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Bill Webster
Bill Webster
Occupation Builder (Retired)
Born 2nd November 1942
Residence Germany
Father Jim Webster
Mother Helen Webster
Spouse(s) Alison Cartwright (1964)
Elaine Prior (1985)
Maureen Elliott (1998)
Children Kevin Webster (1965)
Debbie Webster (1968)
Carl Webster (1986)
First appearance 6th February 1984
Last appearance 29th December 2011
Duration 1984-1985, 1995-1997, 2006-2010, 2011
Number of appearances 557
Played by Peter Armitage

William Geoffrey "Bill" Webster is the father of Kevin, Debbie and Carl.

Kevin and Debbie were children from his first marriage, to Alison, who died from cancer in 1980. Bill was married two more times - to Elaine Prior in 1985, and to Maureen Elliott in 1998. He met Elaine shortly after he first moved to Coronation Street in 1984 and after getting married, the couple moved to Southampton, and later Germany, where their son Carl was born.

Bill returned to Weatherfield in 1995 and stayed until leaving for Germany with Maureen, ten days after she married Fred Elliott, as she realised it was Bill she really loved. He returned again in 2006 and, after divorcing Maureen, had a relationship with Audrey Roberts before becoming engaged to Pam Hobsworth, who he also lives with.

Until retiring in 2010, Bill worked as a builder, initially for the Council but later as a self-employed. He is an old-fashioned sort of bloke; a family man who looks after his lot and who likes nothing more than a good pint.

Biography

1942-1986

Bill webster 1984
Bill in 1984

Bill was born on 2nd November 1942 to Jim and Helen Webster. He married Alison Cartwright in 1964 and they had two children, Kevin and Debbie. Tragically, Alison later passed away in 1980 from breast cancer and left Bill to raised his kids on his own.

Bill was a builder and until being made redundant in 1984 he worked for the Council, doing repair jobs on Council houses. He then set up on his own and in February was hired by Brian Tilsley to fix a leaky roof at Tilsley's Garage, where Kevin was a hired hand. Rita Fairclough agreed to rent him the Builder's Yard but after finding out he was turning down work due to not being able to afford the materials needed, Rita also loaned him £1,000. His first big job was to repair the chapel roof, but when the lead went missing while he was on the job, Mr Barker from the chapel committee fired him - the police had warned Emily Bishop that Bill had lost his job with the Council because of stealing - but he was re-hired when the real thieves were caught.

When Elsie Tanner was looking to sell No.11, Bill expressed an interest but tried to get Linda Cheveski to lower the asking price to £10,000. He was only interested in the house but Linda hoped he would make a pass at her. She refused to pass on Bill's offer to Elsie so he went to the estate agent instead, who made Linda move out, and he bought the house for £11,500. With his business now booming, he repair Rita's loan and the Websters moved into No.11.

Later in the year, Bill met Elaine Prior, a hairdresser who was Percy Sugden's niece. They started dating and soon fell in love and decided to get married. Elaine had her eye on a salon which she wanted to buy in Southampton, and Bill decided to uproot the family again and set up his business down south. Kevin was upset with the idea that Elaine was breaking up the family, and decided not to move with them or go to the Registry Office wedding, but he turned up at the service just in time and waved them off.

In 1986, Elaine fell pregnant and a son, Carl, was born in Germany where the Websters were living by that time. Kevin visited them there just before marrying Sally but otherwise Bill and Kevin were estranged until 1995.

1994-1998

In 1994, Elaine left Bill for a younger man, a foreman who worked above Bill. She took Carl with her, leaving Bill alone and annoyed. He thumped the man and got the sack, and with nothing to stay for in Germany he decided to move back to England (although according to Elaine in a letter to Percy, Bill neglected her and drank all the time).

Bill returned to Weatherfield in July 1995 and met up with Kevin again. Kevin was glad to see him and let him sleep on No.13's sofa until he found somewhere of his own. Bill felt guilty about never visiting and was nervous about meeting Sally and the girls for the first time - he decided to make a good impression by cooking dinner for the family but accidentally set fire to the kitchen. Fortunately Sally didn't hold this against him - he promised to put a new kitchen in for free.

Bill found work as a potman at the Rovers after Jack Duckworth quit, and he also moved into the pub, but after just a few weeks the Duckworths bought the Rovers and Bill lost his job. He moved into one of Mike Baldwin's Crimea Street flats and decided to set up as a builder again, persuading Jim McDonald to go into partnership with him. They bought a battered van for transport and set about building their empire.

Trouble arose when Bill got a tax bill for £1,400 plus 11 years interest. Kevin and Sally loaned Bill using money which was a gift from Rita, who had arranged a date with Bill but who pulled out in anger, thinking Bill was a waster, but Bill kept to his word and paid the money back in installments.

Maureen bill 1996
Bill and Maureen admit their feelings for each other

In March 1996, Bill put up a shelf in the Corner Shop and became friendly with Maureen Holdsworth. Maureen had been put upon by Reg to keep the shop going whilst he worked in Lowestoft. When Reg ran off with another woman and started divorce proceedings, Bill gave Maureen advice on stopping Reg from selling their assets underhandedly. It took them a while to admit their feelings to each other - Maureen met Nigel through a lonely hearts but when he stood her up on their second date, Bill comforted her and they kissed. Even Maud Grimes approved (she'd hated Reg); when she came home early only to realise Bill and Maureen were planning to spend the night together for the first time, she left quickly, hoping not to spoil their plans, but they'd seen her and their night of passion was postponed.

With their romance blossoming, Bill decided to take Maureen to Gran Canaria for Christmas, but cancelled when he found out Elaine was bringing Carl to Bristol and he decided to spend Christmas with his son instead. Bill felt guilty about letting Maureen down but was astonished when on his return home Maureen confessed she'd slept with Curly Watts. He agreed for the sake of their relationship to forget about it and forgive Maureen.

In 1997, Bill moved into the shop flat. He and Maureen were getting bored with each other and struggled to keep their relationship exciting. Bill surprised Maureen with a day in Blackpool to make up for an earlier argument, but when he returned he found Curly locked in the shop storeroom, where he'd been with Maureen when Bill showed up and whisked her away. A jealous Bill accused her of using the shop as a love nest and punched Curly in the face, and a horrified - and on this occasion innocent - Maureen finished with him for good.

Bill and Maureen still cared about each other but on the rebound Maureen started seeing Fred Elliott, who proposed to her after a short time together. Bill turned his attentions to work, and agreed to let Steve McDonald invest in the business so they could afford bigger jobs. On marrying Maureen, Fred told Bill he wanted him out of the shop flat, and a disillusioned Bill made the decision to move back to Germany. He broke the news to Maureen and, surprised when she told him she shouldn't have married Fred, Bill asked her to go with him and at the last minute she did, leaving Fred after ten days of marriage. Bill and Maureen married in 1998 once Maureen's divorce came through.

1999-2009

Bill audrey 2006
A timely arrival exposes Bill and Audrey's affair

Kevin stayed with Bill in Germany when Kevin had a breakdown in 1999. In 2006, Bill treated the Websters to a holiday in Paris for their 20th wedding anniversary, bringing Rosie and Sophie along.

Bill decided to spend some time in Weatherfield and started seeing Audrey Roberts, with the understanding that he was separated from Maureen (which he wasn't). He agreed to spend Christmas with the Platts, fobbing Maureen off by saying he couldn't get a flight back. The truth came out when Maureen showed up at the Platts' during Christmas dinner and David Platt told her about Audrey and Bill's affair. Bill thumped David and went after Maureen to try and patch things up, but she threw him out and in the New Year he came back to Weatherfield permanently. Though he'd lied to her, Audrey let him move in with her.

After the death of Charlie Stubbs, Bill bought the Builder's Yard with a £10,000 investment from Audrey, keeping on Jason Grimshaw as a labourer. Audrey found Bill caring but not always supportive; when the couple set off with Janice Battersby and Roger Stiles on a booze cruise in France in August 2008, Audrey didn't have a good time but Bill was mostly oblivious to this. During an argument in the car, Audrey crashed it and hurt her arm. She decided she and Bill weren't suited to each other and finished with him.

After a few nights sleeping on Kevin's sofa, Bill moved into the flat adjacent to the yard. The following March, Audrey asked Bill to return her £10,000 investment and he did, even though it meant downsizing the business and cutting Jason's hours.

2009-2014

In June 2009, Bill went to a single's night in a hotel bar and ran into Pam Hobsworth. They arranged a double-date with Vanessa and Gilbert under the guises of being an army veteran (Bill) and a concert pianist (Pam) and they both had a great time. Bill wanted to go out with Pam himself but wasn't sure how she felt; when he responded to a personal ad and agreed to a date with a woman but cancelled the date to go out with Pam instead, he didn't realise that the ad was actually Pam's. From that point they started seeing each other properly.

By the following year, the business was in trouble financially and the situation wasn't helped by Owen Armstrong setting up in the area and stealing a refitting job at Underworld from Bill. Jason left the yard to work for Owen, and with no other work Bill turned to Owen for a job as a labourer. Owen took him on but they didn't get on and when Bill accidentally pushed a bucket of cement over Izzy (although she wasn't hurt), Owen went mad. Bill realised there was no future in working for Owen and decided to sell the yard to Owen and retire.

Bill webster heart attack
Bill has a heart attack while Kevin and Pam argue

Bill moved in with Pam and from then on he didn't often visit the Street. He and Pam returned on the night of the tram crash to the news of Molly Dobbs's death; the previous year, Bill and Pam had found out about Kevin and Molly's affair but the truth hadn't gone any further until Molly told Sally seconds before her death. Bill backed out of going to the funeral as he couldn't bear to be around Kevin, and didn't visit while Kevin coped with the ensuing marriage break-up between him and Sally.

Bill kept in touch despite not visiting much. In 2011, he and Pam went travelling and in September they got engaged and returned to the Street to spread the news but while time had healed emotional wounds between Bill and Kevin, Pam was less forgiving and the stress of their arguments caused Bill to have a minor heart attack. He recovered in hospital and Kevin and Pam agreed to stop arguing. He also went to Sophie's wedding to Sian Powers, even though it didn't go ahead.

By 2013 Bill was back in Germany. In April he had suffered a heart attack and the news reached Kevin, who then left Weatherfield for Germany with Jack to fly over to Germany and tend to Bill. Sally had informed Tyrone on the situation and had convinced him to come back to work at the Garage. Bill later made progress in March 2014, which had allowed Kevin to return back to Coronation Street with Jack.

Personality

Bill webster singles night
Bill Webster, on the prowl

Bill is a staunch family man. Much like Kevin, he doesn't miss what he never had and the routine of work, pub and family time doesn't leave him wanting. He is led by his heart but isn't one for grand gestures; Maureen thought him quite homely. His weaknesses are a short temper (as evidenced by him punching Curly Watts and David Platt in moments of anger) and a tendency to gloss over his mistakes. For the most part, he is very like Kevin but older and wiser.

Relationships

Family

The Websters were a close-knit family when they moved into No.11 in 1984. Bill insisted that they eat dinner at the table together every day. He wasn't strict but could be pushy; he tried to stop Debbie from leaving school without any qualifications but when she made him feel guilty for heaping too many responsibilities on her at home, he agreed to let her leave if she got a job. His protective side came out when Debbie went out with Dazz Isherwood, an older lad who took her out on his motorbike, which Bill was against incase as she might get hurt. Bill forbade them from seeing each other but this didn't stop them. He was still there Debbie when Dazz dumped her for another girl.

Kevin tells bill
Bill chews Kevin out over his affair with Molly

Bill and Kevin were close too. When Kevin introduced Bill to Brian Tilsley, Bill jokingly warned Brian that Kevin would bore his socks off by talking non-stop about football and car racing. They usually got along but he took a dim view of Kevin's affair with Natalie Horrocks when he realised Kevin was playing away while Sally was away nursing her mother. Kevin tried to bluff Bill off his scent but Bill could see through the charade and summoned Sally home, leading to her finding out about Kevin and Natalie. Before returning to Germany in 1997, he called Natalie a scheming cow for breaking up a family. The scenario was repeated in 2009 when Kevin confessed that he was having an affair with Molly Dobbs but that Sally had just revealed she had breast cancer. Sally's revelation and Bill's talking-to woke Kevin up to the fact that he should stand by his wife.

Friends

Bill's friends in the Street were his business partner Jim McDonald and employee Jason Grimshaw. In 1996, Jim was going through a break-up with Liz and moved in with Bill as a condition of his bail when he broke into No.11 to get to Liz. Bill was patient with Jim as he was a mate but he put his foot down with Jim when he expected Bill to give Steve a job with them, no questions asked.

Bill and Jason had a good working relationship. When Bill retired, he gave Jason his tool box.

Other information

  • Bill had a brush with the law in 1995 when he found a child alone in a shopping centre car park and took her to find her mother, only to be accused by the mother of trying to snatch the child. The police questioned Bill afterwards but no charges were pressed against him.
  • In April 1996, Bill bought a share of a racehouse in a consortium with Alf Roberts, Gary Mallett, Billy Williams, Fred Elliott, Martin Platt and Jack Duckworth. None of them realised how much it cost to keep a horse and Bill managed to sell his share to Fred before mayhem ensued.

Background Information

  • Peter Armitage had three stints as Bill: 1984 to 1985, 1995 to 1997 and 2006 to 2010, recurring thereafter. He also played Maurice Allen, Newton & Ridley's in-house decorator, in 1977.
  • Armitage was cast by Executive Producer Bill Podmore with the understanding that Bill was to be the head of a new family and would be staying with the programme for at least six to seven years. In his 1990 memoirs Coronation Street - The Inside Story Podmore expresses his disappointment about Armitage's decision not to renew his initial contract: "Quite honestly I don't think anyone could pin Peter down for any length of time. He has a built-in wanderlust." However, Podmore is complimentary about his performance: "(Armitage) showed all the signs of having that magical quality which makes a character work."
  • Bill was reintroduced ten years later in 1995, and remained until he was axed by new Producer Brian Park in a cast shake-up in 1997. The character was brought back for the second time in 2006, but his role was reduced over time, with only 35 appearances in 2010. In 2011, a report surfaced that Armitage had been dropped from the programme [1] but he has appeared occasionally since then. His final appearance was in Episode 7768, which aired on 29th December 2011.

Quotes

"How do?" (First line, to Brian Tilsley)

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"You alright son?" (Final Line, to Kevin)

See also

External links

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