Alexander "Alec" Gilroy (Or Sandy according to Jim McDonald) was a character in Coronation Street who first appeared in Ep 1194 - 26 Jun 1972, and the next episode, followed by another short stint in 1975, and was not seen again until 1986 when he became a regular character. He left in Ep 3432 - 2 Sep 1992 only to return again in Ep 3877 - 3 Jul 1995 and left for good in Ep 4534 - 30 Dec 1998. While never an out and out villain, Alec was quite sly and deceitful and did show bad boy traits. He was a bit of a con man and swindled Jack and Vera out of The Rovers in 1998 before selling it to Natalie Barnes and leaving Weatherfield, this time for good. Steve McDonald, the grandson-in law of Alec did say that Alec has shafted people all his life. Alec was the first husband of Bet Lynch and landlord of The Rovers Return, Coronation Street for many years.
Alec was played by Roy Barraclough.
Alexander Gilroy was born on the 22nd May 1935 at 4, Gas Street Back, Weatherfield. He was the second child of Reg Gilroy and Mabel Gilroy nee Henshaw. Reg was a stoker at the nearby gas works and Mabel worked at a glue factory. In about 1940, Reg left Mabel and his children Alec and Edna, and remarried. He had a daughter by his second wife. In 1955 Alec married Joyce Crosby. In 1957 she was pregnant with their first child.
Alec and Joyce had their only child Sandra Gilroy on the 10th January 1958.
In April and May 1975, Alec visited the Rovers.
Later on, Alec managed The Graffiti Club, Rosamund Street.
After the fire at The Rovers in June 1986, Alec went into partnership with Bet Lynch, the then landlady. He helped her drum up business in the revamped Rovers. They soon became a couple and married in September 1987. In December 1987 the Rovers cleaner Hilda Ogden had a leaving party as she was moving away to the Derbyshire countryside. Alec was pleased to see the back of her, calling her a nosy Parker of epic proportions. In early 1988 Bet said she was pregnant again, at almost 48 years old. Alec was pleased at fatherhood again. However Bet had a miscarriage in March 1988. They came to terms with this, and Alec and Bet got on with life.
In September 1988, Alec was mugged, but Bet thought he arranged it as part of an insurance fiddle. Alec was telling the truth though and was hurt that people suspected he was up to something. Alec continued to have some financial problems. Alec and Bet hired Tina Fowler as a barmaid in 1989. Alec was quite a grouchy man and often treated his staff quite badly. In late 1989, some rowdy builders frequented the Rovers. They were employees of Maurice Jones. Alec put profit over civility and continued to serve them. However a huge fight broke out in November 1989. In 1991, Alec demanded Alf Roberts do something about the water shortage, seeing as Alf was a Councillor. Alec hired Des Foster as a decorator, but Des had a history with Bet. Des tried to seduce Bet but when she rejected him, he hit her and told him to get out. Bet told Alec about their past. Des and Bet parted ways for good after this. Alec upset Liz McDonald, who recently lost her baby daughter Katie McDonald. Liz's husband Jim McDonald almost thumped Alec and Alec barred him. In July 1992, John Steele, a health inspector called, and Alec saw a huge spider in the kitchen, which he squashed without Mr Steele seeing.
In September 1992, Alec left Bet after being offered a full-time job with Sunliners in Southampton.
Bet had to be the sole licensee now Alec was gone. She did have some problems running the pub without Alec there for support.
Alec returned to Weatherfield in July 1995 to show his disapproval of his granddaughter Vicky's relationship with Steve McDonald, as Alec knew Steve was untrustworthy. Alec tried to bribe Steve to leaving Vicky but Steve refused and they married. Alec returned to Southampton in August 1995.
In October 1995, 2 months after Alec left the area yet again, Bet wanted to buy the pub when the brewery were selling but she could not afford it, and she never turned to Alec for support but her best friend Rita who eventually dropped out and Bet left the area dejected. Jack and Vera took over the pub.
Alec returned again in April 1996 to help Jack and Vera out in running the pub. He went into partnership with them. Vera was furious but Jack said he would not let Alec rule the roost. Alec was biding his time so he could eventually force Jack and Vera out. In 1998, Alec and Rita formed a bond but they both got cold feet. In June 1998, Alec was involved in the local Councillor elections. Alec teamed up with his good friend Fred Elliott to get Audrey elected. Audrey was competing with Spider Nugent over it. Alec and Fred tried to bribe Spider into withdrawing his nomination but Spider refused.
Alec liked to meddle in Rita's affairs at The Kabin and even clashed with teenage employee Leanne Battersby. Alec kept checking up on Leanne when Rita was out. Leanne left her step mother Janice Battersby in charge while she had to nip out, and Alec was annoyed but Janice stood up to him. Rita started suffering from headaches and also started to feel queasy and took time off to rest. In July that year he and Greg Kelly saved Rita's life when she had carbon monoxide poisoning. She was rushed to hospital, and started to feel better and more cheerful again. But an engineer inspected the radiator which caused Rita's carbon monoxide poisoning. At the same time, Audrey won the council elections.
Turned out that Rita's radiator was fitted by former resident Bill Webster and Steve McDonald. Steve's dad Jim McDonald would carry the can as he was the co owner of the company. Alec, knowing Steve was once married to his granddaughter Vicky and was never right for her, vowed to have Steve for it and they rowed in the pub over it. Steve said that Alec has been shafting people all his life, using every trick in the book. Alec kept bringing up Steve's sham marriage to Vicky and Steve got annoyed at this constant reminder of Vicky. Alec went for Steve in the pub but Steve pushed Alec back to the bar and told him to get off his back.
Alec then reported Bill, Steve and Jim to the authorities but Rita decided to drop the matter, saying no one knew the radiator was faulty, and that as Jim had an accident recently, he may never walk again. She told Alec off for interfering. Jim, Steve and Bill were off the hook.
Alec then carried on his quest to con Jack and Vera out of the Rovers. In November 1998, Alec was away, and while he was away, Rita let Betty stay in Alec's part of the flat as Betty had decorators in her house. Alec returned in the middle of the night and climbed into bed with Betty, thinking she was Rita. Betty was startled and hit Alec with a pillow. In December 1998, Rita sided with the Duckworths and Alec felt betrayed by his best friend and this ended their friendship. Alec was getting sick of Coronation Street, and in late December 1998, his granddaughter Vicky came to see him to offer him a partnership in a wine bar in Brighton in Sussex. Alec jumped at the chance and sold the Rovers to Natalie Barnes, and told Jack and Vera she was their new boss. Alec then left Weatherfield for good.
Whether Alec and Fred Elliott kept in touch with one another after Alec left is unknown. Alec probably settled down to life in Brighton very quickly and saw in New Year 1999 at the wine bar, a day after the journey down from Weatherfield. In November 1999, Alec was said to be stuck in Dubai so was unable to attend Vicky's wedding (As mentioned in Coronation Street - After Hours.)
In 2002 when Bet Lynch returned to Weatherfield briefly she revealed her and Alec were officially divorced. Bet informed Rita that she knew about her being engaged to Alec, and informed her that Alec described it as a "nostalgic phase". This revelation hinted that Alec and Bet were briefly in contact again following her departure in 1995, although they once again fell out of communication and never spoke again following the divorce.
Actor Roy Barraclough died in June 2017. Whether Alec's death will be mentioned is uncertain but the likeliest mention would be from either Norris or Rita, the latter especially as she knew Alec very well. However, as Alec and Rita fell out before he left Weatherfield for good in 1998, it is unlikely that Rita has kept in touch with Alec.
In Ep 10'000/10'001 (7 Feb 2020), Rita was remembering past landladies and landlords and thought of Alec.
Behind the Scenes
Appearances: 26–28 June 1972, 30 April–12 May 1975, 23 June 1986–2 September 1992, 3 July–4 August 1995, 10 April 1996–30 December 1998. 7 February 2020 (voice appearance when Rita was reminiscing).
Born: 22nd May 1935, 4, Gas Street Back, Weatherfield, Lancashire
Full Name: Alexander Gilroy
Siblings: Edna Gilroy, Brenda Gilroy (Half, same father)
Children: Sandra Gilroy (1958), Miscarried Child (1988)
Granddaughter: Vicky McDonald
Final Line: "Any questions then speak to your new boss". To Jack and Vera about Natalie Barnes.