|Born||4th May 1940|
|Spouse(s)||Alec Gilroy (1987)|
|Children||Martin Downes (1956)|
|First appearance||25th May 1966|
|Last appearance||30th November 2003|
|Duration||1966, 1970-1995, 2002, 2003|
|Number of appearances||1978|
|Played by||Julie Goodyear|
Elizabeth Theresa "Bet" Lynch (previously Gilroy) is a former barmaid and landlady of the Rovers Return Inn.
Bet struck out on her own at a young age, choosing a life of factory and bar work and living in digs in Weatherfield. She was out to enjoy herself and felt most at home behind a bar, where she lavished in the attention of men, although she tended only to attract men who treated her badly or used her. At sixteen she gave birth to a son, Martin, but gave him up for adoption as she wasn't ready to be a mother and the father, Joe Mason, had fled after hearing she was pregnant.
Bet first arrived in Coronation Street in 1966 for short-term work at the new PVC Factory. She returned to the area in 1970 and was recruited as a barmaid at the Rovers Return by Billy Walker. Landlady Annie Walker was initially against hiring someone she thought of as a tart, although she accepted that Bet improved custom and they soon developed an understanding. In 1985, Bet successfully applied for the tenancy and took over as landlady, but after borrowing money from club owner Alec Gilroy to keep up with payments to brewery Newton & Ridley, Bet fled to Spain, leaving the brewery and Alec in the lurch. Alec tracked her down and proposed marriage to her - offering her the opportunity to run the Rovers with him. Bet accepted and, at 47, finally became a bride.
While they were an unlikely couple, and often rowed, Bet and Alec were each what the other needed. In 1992, Alec was offered a job as master of ceremonies on a cruise ship but Bet refused to go with him. Alec left alone, and the marriage was effectively over. Bet stayed on at the Rovers until 1995 when the brewery decided to sell the pub. Unable to afford it, she left Weatherfield and eventually moved to Brighton with Alec's granddaughter Vicky McDonald. Bet returned to Weatherfield in 2002 to testify in court against a former lover who had stolen from her, but lost the case and left abruptly. In 2003, she was set to marry Cecil Newton in Blackpool but he died from a heart attack before making it to the altar, and Bet returned to Brighton.
Most of Bet's key relationships were with men, and over time she became more cynical about their intentions, with a jaded outlook on life but usually able to hide any pain behind a smile. She liked to dress in a way she considered glamorous, and had a fondness for leopard print clothes and a beehive hairstyle.
1942-1969: Early yearsEdit
Bet Lynch was born to parents Patrick and Mary Lynch. Her father left when she was six months old, and although Bet had received a strict Catholic upbringing by her mother, it didn't stop her becoming Miss Weatherfield in 1957. When she was sixteen, she met a man called Joe Mason at a party. He was twelve years older than her. After getting her pregnant, Joe fled and Bet gave birth to a baby boy called Martin who she was forced to give up for adoption. A family called the Downes adopted Martin.
Bet arrived in Coronation Street in 1966, after getting a job at the PVC factory. She had an affair with her boss John Benjamin and gave Lucille Hewitt a black eye because of her jealousy over Lucille's speed of welding. She moved away from the area a few weeks later.
1970-1986: Behind the bar of the RoversEdit
Bet returned to the Street in 1970 when she bumped into Irma Barlow, with whom she had worked in the factory. Later in the year, Billy Walker employed her as a junior barmaid at the Rovers, a place where she would work for the next twenty-five years.
She entered into relationships with many men, including well-known Street residents such as Len Fairclough and Mike Baldwin. In 1975, Bet received news that her son Martin, now a soldier, had been killed in action while serving in Northern Ireland. She also found out that he had tracked her down but, disgusted by her overt sexual nature, left without telling her who he was. Bet was devastated and briefly considered suicide but was talked out of the idea by Eddie Yeats.
When Annie Walker retired in 1984, her son Billy took over licence of the Rovers. He was involved in various dodgy dealings and screwed up frequently. He was the landlord for less than a year; he had no real interest in running the pub and got in trouble after holding lock-ins. Newton & Ridley were unhappy with the way Billy was running the pub into the ground and made him an offer he couldn't refuse for the licence.
The brewery decided to appoint a manager rather than sell the licence. Bet applied for the job but lacked the necessary experience, but, after receiving a petition from the regulars, Sarah Ridley appointed a flabbergasted but ecstatic Bet the new manageress of the Rovers. She moved out of the Corner Shop flat and into the Rovers in January 1985. The Rovers was gutted by fire in 1986 with Bet trapped in the upstairs front bedroom. She was saved by Kevin Webster but the pub was so damaged that the brewery considered pulling it down. They soon changed their minds and the Rovers was completely redecorated with Bet retained as manageress.
1987-1994: Marriage to Alec GilroyEdit
During the rebuild, Alec Gilroy found himself enjoying an increase in business at the Graffiti Club with the Rovers out of action. As a result, he and Bet spent time together, and Alec found himself attracted to her and made no secret of it. When the Rovers reopened it struggled to regain custom, so Alec provided some musical acts to help entice the regulars back.
When the tenancy of the Rovers was being sold by the brewery in 1987, Bet couldn't come up with the money she needed to buy it, so Alec stepped in and offered her a loan. Bet struggled to keep up with the payments and, in a moment of panic, disappeared leaving Alec and the brewery in the lurch. She finally contacted Newton & Ridley months later and informed them she was living in Torremolinos. Alec managed to track her down and bring her back, and then proposed to her telling her that as his wife she wouldn't have to worry about the repayments and could continue to manage the Rovers. She accepted, reasoning that unlike most men she'd been with Alec hadn't pretended to love her and the two were married in September.
The marriage went better than expected, and by 1988 Bet had fallen pregnant. She and Alec were shocked, but both came round to the idea of being parents. However, she had a miscarriage and lost the baby leaving them heartbroken, but they put on a brave face and carried on.
In 1992, Alec was offered a job in Southampton and wanting to accept, argued with Bet that he had given her five years of running her own pub and now it was time for her to return the favour. Bet agreed, and the couple sold the Rovers back to the brewery. However, as the time to leave approached, Bet found herself completely unable to tear herself away from the pub where she had lived and worked for years. On the day of departure she told Alec she had persuaded Newton & Ridley to allow her to stay on as manager. Alec was livid and gave her an ultimatum: either she left with him or he would go alone and their marriage would be over. Bet chose the pub over her husband, and as far as Alec was concerned she was the one abandoning their marriage. He told her to tell people that he before he left.
1994-1995: Leaving the RoversEdit
Newton & Ridley decided once again to sell up in 1995, but this time they were selling the whole pub and not just the licence. Bet was offered first refusal, but she knew that she had no hope of coming up with the large sum they demanded. She tried to get the money together as best as she could, finally turning to close friend Rita Sullivan with the idea of a managing partnership.
Rita thought about it and was ready to agree, but after seeking advice from Alf Roberts she realised that Bet wasn't truly interested in a partnership but just wanted someone to buy the Rovers for her. Bet, who had been led to believe that Rita was going to agree, was furious and they had a heated argument in The Kabin. Old resentments and bitter words were exchanged which ended the pair's years-long friendship permanently. Bet then tried to ask step-granddaughter Vicky to borrow the money, but Vicky turned down the offer, saying she would buy Bet a house instead. Bet refused and, losing her temper, threw everybody out of the pub. After some agonising, she made the decision to leave the Rovers. She left in the back of a taxi, not knowing where to go next. In a twist of fate, Alec returned to Weatherfield shortly after her departure and started working for the Duckworths when they took over the pub. Bet did not return for Betty Turpin's wedding to Billy Williams later in the year.
1995-2003: Later yearsEdit
After leaving the Rovers and Weatherfield behind, Bet ended up in Tenerife where she met new lover, Bruce. He died suddenly and left her his boat, which she later sold in 1999 to raise much-needed funds. Bet returned to Weatherfield in June 2002 for Betty's "retirement" party, which delighted her old friend. Bet revealed that she had made up with Vicky and had been running different pubs across the country for the last seven years, before finally settling down in Brighton. Audrey Roberts offered Bet a room at her house so she would have somewhere to sleep for the night - although Bet intended on staying for two weeks. A hesitant Rita turned up at Audrey's house the next day, hoping to make amends with Bet and salvage their friendship. After a grudging heart-to-heart, Bet revealed that she had moved on from Weatherfield, and that Rita's refusal to help probably did her the world of good. She also said that, despite all the airs and graces she put on, all Rita did was run The Kabin. Rita, feeling insulted, told Bet that she had turned into a hard, petty woman. It was later revealed that the reason Bet was back so she could testify against a former lover, Phil Bennett, who stole money from her. Both Mike Baldwin and Audrey went to court to support Bet, but she lost her case and once again left Weatherfield.
In November 2003, Bet crossed paths with Liz McDonald in Blackpool. Bet became involved in Liz's problems - her husband Jim was on the run, having escaped prison. Bet was also due to be married to former brewery boss Cecil Newton, but he died of a heart attack just prior to their wedding ceremony. Bet later returned to Brighton.
- When Miss Weatherfield was too ill to open Alf Roberts' mini-market in September 1985, Bet stepped in to the role - she was Miss Weatherfield 1957.
- Between 1995 and 2002 Bet spent some time in Spain with her lover Bruce, where she was content until his death. Bruce left Bet his yacht, which she sold and bought a bar in Brighton with the proceeds.
- Between 2002 and 2003, Bet was living in Brighton close to Vicky McDonald.
- After divorcing Alec Gilroy, she changed her name back to Bet Lynch and vowed never to see him again, because he "screwed her over".
- Bet Lynch originally appeared for a few weeks in 1966 as a factory worker in a short-term role. Goodyear was disappointed when her stint was up, but co-star Patricia Phoenix (who played Elsie Tanner) suggested to Goodyear that she should try and get some more acting experience. Although Goodyear had done so, producers were still not interested in bringing her back full-time. In 1970, four years after her brief stint, a producer saw her acting in a stage play and, impressed with her, offered to bring her into the street on an initial six-month contract. Julie Goodyear would go on to play the part of Bet Lynch for 25 years.
- Julie Goodyear left in 1995 after winning a longtime achievement award and hoped to go on to other work. She currently works in reality television.
- Bet's 2002 return was an attempt to boost the programme's ratings, which were getting beaten by rival soap EastEnders. After only filming two weeks of episodes, Julie Goodyear pulled out due to overwork as she wasn't used to the six days per week filming schedule. It was originally intended for Bet Lynch to become manageress of the Rovers.
- Julie Goodyear made a short guest comeback the following year with episodes set in Blackpool.
- Rumours between 2010 and 2012 circulated that Bet Lynch would be brought back, sparked by producer Phil Collinson's apparent plans to bring the character back for the 50th anniversary of Coronation Street. In late 2011, after the death of actress Betty Driver, Julie Goodyear expressed her desire to make a one-off appearance for Betty Williams's on-screen funeral. However, only actor Bill Kenwright reprised his role as Gordon Clegg during this time.
- In 2013, Julie Goodyear admitted that she regretted her 2002 return as Bet.
"Its all right kid, come on." (First line, to Cilla)
"Me behind a bar, I'm in me element. I'm like Santa Claus in his grotto." (about her career and love of pubs)
"You know them old paintings, where there's angels come out of he sky like and all rays of light and cupids wi' trumpets? It's a bit like that when Nellie Harvey walks in."