Gordon Clegg (né Preston) is the son of the late Betty Williams and soldier Ted Farrell. When Betty gave birth to him she was unmarried, so Gordon was adopted by Betty's sister Maggie Clegg and husband Les, who raised him. Gordon didn't learn that Betty was his mother until 1975, but his father's identity remained a mystery to him.
The Cleggs moved to Coronation Street, Weatherfield and bought the Corner Shop in 1968. Gordon had a relationship with Lucille Hewitt but broke off their engagement to pursue a career in Accountancy in London, after which he made occasional return visits to Weatherfield to see Maggie and Betty. In 1982, he married Caroline Wilson and they had a son, Peter, in 1985. Gordon and his family live in Wimbledon.
1949-1969: Early lifeEdit
In 1949, Betty Preston fell pregnant by her wartime sweetheart Ted Farrell. Ted was untraceable so Betty gave birth to son Gordon and decided to give him up for adoption. Betty's sister Maggie had married Les Clegg in 1947 and although they didn't have children of their own, they agreed to take Gordon and raise him as their own.
Gordon grew into a bright young man, showing an interest in Accountancy, a subject he specialised in. He loved his "mother" Maggie but hated Les, who was an alcoholic with a violent history. In 1968, Les bought the Corner Shop in Coronation Street, Weatherfield and the Cleggs moved there, with Gordon living in the flat above the shop, with Maggie intent that he didn't have to work behind the counter, so he could focus on his studies.
It was therefore much to Maggie's dismay when Gordon fell for young Lucille Hewitt. It took some convincing for Lucille to agree to go out with Gordon, as she thought he was too mothered by Maggie, but he impressed her when he fought for her attentions with Gary Strauss and Ray Langton. Gordon and Lucille faced the objections of Maggie (Les having been admitted to a psychiatric hospital for his alcoholism) and Lucille's guardians Annie and Jack Walker, and eventually Gordon decided to show Lucille that he was committed to her by suggesting that they run away to Gretna Green and return as husband and wife, even though it would mean missing his exams. He and Lucille went to the train station, without telling their families, but when they missed their train Lucille convinced him that they should return.
Gordon passed his exams, and began thinking about his career prospects. As Lucille pressed ahead with wedding preparations and set a date for Easter Saturday 1969, Gordon realised he couldn't marry her and cancelled the wedding at short notice. Ashamed of his actions, he took a job at the head office of an Accountancy firm in London, and upset Maggie by making a permanent move there.
1970-1976: Learning the truthEdit
Gordon returned to Weatherfield in 1974 for Maggie and Ron Cooke's wedding. Gordon gave Maggie away and saw her off as she moved to Zaire with Ron. Gordon agreed to handle the sale of the shop but arranged to rent it to Megan "Granny" Hopkins for £14 a week, with the money counting towards the eventual sale to the Hopkins'. Before leaving for London, he infuriated Betty, who had moved to the area in 1969, by having a one-night stand with Beverley Mather in her house.
The Hopkins' were determined to get a good deal on the shop and when they found Gordon's birth certificate behind a sideboard, revealing his true mother's name. Granny Hopkins was intending to use blackmail against Gordon but Maggie told Gordon the truth herself before the Hopkins' could do so. Gordon was stunned by the news, and reacted firstly by warning the Hopkins', who left the Street abruptly in a midnight flit, and going out to celebrate the fact that Les Clegg was not his father. After getting over the initial shock, he began treating Betty as his mother.
1977-2012: Later yearsEdit
In 1982, Gordon married Caroline Wilson. This was followed by the birth of their son, Peter, in 1985. In 1995, Gordon gave Betty away when she married Billy Williams. As Billy was an old flame of Betty's, Gordon wondered if he could be his real father, but Betty told him he wasn't.
When Betty decided to retire in 2002, Gordon invited her to live with his family in Wimbledon, although this caused friction with Caroline as she wasn't keen on the idea. After some consideration, Betty decided not to take up the offer, as she enjoyed working too much. Gordon extended the invitation again the following year after Betty had a fire at her house in Weatherfield, but she only lived with the Cleggs temporarily. In 2004 Gordon visited Betty and brought her flowers for her 84th birthday.
Betty continued to visit Gordon for many more years, including Christmases. In 2012 when she fell sick, he went to visit her. But she had passed away, and a devastated Gordon turned up at the Rovers Return to tell her friends of her passing. He planned on having her buried in London, but seeing how loved Betty was by her friends, he decided it was best to have her buried in Weatherfield, and next to her late first husband Cyril. Gordon later went through her things with Emily Bishop, Rita Sullivan and Rovers landlady Stella Price. A letter written by Annie Walker was found which revealed that she wanted Betty to run the pub after he retirement in 1984, but Stella didn't want Gordon to know until she saw a solicitor. On the day of the funeral, they let Gordon know about the letter, but he knew that his mother had still been happy working at the pub although she had turned down the offer. After the funeral in the Rovers Return, he read a letter from Betty written before her death, thanking all her friends for all the good years. Gordon handed barman Sean Tully another letter from Betty, containing her secret hotpot recipe. Gordon then said goodbye before departing later in the evening.
- Gordon was set to play Abanazer in the 1968 Street production of Aladdin but dropped out when he lost his voice, requiring Len Fairclough to take on the role.
- In 1969, Gordon wrote a song for Minnie Caldwell's cat Bobby: "Bobby was all her joy, Bobby was her heart's delight. Bobby was a pain in the neck according to Mrs Sharples. Bobby got very sick, Bobby went off his food. But me mother brought him back well again For the sake of Minnie Caldwell."
- Gordon first appeared in Episode 765 on 15th April 1968, where he was played by Bill Kenwright. It was planned for the character to marry Lucille Hewitt in early 1969 but Kenwright chose not to stay once his initial one-year contract was up, so Gordon jilted Lucille and moved to London instead.
- Bill Kenwright reprised the role in many brief stints between 1974 and 1995 and 2012. Despite finding fame and fortune as a producer and impresario and retired from acting, he was willing to make an exception for Coronation Street, as his schedules permitted.
- Prior to the in-storyline revelation that Maggie Clegg's sister Betty Turpin was Gordon's mother, Maggie and Gordon were written and played as mother and son. Speaking about the storyline, Bill Kenwright later remarked, "They sent me the scripts. I read them and I cried.". Irene Sutcliffe, who played Maggie, felt that it demolished the effort both actors had put into making their relationship believable.
- Gordon was also played by Geoffrey Leesley in 2002 and 2004.
- Bill Kenwright reprised the role again in 2012 for the death of Betty Williams after the real-life passing of friend Betty Driver.
First and last linesEdit
"Thanks very much." (First line, to Elsie Tanner)
"Yeah, she was wasn't she? She was top. Night-night." (Final line, to Tina McIntyre)