Elizabeth Theresa "Bet" Lynch (formerly Gilroy) was a character in Coronation Street who first appeared in Ep 569 - 25 May 1966. She returned full time in Ep 980 - 18 May 1970 and left in Ep 3922 - 16 Oct 1995 only to return in Ep 5282/5283 - 10 Jun 2002, leaving soon after in Ep 5290 - 23 Jun 2002. Bet returned in Ep 5630 - 21 Nov 2003 and left again in Ep 5636 - 30 Nov 2003, this time for good.
During her time in the show, Bet was a barmaid at the Rovers Return for 15 years before becoming landlady in 1985, after Billy Walker was forced out by the brewery for cutting corners. She had a great friendship with fellow Rovers barmaid Betty Williams. Bet and Betty were good "PALS. PALS" whereas Bet fell out with best friend Rita Sullivan over a business venture. Quite often Bet was the subject of rejection such as when Martin Barrett told her he hates it when a woman does not know when it is time to go home, and later Tony Cunliffe. And poor Bet was then rejected by her best friend Rita when she dropped out of a business venture to buy the Rovers, which lead to Bet's exit from Weatherfield.
Bet was played by actress Julie Goodyear.
Elizabeth Theresa Lynch was born on the 4th May 1940 in Weatherfield to Irish parents Patrick Lynch and Mary Lynch. Patrick left the family in late 1940 when Bet was just 6 months old, meaning Bet had no memories of her father. Bet's mother bought her up. Mary Lynch was a strict Catholic.
In January 1956, Bet was almost 16 years old and met Joe Mason at a party. He got her pregnant and she had a son Martin born on the 13th October that year. Bet was forced to give her baby up for adoption to a Mr and Mrs Downes. Bet became Miss Weatherfield in 1957 aged 17.
In May 1966, 26 year old Bet visited The Rovers when she worked for a short time at a PVC factory. She then left the Coronation Street area in July that year.
1970-1994 - From Barmaid to Landlady
Bet Lynch returned to Coronation Street in May 1970, after 4 years away, and was taken in as a barmaid at The Rovers Return in Coronation Street by Annie Walker. She often had to adhere to her boss Annie Walker's strict rules. She became best friends with Betty Turpin. In July 1973, Bet was being followed by someone who attacked her in the back alley behind the Rovers. This man was Norman Leach. Stan Ogden found her lying in the back alley and summoned for help, and she was taken to hospital. Norman was later jailed.
In 1974, Bet's 18 year old soldier son Martin Downes wanted to find Bet, his birth mother, so he and his mate Steve Baker scoured the pubs of Weatherfield looking for an Elizabeth Lynch as a barmaid. Martin had found out the name of his birth mother and that she worked as a barmaid in Weatherfield. Martin and Steve visited the Rovers, as there was 2 Elizabeth's working there, known as Bet and Betty. Steve quizzed Betty and she said her maiden name was Preston. Bet was referred to as "Miss Lynch", and Martin knew he had found his birth mother. When Bet turned up for work, she was flirty with the customers and a bit crass, so Martin did not tell her who he was, and left the pub with Steve.
In 1975, Bet was devastated when her son Martin Downes was killed in action, and Steve Baker returned to tell her. Bet considered suicide but Eddie Yeats talked her out of it. In 1976, the Rovers had a new cellarman called Fred Gee. Bet and Fred had a lot of banter together, with Bet calling him Fred Face, he in return called her by her surname. "Hey Lynch" he'd say during a mild argument. Bet also became good friends with Rita Fairclough.
In 1983 Fred wanted to take her out on a picnic, just the 2 of them. Bet invited Betty, much to Fred's opprobrium. Bet had invited Betty because she did not want to be left alone with lecherous Fred. The car had been taken out of Brian Tilsley's garage before he could finish the repairs and the car rolled into the lake with Bet and Betty sitting in the car. Fred had to rescue them, upon Bet's stern request. In 1984, Annie Walker retired and Billy Walker took over as landlord, and he said he would keep Bet and Betty on. Billy's tenure was short lived as he kept holding late night lock ins and was buying cheap booze. At the same time he sacked Fred by overworking him, making Fred thump him so Billy did not have to pay any compensation to him. In November 1984, Fred left the area for good, and never kept in touch with Bet or Betty. In December 1984, Billy was forced out of the Rovers for dodgy deals, and left for Jersey. Bet yet again faced rejection when Tony Cunliffe said they were just having a bit of fun as copper and barmaid.
In January 1985, Bet became the landlady of the pub, buying the tenancy. By early 1985 the Rovers was a much more relaxed place to drink now that nasty Billy, snooty Annie and loud cellarman Fred were gone forever. Bet remained flirty but did gain a bit more of a responsible side now she was a landlady. She took on Wilf Starkey as a potman. Wilf left after being accused of stealing, and was replaced by Jack Duckworth.
Bet almost died in June 1986 when the Rovers burned down due to asking cellarman Jack Duckworth to install a fuse, which was the wrong fuse. Bet blamed herself for it as she felt she should have bought in a qualified electrician instead of getting her potman to install the fuse. She went into business with Alec Gilroy and they drummed up business in the reopened Rovers. In September 1987, Bet became Mrs Alec Gilroy. In March 1988, Bet found that she was 2 months pregnant at almost 48 years old. She said how she had her first child Martin who she adopted out and whom died in a car crash. She miscarried her second pregnancy. In 1990, when Alec's daughter died, his granddaughter Vicky Arden came to stay with them. Later in 1991, Bet's old flame Des Foster turned up. Des made a pass at Bet and when she rejected his advances, he assaulted her. Des then left. Bet and Alec carried on running the pub together, and they almost were shut down in July 1992 when a spider was let loose in the kitchen. Soon after, Alec was offered a job with Sunliners in Southampton. Bet refused to go with him so in September 1992, Alec left for Southampton alone.
In 1993, Bet found out that her step granddaughter Vicky may be taken for a ride by her boyfriend Steve McDonald. At Christmas 1993, Bet told Steve if he hurts Vicky she will pluck, him, stuff him and roast him. She then asked him to pass on her regards to his mum Liz. In late December 1993, a lorry driver called Charlie Whelan gave Bet a lift home. He became interested in her and in January 1994 he took her to dinner. They became a couple.
In June 1994, Bet comforted Raquel when she found her boyfriend Des Barnes was seeing Tanya Pooley. Tanya split Des and Raquel up. Bet was very loyal to Raquel so she sacked Tanya but Tanya lied her way round and a suspicious Bet reluctantly took her back on but kept a close eye on her. But, devious Tanya then seduce Charlie Whelan, Bet's boyfriend in September 1994. Bet then sacked Tanya for keeps and gave her a weeks wages in lieu of notice. Tanya and Charlie left Weatherfield to go to Germany. In October 1994, Charlie said Tanya had left him and begged Bet for a reconciliation. Bet said she needed time. Charlie begged her to take him back, saying he loved her. In the end she called him into the pub, and said she could never trust Charlie again, and said goodbye to him, so Charlie left the area for good.
1995: Prospect of buying the Rovers, it all going sour, and leaving Weatherfield
In February 1995, Bet went on a cruise. While away, Rodney Bostock was relief manager. When Bet returned 3 weeks later, Rodney and Bet almost entered a relationship.
In early October 1995, Bet was told that the brewery were selling 6 of their pubs, and the Rovers was one of them. Bet had made hardly any profit during her 10 year tenure as landlady, and no longer had Alec for support. She asked her friend Rita Sullivan to go into partnership with her and Rita gave it consideration. At first Rita seemed keen, but Bet kept pushing her into it. Also, Bet did not offer a percentage.
Bet went around telling everyone that Rita had agreed to it. Rita had to put up with her neighbours and friends saying that they heard she may be going into the pub business. Rita got annoyed at this. And Rita's good friend Alf Roberts advised Rita not to go into business as Bet did not have a penny in profit to her name. Also Alf said that Bet and Rita like to run their own shows so a partnership could end up in a fall out and end a good friendship. This made Rita decide not to go into business with Bet.
However, a very keen Bet then came into The Kabin with some champagne. Rita told Bet she was jumping the gun a bit. Bet said while nothing is signed and sealed yet, it is as good as. But Rita said she will not go into business with her. She said that Bet telling everyone had put her off for a start. Bet pleaded with her but Rita said that Bet has never offered a percentage and she seems to have not made any money from her 10 years as landlady. Bet accused Rita of becoming high and mighty with her. She then said Rita is only rich because she married Len Fairclough and he left her a lot of money and the shop in his will. Bet accused Rita of being a fair-weather pal. (Someone who sees you as a friend when it is easy, but backs away when you have a problem). Rita says no one throws £1000s away no matter how good pals they are. Bet yelled "PALS. PALS. You dont know the meaning of the word". Bet asked Rita one more time to consider. Rita refused and said she was sorry. Bet said she is sorry as well, sorry she ever asked, then quietly left the shop.
Bet steered clear from Rita, their friendship was over, due to the harsh words exchanged in the verbal altercation after
Rita backed out of the deal. Bet then asked Vicky for the money but Vicky refused, and Bet snarled at this, as she let Vicky live with her for 4 years rent free. A day or so later, on the 16th October 1995, an angry Bet threw all the customers out of the pub, and closed it. She then decided it was time to leave Weatherfield that same day to start afresh, after 25 years at the Rovers, of which the last 10 years had been as landlady. She packed her suitcases, left the keys on the counter, took one last look at the Rovers, put her earrings on, and left in a taxi that day, leaving no contact details to the Coronation Street residents.
Bet's exit was very similar to that of Elsie Tanner's exit in 1984. Quietly leaving in a taxi for pastures new.
Oct 1995-June 2002 - Life away from Weatherfield
A day or so later, it was apparent that Bet had left Coronation Street, and Weatherfield itself. A rep from the brewery said that Bet had resigned her tenancy and had no plans to ever return to the pub. Rodney Bostock was bought in again as a relief manager due to Bet's sudden departure from the area.
Bet somehow ended up moving to Tenerife by the end of 1995. She met a man over there called Bruce. In 1999, Bet visited Brighton where her step-granddaughter Vicky was living. Vicky was due to marry a man called Robert.
2002-2003: Temporarily reacquainting with old friends and neighbours
Bet returned to Weatherfield in June 2002 for Betty's retirement party but Betty changed her mind. Bet stayed with Audrey. One afternoon, Rita tried to make amends with Bet over their fall out 7 years earlier. Bet said she thought her and Alec were for keeps, and her and Rita were best mates but she was wrong on both counts. Rita accuses Bet of hoping she wanted her to buy the Rovers for her but Bet says, buy us both a pub. Bet says if Rita had bought into the pub, she would have made it a success. Bet says that Rita refusing to lend her the money to buy the Rovers probably did her a favour. Bet then insulted Rita by saying that all she does is run one shop, The Kabin, despite her airs and graces, and that Len's cash got her started. Rita said Bet is still a hard and petty woman, so they parted ways again, this time for good.
Roy Cropper asked Bet to give a speech in August for the Rovers 100th birthday but she said she will not be here by then. Bet soon revealed that she was only back in Weatherfield to testify against an old boyfriend Phil Bennett, who stole from her. Bet lost her case and left Weatherfield, this time for good.
In November 2003, Liz McDonald came across Bet in Blackpool. Bet was due to marry Cecil Newton but he died and she decided to return to Brighton to run a pub down there. Liz went to join Bet to help her run the pub, although Liz returned to Weatherfield the following year and Bet remained behind. Liz went to visit Bet Lynch for a couple of weeks in October 2004, although it is unknown if they remained in any contact after this.
In May 2020, Bet turned 80 years old.
As of 2022, Bet will be 81 years old and probably retired, living in Brighton. She has not been seen or heard from by Liz since she saw her in 2003, and Bet did not even attend Betty's funeral in 2012 (although it is likely she was never informed). As Rita and Bet never patched up their 1995 fallout on Bet's 2002 return, they are no longer in contact with one another.
When suffering from Alzheimer's disease, Mike Baldwin turned up at his former home Number 5 Coronation Street where he stayed with Bet in 1976, and began searching for her during a state of confusion. The residence was now housing Les Battersby, who was bewildered by Mike appearing in his home. Les vaguely remembered Bet as the "old bird who ran the pub". Les had briefly met Bet during her visit in June 2002, having been turned down when he tried to flirt with her.
In July 2010, Tina McIntyre and Graeme Proctor found a photo of Bet and Rita whilst staying at Rita's flat. Graeme asked who Bet was and referred to her as a "slapper", and Rita told him about who Bet was, jokingly saying she would not have taken too kindly to Graeme's remark.
Bet was mentioned in December 2020, by Ken Barlow when he said how 30 years ago on New Years Eve 1990, he tried to take an overdose but Bet talked him out of it. Ken admitted he messed his own life up.
Jenny Connor mentioned Bet in February 2022.
- Julie Goodyear made her debut as the character for a six-week period from May to July 1966, in which Bet was a factory girl at the PVC factory. Although Goodyear hoped that her contract would be extended, this didn't come to pass. After finishing her stint, co-star Patricia Phoenix (who played Elsie Tanner) suggested to Julie that she should try and get more acting experience. Although Julie had done so, producers were still not interested.
- Four-years later in 1970, a producer saw her acting on a stage play and impressed, invited her back to the show and Julie was given a six-month contract. She would remain on the show as a permanent and popular character for the next 25-years.
- Julie wanted to quit the role of Bet in 1992 when her on screen husband Alec Gilroy left, but was persuaded to stay on until 1995, to see her 25th anniversary as a regular character. Julie finally quit the role in May 1995, just before winning a lifetime achievement award and the character departed in October 1995. She returned for a late night spin-off show Coronation Street: After Hours at the end of the decade, and was broadcast in December 1999.
- Seven-years after her departure from the show, Julie was invited back in order to boost the ratings as Coronation Street was up against rival soap EastEnders. She was given a one-year contract, and the plan was to have her become the manageress of the Rovers Return. Her return scenes aired in June 2002, but Julie quit soon after as she felt the stress of the working conditions, which weren't the same as when she was originally in it. The character got a hasty off-screen exit which explained she left the area. Despite this not being part of the plan, it was somewhat appropriate with the character's return as Bet often stated she didn't intend to stick around long in the area.
- Julie reprised the role of Bet one final time as part of a special set of episodes set in Blackpool. This aired in November 2003, 17-months since her failed 2002 return.
- In 2012 Julie expressed interest in returning to Coronation Street for a storyline involving the funeral of Betty Williams, after the real life passing of her former co-star and friend Betty Driver. But this didn't come to pass. In 2013, Julie confirmed she had no interest in returning to the show.
- A baby Bet Lynch appears in the prequel novel Coronation Street at War along with her mother Mary.
- In February 2020, rumours spread online that Coronation Street bosses are planning to bring back Bet to the show to coincide with the show's 60th anniversary, however this has not been confirmed, unless they plan a surprise, however this is unlikely as Julie has expressed no desire to return to the show. Nothing came of Bet's return, meaning these were likely just false rumours.
- Bet Lynch appears in the mobile game Coronation Street: Words & Design, in which she is depicted as still running the Rovers even though the game takes place in the modern day. Her appearance also draws similarities to her appearance in the 1990s instead of an older looking Bet. This is probably the closest things fans can expect for Bet returning to the franchise.
List of addresses
|44 Victoria Street||November 1970 to December 1976|
|5 Coronation Street||December 1976 to March 1977|
|15a Coronation Street||March 1977 to April 1980|
|Ludlow Avenue||April 1980 to June 1982|
|15a Coronation Street||June 1982 to January 1985|
|Rovers Return Inn||January 1985 to June 1986|
|37 Hillside Crescent||June 1986 to August 1986|
|Rovers Return Inn||August 1986 to May 1987|
|Torremolinos||May 1987 to August 1987|
|Rovers Return Inn||August 1987 to 16th October 1995|
|Tenerife||October 1995 to November 1999|
|Brighton||November 1999 to June 2002|
|5 Grasmere Drive||12th June to 28th June 2002|
|Brighton||28th June 2002 onwards|
|Barmaid||Rovers Return Inn||2nd December 1970 to 2nd January 1985|
|Manageress||Rovers Return Inn||2nd January 1985 to 16th October 1995|
|Owner||Bar in Brighton||November 1999 onwards|
Appearances: 25 May–13 July 1966, 18 May 1970–16 October 1995, 10–23 June 2002, 21–30 November 2003 (Coronation Street), 8–13 November 1999 (Coronation Street: After Hours)
Born: 4th May 1940, Weatherfield
Spouses: Alec Gilroy (1987–c.2002)
Children: Martin Downes (1956) (Deceased), Miscarried Baby (1988)
Uncles/Aunts: Ted, Tina Lynch (Tina as yet unconfirmed)
- "It's not a smile love, it's a lid on a scream".
To Fred Gee
- "Shut it Fred Face".
From the famous scene in Ep 3920 - 11 Oct 1995 where Rita refuses to back Bet in buying the Rovers with her.
Bet comes into The Kabin with a bottle of champagne.
- BET: (With bottle of champagne) We've cracked it kid. Newton & Ridley have come down 2 grand".
- RITA: You mean they only want £66'000 now?"
- BET: It's a first for them Newton & Ridley never barter.
- RITA: Look can we discuss this upstairs.
- BET: We'll crack this open while we're at it hey, to celebrate. I'll fetch you a glass hey Mave, hows the tooth?
- MAVIS: Well...
- RITA: Dont you think you are jumping the gun a bit Bet?
- BET: Well I know nothing's signed, sealed and delivered yet but it's as good as.
- RITA: Not as far as I am concerned.
- BET: What
- RITA: I've had the world and his wife coming in here telling me what I know I am going to be doing before I know what I am going to be doing myself. I don't appreciate that.
- BET: Well what's the big secret? You said you'd back me.
- RITA: I said I would think about it and I am sorry Bet. It's not on.
- BET: You're dropping out.
- RITA: I made no promises.
- BET: You let me go down the brewery and make a total fool of myself.
- RITA: I asked you to wait until I had a proper chance to look at the figures.
- BET: I've got the books over the road.
- RITA: I've done all the sums I need.
- BET: Oh aye. Little Miss High and mighty all of a sudden.
- RITA: Which is more than can be said for you.
- BET: Excuse me I have run that pub on my Todd for years.
- RITA: Yes and not made a penny from it. Well have you? Unless you are keeping something from me?
- BET: Are you saying I'm lying? That I have £1000's of pounds stashed away?
- RITA: Dont talk so daft.
- BET: I only wish to God I had. You can see my statements if you want. What is this Rita? What's going on?
- RITA: Look. You're asking me to put up £1000's of pounds. I am entitled to ask you why you haven't any savings if this pub of yours is such a wonderful business proposition.
- BET: Dont you come the high and mighty with me lady. You wouldn't be standing there with a bulging bank balance if you hadn't flamin well married it.
- RITA: Yes. Len left me a tatty little shop but it was me who worked my guts out over there, and me who opened this place.
- BET: It was Len's money that got you started. If it was not for him you'd be nothing but a clapped out chorus girl.
- RITA: Better than a clapped out barmaid.
- BET: Talk about fair weather pals. I should have known better than to turn to you.
- MAVIS: Why dont you go...(cut off by Rita shouting at Bet)
- RITA: Nobody pours £1000's of pounds away no matter how good pals they are.
- BET: PALS! PALS! You dont know the meaning of the word.
- RITA: (Pauses as she calms down) Bet. I'm sorry.
- BET: But you wont change your mind.
- RITA: No
- BET: Then I'm the one who is sorry cock. Sorry I ever asked.
Bet quietly turns round, takes the bottle of champagne and leaves the shop.