteriorated. Brian and Gail had a massive argument just before Brian went out. They knew their marriage was over and Brian vowed to fight for custody of Nick.

Brian's death and marriage to Martin Platt

When Brian was killed in a nightclub scuffle in 1989, Gail became attracted to Martin Platt. The two got involved and Gail fell pregnant. She did not think it was fair for Martin to have a child at his age and was about to have an abortion when Martin stopped her. Gail and Martin married in 1991, shortly before David's first birthday. Martin adopted Nick and Sarah but Nick changed his name back in order to inherit his late grandmother's house.

Trouble with Nick

As Nick grew up, he became more difficult, so Gail sent him to Canadamarker to live with her brother, Stephen. A more mature Nick returned in 1997 and shocked his mother by marrying Leanne Battersby. Leanne and Gail's relationship was similar to Gail and Ivy's. Gail felt Leanne and her family weren't good enough but Nick and Leanne were happy for a while but it didn't last and they divorced. Nick returned to Canada.

Sarah's teenage pregnancy

Shortly after Sarah's 13th birthday in January 2000, Gail became concerned about Sarah refusing to eat as she was worried about gaining weight. One day, Gail heard Sarah being sick and took her to the doctor, thinking she had an eating disorder. The doctor told Gail and Sarah that Sarah was pregnant. Sarah was five months gone so an abortion wasn't possible. Sarah told the baby's father but he wanted nothing to do with either of them. Sarah gave birth to Bethany in June 2000. Sarah struggled with motherhood and Gail babysat while Sarah enjoyed being a teenager.

Marriage breakdown and Richard Hillman

Martin was younger than Gail and so was tempted by other women. He had an affair with nurse Cathy Power, but Gail forgave him. However, his affair with Rebecca led him to end the marriage and they divorced in 2001.

The character was to become central to one of the soaps most high profile plot lines in which episodes would go on to get viewing figures over 17 Million.At first, Gail grew closer to her good friend Alma Baldwin's cousin Richard Hillman. Smooth-talking Richard whisked Gail off her feet, and they married in 2002. Little did she know that her apparently perfect husband was actually a serial killer. He murdered several Weatherfield residents and tried to kill others, including Gail's mother Audrey.
After Richard drove into the canal.


The truth comes out

When Gail began to suspect that her husband was more than he seemed, she confronted him with her suspicions. Richard confessed everything to Gail in a special two-hander episode, admitting to the murders of Maxine Peacock and his ex-wife Patricia. He also revealed that he had tried to kill Emily Bishop, Gail's mother, Audrey, and left Rovers' landlord Duggie to die. Gail also discovered that Richard was a serial con-artist.

Absolutely horrified, Gail branded him 'Norman Bates With A Briefcase' and threw him out before telling the police the identity of the street serial murderer. Gail then reconciled with her mum, Audrey.

Richard's final revenge

Just as Gail began to get her life back on track, Richard returned to Weatherfield some weeks later in March 2003. He tied Gail and the children up, after a failed attempt at gassing them in the garage, he took them for the ride of their lives. Richard drove them into the canal, attempting to kill them all. Gail, David, Sarah and Bethany escaped unharmed, but Richard drowned. Gail later found out that Richard had left her in debt and her money was gone as their accounts were frozen. Gail faced financial ruin and looked set to lose her house. Vera Duckworth was very critical of Gail and accused her of being in league with Richard, as she and Jack also faced financial instability due to Richard being their financial advisor. However, Audrey saved the day by using her life savings to buy the house for Gail and her family.

David's rebellion

From early 2006 until 21 May, Gail received cards signed by deceased husband Richard, unnerving her so much she became reliant on sleeping pills and drink. She contacted the police and thought new boyfriend Phil was behind the cards. Her relationship with David was strained to the point of breakdown when it was finally revealed that he was sending the cards. She marched him to the police to close the case, but didn't press charges. Gail forgave David and believed that she could keep him in line, only to find out that he was playing truant. In October 2006, the education officer visited Gail to suggest the family have counselling for David's attitude. She also suggested that Gail attend parenting classes.

On Christmas Day 2006, David unveiled Ivy Brennan's diary, which revealed Gail’s planned abortion and exposed his Gran Audrey Roberts's affair with Bill Webster. David ran away from home when Gail told him she wanted him to start paying rent, but came home with the police, after telling them that Gail was abusing him. The final straw for Gail was when her granddaughter Bethany Platt swallowed an ecstasy tablet, left in her doll's head by David. Bethany was rushed to intensive care and following an ultimatum from Sarah, Gail made David move out. David was distraught but Gail remained strong and told him not to attend Sarah and Jason's wedding. As revenge, David wrote a suicide note and left it on the kitchen table for Gail to find the day before the wedding however Sarah found it first and, as she believe it was yet another attention-seeking stunt by her brother, it ended up in the bin.

On Sarah's wedding day, David saw his family starting to celebrate the wedding despite the suicide note (not realising only Sarah had seen it) and decided to prove his point by driving his car into the same part of the canal that Richard had driven them into. A distraught Gail waited for hours for news about whether he was alive or dead, and when he finally did come home, Gail swore to him she would never let the situation get so out of hand again. Also her relationship with Sarah became strained when she learned Sarah was fully aware of David's intention to attempt suicide, not realising that David hadn't intended to kill himself but to just ruin Sarah's wedding (which he had succeeded in).

In 2007 Stephen Reid, Gail's half brother, came to stay for Christmas. He offered David a job in Milan and David immediately accepted. However, because he spoiled her wedding day, Sarah vowed revenge and planted ecstasy tablets in his drawer at the salon. Audrey found them, and Gail refused to let David go to Milan. Sarah was offered the job and left with Jason and Bethany but confessed to Jason what she had done. Shocked, he returned to Weatherfield and told Gail everything.

Plummet down the stairs

On 3 March 2008, Tina - David's girlfriend - revealed she was pregnant with David's baby. Gail insisted that Tina keep her pregnancy a secret from David and offered to pay for a termination, which Tina accepted. When David discovered their deception, he pushed his mother down the stairs in a fit of anger, leaving her hospitalised and suffering short term amnesia. Gail eventually remembered who pushed her but forgave David nonetheless.

Family revelations and tribulations

In April 2008, Ted Page, Gail's long lost father, got in touch with her mother, Audrey. Gail found out and was angry that she was not told. However, she arranged to meet Ted after he discovered he was a father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

On 12 May 2008, Gail met Ted, and was shocked when Ted explained he had just lost his partner of 20 years, a man called James. On the same day, Gail revealed that she was a "Blairite" and voted for the Labour Party.

Gail went to visit Sarah in Italy, following Audrey's suggestion in June 2008, after she sorted out all her problems. Ted agreed to keep an eye on David whilst she was away. When she returned, she found that the house had been cleaned and decorated. Tina had been to buy some plants to help decorate their house but found she was allergic to some of them. She moved one and found a cigarette stain on the carpet so David confessed to a party they threw while she was away. Tina also told Gail that some guests came uninvited. Gail was upset about what they had done but she was pleased that David had been honest.

Relationship with Joe McIntyre

Gail began to take a shine to Tina's dad, Joe McIntyre, and the couple went on several secret dates as Gail did not want their relationship to become public knowledge. On 12 November 2008, David and Tina reacted badly when they discovered Gail and Joe's relationship, however, they later came around to the idea and gave the couple their consent.

On Christmas Day, 2008, Gail was shocked when the celebrations at the house descended into chaos with her family brawling with their neighbours, the Windasses. Joe angrily ordered Eddie, Anna and Gary Windass to leave by hurling food at them. This showed a side of Joe which Gail had never seen and told him that she never wanted him to behave like that again as it was a reminder of the bad men from her past.

In March 2009, Joe and Gail temporarily broke up following the aftermath of Gary Windass's trial for assaulting David. Tina angrily told Gail that Joe was only living with her as he had been evicted from his flat and had no where else to go. In turn, Joe found out from David that Gail had paid for Tina to have an abortion a year previously. Joe moved out but Gail eventually let him stay as he had no where else to go. In taking pity on him, she realised that she still had deep feelings for him, especially after he injured his back and was forced to stay at the house. The couple subsequently reunited. He then later robbed the Gail's pharmacy for paracetamol and was arrested. In early November 2009 Joe proposed to Gail on a boat he had done up the previous week. However unknown to Gail, Joe had been struggling with his debts and was frequently visited by a man who was a debt collector. When Joe finally couldn't cope with the situation and told Gail, she was at first furious but then decided to help him by offering to sell her house. However David didn't take the news very well and stormed out of the house in a strop.

References

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