Richard Charles Hillman was a fictional character in Coronation Street from Ep 5060 - 20 Jun 2001 to Ep 5460 - 14 Mar 2003, in which he served as the show's primary antagonist at the time. Since then, he has been renowned as one of the show's most famous villains of all-time.
The character was a financial advisor who first appeared as an apparent cousin of Alma Baldwin upon attending her funeral. He then moved into Weatherfield and got into a relationship with Gail Platt, which continued to the point where they ended up getting married - with Richard becoming Gail's third husband in the process.
However, despite being able to live a seemingly happy life as a "family man" to Gail and her children, Richard harbored both money troubles and a penchant for homicide. These aspects were explored as Richard's agenda led to him leaving his business partner Duggie Ferguson to die in a fatal accident; murdering his ex-wife Patricia Hillman; plotting to kill his mother-in-law Audrey Roberts that involved sabotaging her personal routines in order to convince everyone that she has Alzheimer's Disease; and attempting to murder elderly resident Emily Bishop with a crowbar that ultimately resulted in him killing fellow neighbour Maxine Peacock and then framing his stepdaughter's ex-boyfriend Aidan Critchley for the crime.
Eventually, Gail began to question Richard's credibility on the night before the pair were due to leave Weatherfield with her children to start anew together. She later confronted him about everything and he confessed to his crimes, along with another revelation - that he was sterile during his first marriage with Marion Hillman and sought to accomplish the "Ready Made" family of his own. Richard subsequently went on the run as his illcit activates were finally exposed, but returned two weeks later with an intent on both suicide and familicide altogether. He kidnapped Gail, her children Sarah and David Platt, and granddaughter Bethany and attempted to kill them and himself by driving them into a canal. But in the end, only Richard perished in the incident after he drowned whereas Gail and her family survived the ordeal.
Following his death, Richard left a mark on the Platts lives forever and would be referenced to many times over the years following his death. Above all, had Maxine Peacock had taken Hillman's advice and "stayed at the party", then she'd still be alive.
He was played by Brian Capron.
Richard Charles Hillman was born in December 1951 to Mr. Hillman and Pamela Hillman. When Richard was young his father abandoned him and his mother for another woman. Richard was close to his older cousin Alma Halliwell - but they later lost contact as their mothers fell out over a family quarrel. They had contact at least until around the mid-1970s, as Richard met Alma's husband Jim Sedgewick. This was the last known time they had proper contact, and Alma didn't reference to her cousin during her entire time on Coronation Street.
In 1971, a 19-year-old Richard married a woman named Marion. The marriage lasted for 23 years, although the couple were unable to conceive a child together, with Richard believing that Marion was at fault for the issue. In 1994, Richard's mother became poorly due to suffering from dementia, and he decided to take care of her. Marion was more interested in having children than looking after a senile old woman, so her and Richard parted ways. Two years later, Marion died of cancer. Richard continued to care for his mother until she passed her. Witnessing her mental detoration took its toll on Richard and caused him severe emotional distress.
Following his mother's passing, Richard met and married another woman named Patrica. They went into business together and she got a 20% in his property company. Richard attempted to have children with Patricia, but to no avail, and he realised that he was the one unable to provide anyone with children. His marriage to Patricia broke down as well, and they had a divorce settlement, although Patricia still owned a share in his company.
There has been no info to contradict what Richard said about being Alma's cousin so it is highly likely he was telling the truth, seeing as he knew a lot about her, and how their mothers were sisters. He said he found out about her death in the paper.
In June 2001 Richard Hillman turned up at Alma Baldwin's funeral, where the first Coronation Street resident he met was Janice Battersby, whom he informed about who he was. Janice later introduced Richard to Alma's best friend Audrey Roberts. Along with Alma's friends Richard watched a video Alma recorded before her death, informing all her friends and neighbours how much she loved them.
Following the funeral, Richard got into contact with Audrey and they met up at the Rovers Return, where he filled her more in about his relationship with Alma and that he works as a financial advisor. Although Audrey is attracted to Richard, it is apparent that he is more interested in her daughter Gail, who has just recently divorced her husband Martin. He quickly befriends Gail, eventually forming a romantic relationship with her. Richard moves in with her, winning over her children David Platt and Sarah Louise Platt. Norris Cole was suspicious of Richard after he learns that Richard was responsible for several elderly people losing their savings. Richard acquires a large detached house 2 The Ridings from an elderly widow, which Richard planned to redevelop into luxury flats. Her son wasn't happy with Richard acquiring the property as it meant he was missing out on her inheritance.
Hillman confronts Duggie at an under construction block of flats during a disagreement about Duggie's shoddy workmanship and stealing the fittings. During the argument, Duggie falls several floors when a banister gives way (ironically, due to his own shoddy workmanship). Duggie is critically injured and Richard leaves him to die, opportunistically allowing the incident to remove his unwanted business partner. He panics at first, whipping out his mobile and dialing emergency services. However, he only dials '99' before stopping, then he goes to Duggie's flat to steal the cash Duggie stored there, seeing it as revenge for Duggie cutting corners and lying to him.
In May 2002, Richard's ex-wife, Patricia, inconveniently turns up as Richard finalises his and Gail's wedding plans. As she was moving to Australia, Patricia wants to cash in her directorship of Kellett Holdings, Richard's property company. Patricia owns 20% of Kellett Holdings, which Richard finally persuades her is worth £25,000. He agrees to hand over the cheque at his Oakhill flats development, where they fight as Richard stalls on the money due to the cost of underpinning work. In the ensuing argument and struggle, Patricia falls into the underpinning trench and Richard hit her in the face with a spade, killing her instantly. The next day, her body is covered in tons of cement for the underpinnings. A bracelet is found by builder Steve McDonald which belonged to Patricia. Richard gets hold of the necklace claiming it belonged to a client wanting to look over the property, but ends up giving it to Gail, claiming it belonged to his late grandmother.
Richard finds himself bothered by Norris Cole, who doesn't approve of Richard getting Emily to sign over her house to him and feeling Richard is out to harm her, especially as Emily was beginning to go through a period of feeling unwell. Richard gets fed up with Norris' constant interference and one day follows him in his car, where he bundles Norris into it and takes him to the flats. He threatens Norris and accuses him of being an interfering old man. Richard cools himself and apologises to Norris, and later lets him go. Norris doesn't go to the police, although is still suspicious of Richard.
Richard and Gail marry in the summer of 2002 and go away with the children on a holiday to Florida. Upon returning from the break, Richard is shocked to discover that the potential buyers of the flats - including Steve and his wife Karen - have all pulled out due to a hostel for released criminals was being constructed nearby, with the buyers feeling uncomfortable living next to that sort of place. To make matters worse, this place meant that the value of the flats were dropped, meaning Richard wouldn't make any profit on them. Because of Richard's vast spending on a nice holiday and cars and also flashing his cash about, he would be declared bankrupt by the bank. He tried to convince councillor Curly Watts to stop the hostel being constructed, but Curly obliged, as it had already been voted by him and the other councillors.
Desperate for money, Richard made plans to kill again, this time Gail's mother Audrey. Over the course of a few weeks, he began to make her look senile by misplacing things in her house, which caused Gail and others to assume that she was suffering early signs of dementia. One night while Gail was asleep, Richard snuck to Audrey's house and set it ablaze. She was rescued by firefighters. Audrey grew suspicious of Richard and turned to her friend Archie Shuttleworth, who protected her against Richard who one day chased her down and tried to get her to come with him. Having put the pieces together, Audrey and Archie come to (rightfully) believe Richard is a killer, and Audrey grows concerned for Gail and the children. But Gail refuses to believe Richard is a killer and found the concept absurd. Audrey and Archie contacted the police, and they arrested Richard and questioned him but were forced to release him due to lack of evidence.
Still needing the money and refusing to discuss his financial problems with Gail out of fear of being seen as a failure, Richard turned his attention back to Emily, who was still suffering ill health. He planned to kill her in December 2002 and came close to suffociating a sleeping Emily with a pillow, but thought against it. In January 2003 he planned to finally go ahead and kill Emily. Wanting to stitch up Sarah's twisted boyfriend Aidan Critchley - who had previously caused Sarah to be caught in a car accident the previous year - Richard drugged the young lad who was sleeping rough in an abandoned property on Victoria Street and planned to stage a burglary at the Peacock family household. Emily was babysitting at the property for Ashley and Maxine Peacock during a party at the Rovers for Maxine's mother, and Richard decided to use the opportunity to strike. While the party was in swing he broke into the property and bashed Emily over the head with a crowbar. Unfortunately, Maxine returned early to check on her child Joshua, and stumbled upon Richard. To cover his tracks, he beat her to death. Richard robbed the place and stashed the stolen goods next to an unconscious Aidan, and managed to slip back into the party without anyone noticing he was gone.
Following the discovery of Maxine's body, police later arrested Aidan and took him in for questioning and he was the prime suspect of the case. Emily survived the attack and recovered in hospital, although was left terrified following the ordeal and remorse that Maxine died and she survived. Richard felt guilt over having to kill Maxine, which was made worse when he inherited a large sum of money from a dead client and his flats were able to go back up for sale when plans for the hostel was cancelled due to local outcry, meaning his actions were meaningless. Richard managed to pose as a sympathetic neighbour and supported Ashley. During Maxine's funeral her family requested Richard to deliver an eulogy. Richard reluctantly agreed and during a speech came close to admitting guilt, but avoided doing so. He was praised by Maxine's family and the neighbours, although Audrey, Archie and Norris saw through the facade and believed Richard was responsible, especially as it transpired Aidan was too drunk and drugged to have committed the offense.
Wanting to get away from the area, Richard planned to relocate the himself and the family to a nice house and put down a deposit. Gail and the children were thrilled at the new prospect. But the net began to close in, when Audrey found out from Ken Barlow (who went to see Aidan in prison) that the boy was drugged with diazepam, the same drug Audrey was on when she briefly stayed at the Hillman household but left behind when she moved in with Archie. Gail began to search the drugs cupboard but was interrupted by Richard, and they went to the pub to celebrate their move and had a farewell party. But Gail - for the first time since knowing Richard - starting having her own suspicions. She overheard Steve telling Karen about how he had found the bracelet at the building site. Gail asked Audrey what medication she was on, and Audrey told Gail it was diazepam. Shocked, Gail left the party without telling Richard and returned to the house. Richard followed her back and Gail told Richard to tell the truth. Unable to cope with the constant lying anymore, Richard told Gail that he was guilty of murder.
Richard told Gail about what he had done, including being responsible for trying to kill Emily and ending up murdering Maxine. He then eventually confessed to murdering Patricia, and that she was buried underneath the foundations at his flats. Richard attempted to justify his behaviour that he was doing it for his family, and stated he was a better husband that Gail's previous ones Brian and Martin, as he would never cheat on her. Richard tried to convince Gail to not go to the authorities and keep it a secret, and that they could still move away together. A disgusted Gail turned down Richard's idea and told him that she hated him, and mocked him for thinking that murder was worse than an affair. A broken Richard proceeded to leave the household quietly and disappeared from Weatherfield. Gail phoned Audrey to tell her about what happened, and the police were contacted.
While Richard was in hiding, in which he slept rough and stole milk bottles off doorsteps to nourish himself, Gail found herself getting the flack for Richard's schemes when it came out in the open. The police investigated the case and Gail had to convince them she was not aware of Richard's offenses when they took place. Some of the residents were hostile to Gail, especially Ashley who suspected Gail knew about it as Audrey had clicked there was something not right with Richard for months. Vera Duckworth was appalled that her and Jack lost their life savings, and went to the press giving a false story claiming Gail was involved. Gail and the kids were bombarded by the press, who believed she was involved in his crimes. But not all residents thought Gail was part of Richard's schemes, which included Emily Bishop. During this period Richard found out about Gail's plight through newspapers. Over the two weeks of him being in hiding Richard's mental deterioration had severally declined, knowing there was no way back for his actions. He decided to return to Coronation Street and end everything once and for all.
Secretly returning to the street on 14th March 2003, Richard gained access to No.8 and cleaned himself up and dressed in his wedding suit. He wrote a confession to clear Gail's name. Richard kidnapping both Sarah, David and Bethany when they returned to the house, bounding and gagging Sarah and David and drugging Bethany, and put them in the car in the garage. When Gail returned in the evening to make the tea, Richard prevented her from leaving. Once Gail calmed down, she tried to convince Richard to hand himself into the police, but he refused, claiming he wouldn't survive prison without Gail. He told her to run away with him somewhere "far away", and Gail reluctantly accepted, as she wanted to reunite with the children. Richard bound Gail's wrists with tape and took her into the garage to see the tied up children. Richard revealed his true intent, that he was going to kill all of them and himself in a murder suicide, so they would finally be rid of the world. Gail asked to kiss the children goodbye which Richard accepted, unaware that she used the opportunity to give Sarah a pair of nail clippers. Gail was gagged and put in the front seat next to Richard, where he started the exhaust to kill all of them. When Audrey arrived to help Gail, she heard the engine running in the garage and alerted Martin, Kevin and Tommy Harris, who were fixing a car at the garage. They forced the doors open and found Richard with the captive family. Richard then drove off and out of the street with his family in tow.
With Martin, Kevin Webster and Tommy Harris in hot pursuit, Richard drives towards the canal with the intent to drown all of them. Sarah manages to untie herself and David, and manages to free Gail's restraints. Despite their attempts to make Richard pull over, he manages to drive them into the canal, with his final words being that he loves them. They manage to escape the car with the aid of Kevin, Tommy and Martin, although Richard makes a futile attempt to hold onto Gail. Gail is also saved along with the rest of the children. Richard managed to escape from the car, but ended up drowning, although it is unknown if he was trying to escape or was too late to save himself. It was initially suspected Richard survived the incident, but the police managed to find his body. Gail and Audrey headed to the canal that same night as Gail was determined to get it over with, and she positively identified her husband's dead body. While Richard's body was zipped up in a body bag and taken away, Gail threw their rings in the canal, with the ordeal finally over.
At the end of March Richard's body was released by the coroner. Gail wanted Richard to have a small cremation with no fuss and no one in attendence, feeling he was not deserving of a send-off. She was the only one present at his cremation along with funeral director Archie. That same day a bench dedicated to Maxine was unveiled on the street, and when Gail returned she was told by Ashley that he didn't think she was responsible for Maxine's death, much to her relief.
Despite Richard's death, the memories of him would continue to haunt the Platt family for the rest of their lives. He would be frequently mentioned by them and other people who knew him.
In 2006 David began sending cards to his family addressed from Richard as part of a sick joke. This sent Gail over the edge where she had to start taking medication and drinking heavily. Several suspects included David himself, Gail's enemy Eileen Grimshaw, and Gail's boyfriend Phil Nail, the latter whom was writing a book on the Hillman case and David despised. Local loudmouth Les Battersby claimed that he had given Richard a ride in his cab, although this was clearly false. David was eventually exposed as the suspect, although Gail decided not to pursue the matter further as she knew David was still fragile over him nearly being killed by Richard.
In October 2007 David returned to the spot where Richard tried to kill him and his family, and drove into the canal in order to make his family believe he was trying to kill himself. This ruined Sarah's wedding day to Jason Grimshaw.
In 2013 David revealed to his wife Kylie that he had been suffering nightmares of Richard, showing that he still cast a dark shadow over the family even 10 years on after his death.
Despite Richard's misdeeds and his horrific crimes, sometimes David would sarcastically bring Richard up in a jokey way, especially when making fun of the ridiculous amount of ex-husbands Gail has. Although David would sometimes still blame for Gail letting Richard into their lives and trying to kill them, although these accusations lessened over the years as David got older.
In 2017, Richard's step granddaughter Bethany said how she heard of his victim Maxine Peacock when her and Craig Tinker were sat on Maxine's Bench.
In 2018, Gail was contacted by Richard through the use of a psychic medium, 15 years since his death. This medium was Rosemary Piper. She claimed that Richard had left a curse on Gail's family, hence the reason she has had so much bad luck since his demise. In June 2018, Gail wanted the curse of Hillman to be gone for good, so contacted Rosemary. Rosemary was later exposed as a fake, with Audrey Roberts ex-boyfriend Lewis Archer being the one feeding her the information on Richard.
- Brian Capron had previously appeared in the show in the 1980s as social worker Don Worthington.
- The Richard Hillman storyline was voted and featured in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Scariest Moments in 2003, ranking at 32nd place.
- In 2010 Brian Capron appeared in the Coronation Street DVD Spin-off Knight's Tale in which a boatman named Dickie strongly resembled Richard Hillman, causing discomfort to Norris Cole. A lot of humorous in-jokes were made, especially with Dickie's love for the water and that he had a cousin in Manchester, implying he is a possible relative of Richard.
- It seems very likely that Richard and Alma were cousins and he used this as part of his con to fleece her friends of money. A very small chance he was making it up but very unlikely. Richard seemed very knowledgeable about Alma, and said their mothers were sisters so it seems he was being truthful. Also when Richard's devious motives were revealed, the cousin connection was never disputed so it is safe to say they were cousins.
- Richard's story was depicted in a character biography book Norman Bates with a Briefcase: The story of Richard Hillman by Glenda Young, which also includes a foreword by Brian Capron.
- When Lewis Archer returned to Coronation Street in 2018 some viewers actually thought it was Richard Hillman back from the dead.
Appearances: 20 June 2001–14 March 2003
Birth: 20 December 1951
Death: 14 March 2003 (Age 51)
Cousins: Alma Baldwin