Gail Rodwell (née Potter, previously Tilsley, Platt, Hillman and McIntyre) is a long-standing Coronation Street resident, daughter of Audrey Roberts, and mother of Nick Tilsley, Sarah and David Platt. She is also the grandmother of Bethany, Lily and Harry Platt as well as the step-grandmother of Max Turner.
Gail was raised by Audrey alone and didn't meet her father, Ted Page, until later in her life. Audrey was flighty and sociable and often left Gail on her own, which built up a difficult relationship between them, despite their closeness. Gail first arrived in the Street in 1974 and for a few years she lodged with Elsie Tanner at No.11, sharing a room with Suzie Birchall.
The young happy-go-lucky Gail of her teens grew up when she married Brian Tilsley in 1979. Life was a struggle as they were never secure financially and clashed over their living and working arrangements; Brian was ruled by his mother Ivy and he rarely gave Gail the support she needed, while Gail insisted on keeping her job at Jim's Cafe instead of being a housewife and full-time mother to their son, Nick. Gail came to realise that she and Brian weren't suited to each other, and they divorced after Gail's affair with Ian Latimer. They re-married when Sarah Louise was born, but Brian was stabbed to death outside a nightclub in 1989.
Gail had matured into a strong-willed woman who fought for herself and her children. After Brian's death, Gail began a relationship with Martin Platt, who was ten years her junior. Their son David was born in 1990 and in 1991 they got married and moved into No.8 with the children. The marriage ended in 2000 when Martin had an affair with Rebecca Hopkins and confessed to Gail.
In 2002, Gail married financial adviser Richard Hillman. The following year, Richard confessed to two murders and tried to drown Gail and the kids by driving them into the canal. Though none but Richard died, the affair would haunt Gail and the family for years to come; David grew into a troubled teen and his actions caused Gail much grief, with David setting out to hurt his own family, both physically and emotionally, many times.
In 2010, Gail married debt-ridden Joe McIntyre, who after a month of marriage tried to fake his death, which led to Gail's arrest for his murder. She was eventually cleared of all charges and returned home. Her fifth husband, Michael Rodwell, died of a heart attack in 2016 a year after he and Gail were married. She continues to live at No.8 with David and his family.
1958-1989: Marriage to Brian TilsleyGail married Brian Tilsley on 28th November 1979. This set off a fifteen-year feud between Gail and Brian's mother Ivy, who hated her new daughter-in-law. Gail and Brian had two children: son Nicky (born in 1980) and daughter Sarah (born in 1987). Gail was originally unsure of the identity of Sarah's father, because she had had an affair with Brian's cousin, Ian Latimer, just before becoming pregnant. Brian when he found out had wanted Gail to have an abortion, which she refused point blank. The infidelity caused the break-up of the Tilsley marriage, but after paternity tests proved Brian to be baby Sarah's father, the couple reunited and remarried in the year 1988.
However, the marriage quickly deteriorated, and Brian and Gail had a massive argument one night as Brian was leaving to go out to a nightclub. They knew their marriage was over, however Brian vowed to fight for custody of Nicky. The threat, however, was never carried out as Brian was stabbed to death outside the nightclub. It was up to Don Brennan to break the news to Ivy.
1989-2001: Relationship with Martin Platt
After Brian's death, Gail became drawn to the much younger Martin Platt. The two became involved and soon Gail fell pregnant by him. Gail 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, almost a year after she gave birth to her second son David. She allowed Martin to adopt her other children but Nick changed his name back to "Tilsley" in order to benefit from the will of his grandmother, Ivy.
As Nick grew into his teens, he grew increasingly defiant towards his mother and Martin, so Gail eventually sent him away to Canada to live with her half-brother Stephen. A mature Nick returned in the year 1997, but shocked his mother by marrying Leanne Battersby. Leanne and Gail would have a similar relationship to that of Gail and Ivy, but eventually Nick and Leanne divorced. Nick left for Canada again.
Martin was much younger than Gail and so was tempted by other women. He cheated on her with nurse Cathy Power, but Gail forgave him. However, his affair with another nurse, Rebecca Hopkins, ended the marriage and they divorced in 2001. Nevertheless, they remained good friends and Martin would often visit them for tea until he left; he remained in contact with them.
Shortly after Sarah's thirteenth birthday, it was discovered that Sarah was pregnant. Sarah was five months along and as a result it was too late for an abortion. Sarah would give birth to Gail's first grandchild, Bethany Platt, in June 2000.
2001-2003: Mr Norman Bates with a briefcase
Gail grew closer to Richard Hillman who arrived in Weatherfield for the funeral of her friend Alma Halliwell, with claims of being her cousin. 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 Weatherfield residents Maxine Peacock and Duggie Ferguson, as well as his ex-wife Patricia and tried to kill others, including Emily Bishop and Gail's mother Audrey who then tried to tell Gail what happened, but Gail, thinking Audrey was going mad (which was part of Richard's schemes), refused to believe her and cut her out of her life.
When Gail began to suspect that her husband was more than he seemed, she confronted him with her suspicions. Richard confessed all of his crimes to Gail, admitting to the murders of Maxine and Patricia. He also revealed that he had tried to kill Emily and Gail's mother Audrey and had left Rovers' landlord Duggie to perish. Gail also discovered that Richard was a serial con-artist. Absolutely horrified, Gail branded him 'Norman Bates with a briefcase' and proceeded to throw him out before informing the police of the real identity of the street serial murderer. Gail then reconciled with her mum Audrey.
Just as Gail began to get her life back on track, Richard returned to Weatherfield. He tied Gail up, along with her children and took them for the ride of their lives. Richard drove the family into Weatherfield Canal in an attempt to kill them all. Gail and her children escaped unharmed, but Richard drowned. Gail later found out that Richard had left her in big debt, and all her money was gone as everything in their accounts was frozen. Gail faced financial ruin and looked set to lose her house. Audrey however saved the day when she used her life savings to buy the house for Gail.
2003-2007: Family problems
During the first half of 2006, Gail received cards apparently signed by deceased husband Richard, which caused her to become reliant on sleeping pills and drink. She contacted the police and wrongly believed that it was new boyfriend Phil Nail who was behind the cards. Her relationship with son David was strained to the point of breakdown when it was finally revealed to be him sending the cards. She marched him to the police to close the case of the Hillman cards for good, but didn't press charges. Gail forgave David and believed that he would keep in line, only to find out later on that he was playing truant. In October, the education officer visited Gail to suggest all the family have counselling for David's attitude. She also suggested that Gail should attend parenting classes.
On Christmas Day 2006, David unveiled Ivy Brennan's old diary, which revealed Gail’s planned abortion of David, and also exposed Audrey's affair with Bill Webster. David ran away from home when Gail finally told him that he needed to start paying rent, but finally returned home with the police, after having lied to them that Gail was abusing him. The final straw for Gail was when her granddaughter Bethany swallowed an ecstasy tablet, which had been stashed in her doll by David. Bethany was admitted to intensive care and Gail finally gathered the strength to tell David to leave home. David was distraught, but Gail remained strong and told him not to attend the upcoming wedding of Sarah and Jason Grimshaw.
On Sarah's wedding day, David drove his car into the canal where Richard had previously driven. A distraught Gail was forced to wait for hours on news on whether he was alive or dead, and when he finally did arrive home, Gail swore to him she would never let the situation get so out of hand again.
In 2007 Stephen Reid came to stay over 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 told David that he was not going to Milan. Sarah was offered the job and left with Jason and Bethany, however she confessed what she had done to Jason, who left her and returned to Weatherfield. He told Gail everything and she was shocked.
In March 2008, David's girlfriend Tina McIntyre revealed that she was pregnant. Gail told Tina that David did not have to know 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, that it was her own son. Gail then discovered that her long-lost father Ted Page had recently been in contact with Audrey and was angry that she was not told.
Gail met up with Ted in May, and was shocked when Ted explained he had just lost his partner of twenty years - a man called James. In June, Audrey and Gail went to visit Sarah in Italy as Ted agreed to keep an eye on David while she was away. When she returned, she found that the house had been cleaned and decorated, Tina had been earlier that day to buy some plants to help decorate their house, after she was shown the variety of different plants, she soon found out that she was allergic to some of them, she moved one and found a cigarette burn on the carpet, David confessed about a wild party they threw while she was away. Gail was upset about what they had done but she was also pleased that David had been honest.
2008-2010: Relationship with Joe McIntyre
Gail took a shine to Tina's dad, Joe McIntyre. They went on several secret dates because they did not want their relationship to become public knowledge. Gail faced many problems with Joe, such as putting up with his drug addiction and depression.
On 8th January 2010, Gail married Joe - her fourth husband. When Joe died in a boating accident, Gail was arrested for his murder, her cellmate was Lyn Fulwood, but she was released after pleading not guilty.
2010-2012: Trial and aftermath
Gail was put on trial for Joe's sudden death and she was falsely accused of murdering him. Over a few weeks David bribed Anka Grabowski, the cleaner of the holiday cottages at Lake Windermere where Joe's boating accident had occurred. She was supposed to be Gail's surprise witness but on the day of her court case she failed to take the stand so it was up to David to help save his mum.
10th June was the day of the verdict. Gail was found not guilty by the jury and was sent home but on the way out of court she was met by hundreds of people from the press so David back her mum away from the press and returned home.
On Christmas Eve 2010, Gail fought with Tracy Barlow in the packed Rovers, after Tracy plotted to make Gail admit she was guilty for Joe's murder to ensure that Tracy was moved to an open prison.
In 2012, Gail was initially horrified when son Nick began seeing Eva Price. Eva was manageress at Nick's Bistro, a role Gail had wanted. In February, Eva's mother Stella invited Gail and Audrey to a family dinner for Eva's birthday. Gail turned up in the same blouse as Stella, and then proceeded to humiliate Nick by getting drunk and giving a disastrous speech to Eva, and then commenting that she had bought her blouse before the half price sale.
2012-2013: Gail and Lewis the conman
In February 2012 Gail and Audrey were both diagnosed with high blood pressure and advised to exercise and give up alcohol and decided to go on a power-walk through the countryside. The pair ended up getting lost and went into a pub looking for directions. While in the pub, Gail and Audrey encountered conman Lewis Archer - the former boyfriend of Audrey. Lewis bought the two a drink and ran off. The following month, Lewis returned to Weatherfield stating that he was a changed man and the pair started dating again, despite what he'd said, Gail didn't believe a single thing and in October, Gail and Gloria Price hatched a scheme to prove he was still evil. After they'd been out together a few times, Gloria eventually asked Lewis if he would move to Spain with her with the promise of her leaving everything in her will to him, but Lewis declined. Having found out about the scheme and about Audrey's involvement, Lewis no longer trusted Audrey and he broke up with her.
Gail and Lewis began to date in 2013 but Gail had no idea that Lewis was back to his evil ways. Lewis and Gail planned to leave Weatherfield together but on the day Gail announced she was leaving, she found a DVD on the table. Gail and her family watched it and were shocked to find out that Lewis had conned Gail and stolen £40,000 from her. Gail called the police to find Lewis but he'd evaded capture and got to Belize where he was unable to be extradited even if he was caught.
2014-: Platt reunion, marriage to Michael and further family tragedies
In late March 2014 Gail met a man called Michael Rodwell, who turned up at No.8 pretending to be a gas man checking for a leak, but Gail soon discovered that he was a burgler. Realising that Gail had seen through him, Michael made a quick getaway and was chased by Kylie Platt but he managed to escape in his van. Michael appeared in court the following month and was sentenced to twelve months in prison. Gail was hit hard by the incident to the point that she found it difficult being in her own home. In June, she decided to meet Michael in prison and put her mind at rest. The pair had a face-to-face meeting for the first time in almost three months, with Gail speaking candidly about how she had been affected. Full of guilt, Michael apologised for his actions. The couple grew close after his release and eventually Michael moved into No.8.
Michael proposed to Gail in January 2015, however she was taken aback by the proposal and Michael was worried that he had rushed into things and that she would leave him. However that evening, Gail turned the tables and proposed to Michael. The celebrations were cut short when Michael collapsed as the family celebrated at Nick's Bistro and he was rushed to Weatherfield General.
The couple arranged their wedding day for 9th March, but Gail arrived late at the Register Office when Michael's real son Gavin arrived at the house moments before she was due to leave for the ceremony. Gail learned that Andy Carver was pretending to be the real Gavin and Michael had no idea what was going on. Gail chose to keep this secret and after eventually convincing Michael that she loved him, they decided to reschedule the wedding for the following month.
A few weeks beforehand, Gail's granddaughter Bethany returned to Weatherfield after being kicked out of school in Italy. Having stolen money from her mother, Sarah also arrived a few days later to take Bethany home. Having lost her high-flying job with Stephen, the pair now also live at No.8.
Gail and Michael finally married on 24th April. While exchanging their vows, Gail broke down and ran off. After a heart-to-heart, she eventually decided she was up to it and rushed through the ceremony, so that she could at last, get to become "Mrs Gail Rodwell". The reception ended in disaster when granddaughter Bethany destroyed the buffet, so Gail and Michael decided to go home.
The marriage didn't last long as Michael's ex-wife Susan Meldrum sent Michael a photograph album so that he could look back over their son's pictures as he grew older. Despite Gail and Andy's attempts to seize the album it fell into Michael's hands and as Michael scanned through the photographs he noticed that the real Gavin looked different to the one in the room. After Andy confessed that he wasn't Michael's son, the trio argued and Gail was forced to own up that she knew about it but kept the matter secret because of his heart condition. Michael was angry at the betrayal and moved out of No.8 and temporarily took up residence at No.11 with her nemesis Eileen Grimshaw, who was supportive and sympathetic towards Michael's plight.
In July 2016, Gail's daughter-in-law Kylie Platt died after being stabbed by Clayton Hibbs. When she realised David was intent on revenge, she was horrified, but managed to talk him out of it. More tragedy followed in November 2016, when Michael died of a heart attack during a confrontation with the evil Pat Phelan, leaving Gail a widow once again.
In May 2017, Nick was involved in a quicksand accident, but was rescued. After breaking up with Leanne Battersby for the third time, he confronted Gail, who wanted him to stay. Eventually, after realising that there was no changing his mind, Gail shared a tearful farewell with him before he drove out of town. Gail disowned Leanne and her young son Oliver for this.
- Gail was originally introduced as a short-term character and as the friend of Tricia Hopkins (Kathy Jones), appearing for ten episodes from July to November 1974. Helen Worth returned to the role permanently from 12th February 1975 and has remained in the role since then, celebrating forty years of the character in July 2014.
- Gail revealed in January 2014 that she is allergic to cats.
- Helen Worth is the second actress/actor in Coronation Street with the most appearances, being second to William Roache who has played Ken Barlow since the first episode in 1960.
- Martin Platt is the only surviving former husband of Gail. Brian was stabbed, Richard drowned in the canal, Joe drowned at the Lake District and Michael died of a heart attack.