Gail Rodwell (nee Potter, formerly Tilsley, Platt, Hillman and McIntyre) is a character in Coronation Street who first appeared in Ep 1412 - 29 Jul 1974, arriving on the street as the friend of Tricia Hopkins. Gail later moved in with Elsie Tanner along with friend Suzie Birchall, forming a comedic trio in the household. Gail later left the household after marrying Brian Tilsley in 1979. In the 1980s she had a troublesome marriage with Brian Tilsley, although they had two children together Nick and Sarah. Brian died in 1989 after being stabbed, widowing Gail for the first time. She was also in a feud with Brian's mother from Hell Ivy Brennan, which lasted until Ivy's death in 1995.
Gail would get with Martin Platt and they had a son named David together in 1990. The couple married in 1991 although divorced in the late 1990s after Martin cheated on Gail. Gail would later have a string of dodgy men, such as serial killer Richard Hillman, drug addicted Joe McIntyre and burglar Michael Rodwell; all three men would perish. Gail also had a flawed family life due to her daughter Sarah getting pregnant at 13, and David causing hell for the family in his teenage years.
She is the most married woman in the show, she must love wedding cake. Gail is played by Helen Worth.
Gail Potter was born on the 19th April 1958 in Weatherfield to single mother Audrey Potter after a fling she had with Ted Page. She also had an older half-brother named Stephen Reid who lived in Canada. When growing up Gail was often neglected by her mother as Audrey would rather party and hook up with random men due to still being young, rather than taking responsibility for her daughter.
Gail arrived in July 1974 as the friend of Tricia Hopkins. In December 1978 she met Brian Tilsley at a party and they began dating. They got engaged and in November 1979 they got married. She gave birth to their first child Nick in January 1981. But the marriage was rocky throughout the 1980s, especially as Brian went away on business trips, leaving Gail on her own. She also had to deal with his domineering mother Ivy, who had a dislike towards Gail.
Gail had an affair with Brian's cousin and later gave birth to a second child named Sarah, although the girl was actually Brian's. Although Gail and Brian divorced they married a second time in 1988, but at the start of 1989 Gail decided it was time to call an end to their marriage for good, as they weren't happy together. Despite getting older Brain fleeted local nightclubs to find younger women, but his end came when he was stabbed to death outside of young trying to come to the aid of a young woman being harassed by men.
Gail began dating a young man named Martin Platt, who worked at the same cafe she did. She became pregnant to him in 1990, although she planned to have a termination as she believed a young man like Martin shouldn't be tied to family life just yet. But Martin stopped her on time as he was interested in being a father, and she didn't go through with it. She gave birth to her third child - named David - on Christmas Day 1990. Her friend Sally Webster had given birth to her daughter Rosie the previous day, and the two proud mothers shard a ward together.
Gail and Martin married in 1991, and he adopted her two children Nick and Sarah, as he became a father to them. Ivy wasn't happy with this as she believed Gail was trying to remove any memory of Brain from his biological kids. In 1995 when Ivy passed away she left her house to Nick, but only on the condition he changed his name back to Tilsley. He agreed, and would often clash with Martin as Nick had been fed stories about how great his real dad was by his biased grandmother.
Martin had a roving eye when working at the hospital and began seeing a younger woman. Although he and Gail tried to keep their marriage intact for the children, they ended up divorcing in 2000. Despite the divorce he remained friends with Gail and was still there for the children.
Following the passing of her friend Alma Baldwin in 2001, Gail met Alma's long-lost cousin Richard Hillman. They took an interest in each other and began dating. In 2002 they married, although unaware to Gail her perfect husband was a murderer, as he he had just recently killed his ex-wife Patricia Hillman. After her mother was caught in a house fire Audrey suspected that Richard was to blame, as he wanted his hands on her money. In the weeks running up to his event Audrey was displaying signs of possibly going senile, although this was actually Richard messing with her to make her look mad and make the fire look less suspicious. Gail didn't believe Audrey's accusations and believed Richard was a good husband and family man.
Despite her love for Richard, Gail became suspicious when in February 2003 she overheard Steve McDonald mentioning Gail wearing a bracelet Steve himself found on a building site. Richard claimed the bracelet had belonged to his grandmother. Gail confronted Richard and he confessed to his crimes, that he murdered his ex-wife Patricia (who the bracelet actually belonged to) and tried to kill neighbour Emily Bishop for her house, which led to him killing Maxine Peacock as she walked in on the event. A betrayed and hurt Gail banished Richard from the house and he was reported to the authorities. Following this Gail and her kids faced harassment from the media and distrust from some of the neighbours, as they believed she was involved in Richard's crimes. Richard returned two weeks after his confession and kidnapped Gail and the children with the intent to kill them all in a murder-suicide. When he was caught out he drove them to the canal and plunged the car in, although Gail and the children were thankfully saved with the efforts of Martin, Tommy Harris and Kevin Webster. Gail identified Richard's body and threw their wedding rings into the canal, hoping to finally move on from the incident, although Richard's memory would still haunt them for years to come.
Richard's ghost would end up haunting the Platts in 2006 when the family started receiving cards, apparently from the late serial killer. The first arrived on Sarah's 16th birthday. David was suspected although he denied it, stating that the trauma still lived with him. Gail's boyfriend Phil Nail later became a suspect and Gail broke off with him. When the cards still came in Gail started to suffer sleepless nights and was on pills for god's sake! Her suspicion returned to David and she lied to him that Richard's birthday was coming up. When a card arrived she knew it was him, and confronted David. He acted sorrowful for the card sending and claimed it was a laugh. At this time Phil was arrested when seen buying a birthday card, although it turned out to be for his mother. David was let off with a warning, as Gail didn't want her son to get into any more trouble due to the trauma of Richard's memory still haunting him.
David's awful behaviour would escalate which would put him into many conflicts with Gail, who struggled to keep him in line, especially as Martin had loved away with his girlfriend Robyn for a new life in Liverpool. In 2007 he committed many terrible acts such as causing Sarah's fiancee to fall from scaffolding, and accidentally causing Bethany to swallow e tablets when he stashed them in her doll for his friend Darryl Morton. This was the last straw and Gail banished him from the house, and he went to move in with Audrey as she hoped to keep him in line. Gail later learned that David had told Jason that he wanted to kill the family, which disturbed her and she accused him of being evil. On the day of Sarah's wedding David drove his car into the canal in an apparent suicide bid, although Sarah believed David only did it to ruin her day (she was right). David turned up at the house dripping wet and Gail embraced him and welcomed David back to the household, most likely believing his behaviour was a cry for help. Sarah was disgusted as David was manipulating them, so went off on her honeymoon with Jason. When Gail's brother Stephen returned to Weatherfield he offered David a job to work at his firm in Milan. Sarah was angry as David didn't deserve such an opportunity, so stashed drugs in his desk at the salon, which led the family to believe he was using drugs. David lost out on the job and it was given to Sarah. Sarah and Bethany departed for Milan alone as Jason discovered the truth and chose to stay behind, and he informed Gail and David about what Sarah had done. An angry David demanded an apology from Gail, which she complied with, feeling guilt for accusing David of being in possession of drugs.
In January 2008 Gail got into a conflict with a patient Tina McIntyre at the medical centre, due to the girl's rudeness. Tina would later hook up with David and she caught them coming down the stairs half naked after having sex. Although Gail wasn't keen on Tina she would later warm up to the girl. When Tina fell pregnant to David's baby Gail went along with her to the abortion clinic to show support, as Tina wasn't ready to have a child. When David found out the truth he pushed Gail down the stairs in a fit of rage. Gail lost her memory, although later regained it and confronted David at the house, telling him that she would lie to the police. Tired of the lying and wanting to be punished, David went on a rampage in the street smashing the place up. The police were called and he was taken into custody and sent to a young offenders. Gail allowed Tina to continue staying with her at the house and when Tina's mother Ann McIntyre came along to try and force her daughter to come home Gail came to her defense and sent Ann packing.
After David's imprisonment Gail reunited with her long-lost father Ted Page for the first time, as he had returned to Weatherfield after making contact with Audrey. The pair bonded and got on well. Gail was taken aback when she discovered her father was gay. She introduced him to David for the first time. David was released from the young offenders and returned to Coronation Street, in which his personality had toned down and he wasn't as crazy. Gail also met Tina's father Joe McIntyre and they fell in love. They began to have a secret relationship as not to upset their children, although ended up getting caught out. Although David and Tina didn't approve at first, they later accepted the union as both their parents were happy. David would begin to work for Joe as a kitchen fitter.
Gail and her family got into a conflict with the Windass family in November 2008. Joe and David fitted a kitchen for Eddie and Anna Windass, although they refused to pay up. As revenge David, Tina and their friend Graeme Proctor smashed up the Windass' kitchen, which drew family members Gary Windass and Len Windass to the street, where they tore out Gail's kitchen in revenge. To make matters worse the family were moved next door the following month into the property of the Morton family. Gail and Anna met up and agreed to come to a truce, although they had difficulty convincing their own families, especially their own sons David and Gary who were in a feud with each other. When the family met in the Rovers for peace talks David made clear he wouldn't make up with Gary and stormed out with Tina. On Christmas Day Gail invited the family round for Christmas dinner, although tension rose due to Gary flirting with Tina and Eddie and Anna being uncouth and disruptive. David got into a fight with Gary and an angry Joe lost his temper and threw the Windass family out. Joe's outburst shocked Gail, and Joe disappeared that night. This caused her to question who he truly was as she had never seen him like this before.
After finding out Joe was in debt problems she allowed him to move in. When he injured his back he was unable to work and soon became addicted on pain medication, and ended up breaking into Gail's workplace at the medical centre to get her hands on drugs. Joe was arrested but given a warning, and he was able to get off the drugs. He bought an old boat from Bill Webster and done it up, and one night when dining on it with Gail he proposed to her, which she accepted. But unknown to Gail Joe was still suffering from debt problems, and was being harassed by a loan shark called Rick Neelan. Gail and Joe married in January 2010 in which Ted gave her away, and they went on their honeymoon to the Lake District. When returning home Gail found out Joe was in debt and agreed to sell the house. But she changed her mind which resulted in Joe having an outburst and accusing her of being a curse, due to the misfortune of him and her previous husbands. But they reconciled after this, and Joe had to look for other means to get money to pay the loan shark.
He took Gail away on another holiday to the Lake District, and outlined to her a plot that he would fake his death out on the lake and she could claim the life insurance to pay off Rick. Gail was horrified and attempted to stop Joe from leaving on his boat, but he threw her off and sailed off into the night. Gail waited for Joe all night but he never returned. She phoned David to help retrieve the boat, and assumed Joe had gone ahead with his plan. When returning to Weatherfield she claimed that Joe had gotten a job at the Lake District, as she didn't want him to get into trouble for faking his death. Over the next two weeks she still didn't hear anything from Joe and his daughter Tina was becoming frustrated. Gail was later informed by the police that a body was found at the Lake District, and she went to identify it with Tina. They were horrified to come across Joe's bloated corpse, although were able to identify him.
Although Gail and Tina were supportive to each other in their grief, the latter became suspicious that Gail was involved in her dad's death. Tina later phoned the police on Gail and gave information about her lying about Joe's whereabouts, and Gail was arrested on suspicion of Joe's death., which they thought to now be murder. Although Gail gave the police information on Rick, the loan shark was simply charged with extortion and not murder, and Gail was instead charged with Joe's murder and she was held on remand to await her trial. Whilst inside she met Tracy Barlow, who managed to arrange to be moved into Gail's cell so she could get "dirt" on Gail killing Joe, which Tracy hoped would earn her a transfer to an open prison. Gail didn't suspect Tracy of manipulating her and thought she had changed with prison. But when Gail let slip that she had hid a rolling pin from Joe to prevent him from baking a cake, Tracy went to the police with this information, claiming that Gail admitted to using it to kill Joe. The police retrieved the item and believed Tracy's version of events, especially as Joe had trauma on his head (although this was because he hit his head on the boat).
During Gail's trial Tracy testified against her, although the courts saw through her lies, especially as she had lied about the circumstances behind her killing Charlie Stubbs just three years prior. After a week Gail was found not guilty of killing Joe and released, in which she returned home. She was shocked to see the Underworld factory next to the house in ruins, as murderer Tony Gordon had escaped prison during her trial and blew it up.
Gail didn't approve of Nick's relationship with hairdresser Natasha Blakeman. When Nick and Natasha got engaged following her pregnancy Gail became suspicious that Natasha was up to no good, especially as she had been making continuous visits to the medical centre where she worked. During a party at the Rovers Gail used her keys to sneak into the medical centre and she gained access to Natasha's records, where she discovered that she had aborted Nick's baby weeks prior, although was trying to get pregnant again. Gail broke patient confidentiality by informing Nick on the situation. This led to Nick leaving Natasha, Natasha losing her job at Audrey's, which subsequently led to her attempting suicide. Once Natasha recovered she reported Gail to Gail's superior Doctor Matt Carter, who promptly fired Gail. Having had her revenge, Natasha departed Coronation Street, leaving Gail jobless. Despite leaving on a bad note, Gail did assist Matt on tending to the injured during the tram crash incident on Coronation Street in December 2010, in which Nick was trapped at his bistro along with Ashley Peacock and Peter Barlow.
On Christmas Eve Tracy was released from prison having appealed her case, and Gail clashed with Tracy in the Rovers and attacked her. Over the next week Tracy slept with both of Gail's sons much to her horror, as it was just a way to get to the Platt family. Tracy made a lot of enemies following her release, which led to her being attacked at the back of Number 1 Coronation Street. Gail and David gave each other false alibis, although neither of them were guilty of the crime. Claire Peacock was exposed as the assailant, and she fled to France with her sons to escape the authorities.
In 2011 David returned from a holiday in which he became engaged to a woman named Candy. Candy was revealed to be Kylie, the sister of neighbour Becky McDonald. Predictably Gail clashed with Kylie as she believed she was no good for David, although began to soften up to her and supported both their decision to get custody of Kylie's son Max, who was staying with Becky and Steve McDonald at the pub. They succeeded in the custody battle and Max came to live at No.8, in which Gail became a grandmother figure to the lad.
In 2012 Gail and Audrey took up power-walking to improve their health, and went to the countryside to exercise. When stopping at a pub they were stunned to cross paths with Audrey's ex-boyfriend Lewis Archer, over a year since he had disappeared after conning Peter Barlow at the bookies. Lewis appealed with them not to phone the police, and when going to get a drink he fled. Although Gail and Audrey believed that Lewis was gone for good, he turned up on Coronation Street that day and repaid Peter the money he took (plus an advancement) and handed himself into the police. Lewis was made to do community service, and he stated that he had changed. Audrey later reconciled her relationship with Lewis, although Gail wasn't convinced that Lewis had truly changed. She didn't approve when Nick gave Lewis a job at the bistro.
Later in the year Gail and Gloria Price planned to try and expose Lewis when Gloria claimed to him that she had cancer, so to see if he would cheat on Audrey. Audrey discovered this but allowed them to do it out of curiosity. Despite being caring and supportive to Gloria Lewis never cheated, and he was angry to find out their deceit and was disappointed when Audrey knew. He broke up with Audrey and exposed Gloria as a liar to her family, causing her to leave. Gail felt bad and realised Lewis had truly changed. Gail drew attracted to Lewis and they began to date each other, and planned to leave the United Kingdom for a new life abroad. Gail remortgaged the house to pay for the trip, unaware Lewis was actually using her. Lewis later disappeared with Gail's money, and she was forced to tell her family what she had planned. Lewis also left a video tape telling Gail how it was a revenge plan and humiliating her. Although Lewis left some money behind this was actually to compensate Audrey for money he borrowed months prior, and Audrey refused to let her daughter get a share despite being penniless. Despite Gail's attempts to get back her money before it transferred to Lewis it was too late, and he was far away.
- Gail Potter was introduced in July 1974 originally as a short-term character who appeared as the friend of Tricia Hopkins, with Helen Worth cast in the role. She originally appeared from July to August 1974, then again in November that year. Worth was promoted to a main member of the cast in February 1975, and would continue to appear as one of the longest running serving actors.
- Gail's earlier backstory was different, as she mentioned in 1975 that her parents would constantly argue and were although religious. This contradicted her later established backstory in which her mother Audrey was revealed to be a single mother who had multiple flings with other men, and that Gail never knew her dad growing up.
- Gail has been noted for the amount of times she has been married, and not only that the times she has been widowed (with only her second husband Martin Platt surviving). She has the same amount of marriages as Steve McDonald (the pair of them have married six times, twice to the same person) which surpasses long-running character Ken Barlow who has only been married four times (twice to the same person) during his 56 year history on the show. Her high marriage count was the subject of a joke in January 2010 when (before going to marry Joe McIntyre) a bunch of characters asked what number of husband he would be and that they had lost count.
- Gail's recurring feature for getting with "wrong 'uns" such as Richard Hillman (serial killer), Joe McIntyre (drug addict) and Michael Rodwell (burglar) has been made something of a joke as well, although in fairness she isn't alone in this matter.
- Gail developed a reputation as a black widow after she earned a record in the Guinness World Records for most widowed spouse, having lost four husbands during her married life (with only Martin managing to escape unharmed). She beat previous record holder Ken Barlow, who was widowed three times before the death of Gail's latest husband Michael.
- She previously held a record for most married person, having been married six times, a record she shared with Steve McDonald. But when Steve married a second time to Tracy Barlow and bringing his total up to seven, Gail was dropped to second place. She is currently on the prowl looking for fresh meat and to take back her top spot. Men beware.
List of addresses
Appearances: 29 July–21 August 1974, 11–13 November 1974, 12 February 1975–
Born: 19th April 1958, Weatherfield, Lancashire
Full Name: Gail Rodwell (Nee Potter, later Tilsley, Platt and MacIntyre)
Siblings: Stephen Reid (Half, same mother)
Grandfathers: Robert Potter
Grandmothers: Nancy Potter
- Gail Curse - a page devoted to her unlucky marriages