(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog December 2012, reposted to this blog with permission.)
Gail is one of those enduring Coronation Street characters. From my calculations Helen Worth has now played Gail Potter/Tilsley/Tilsley/Platt/Hillman/McIntyre for over 38 years, making her one of Corrie's longest serving cast members.
Pretty much from the off she has been involved in high profile storylines which is quite amazing given that she was really only introduced as a friend to Tricia Hopkins.
I loved the teenage Gail of the 1970s, as one of Elsie Tanner's lodgers along with the wonderful Suzie Birchall. This was my favourite of Gail's incarnations - for me it was a shame when she was married off to the truly dreadful Brian Tilsley (twice!). Our Brian was like a badly dressed polyester plank of wood for most of the late 70s and early 80s.
I did, however, relish the scenes when Gail stood up against Brian's domineering mother, Ivy. Ivy always thought she knew best for "them kiddies" and never knew when to button it where Gail was concerned. I loved their ongoing battles, always siding with Gail. My particular favourite out of all their conflicts was when Gail took up with young Martin Platt - Ivy's twisted facial reactions were an absolute picture! I loved Gail's onscreen relationship with her flighty mother Audrey. The writers gradually mellowed Audrey over time into the caring, reliable matriarch we know today, however from the outset you could see how strained the pair had been.
For many years Gail also had a great partnership with Alma Sedgwick/Baldwin. I adored their scenes together behind the counter at Jim's Cafe. Throw in the occasional one-liner from the glorious Phyllis Pearce and you have Corrie heaven as far as I'm concerned. Gail and Alma were always there for each other through various heartaches and traumas, although they also managed a great deal of comedy. Helen Worth, Amanda Barrie and Sue Nicholls always had great chemistry in their scenes together.
I would rather gloss over Gail's countless relationships with men, they never worked out well. Her character has always been at it's worst and most gullible when taken in by another dubious article, whether it be the dastardly Richard Hillman or the pathetic Joe McIntyre. Gail's children are also hardly a credit to her - Nick(y) appears to have aged 10 years since coming back to the Street with his third face; thank goodness Sarah-Lou has stayed put in Italy, if only so we don't have to listen to Gail wail Sarah-Lou at every cut and turn. And as for Demon David, I'd have sent him to live with Martin in Liverpool long ago.
Gail is one of those wonderful characters that really only Corrie can give us. Like Deirdre we have seen Gail grow up and mature on screen from a daft kid trying to clean Elsie's chimney to the nagging, Ivy Tilsley inspired matriarch we see today. It's lovely to see this natural progression and makes Corrie more true to real life. It is brilliant to see Gail turning into the one person she spent so much time fighting against. In many ways Gail is now playing the fretting mother while Audrey is the more fun-loving younger character.
So where do we see Gail's character going in 2013? At the moment she is in gullible man mode, falling for the scheming Lewis Archer. This story will obviously be coming to a head soon, leaving Gail on her uppers yet again.
Personally I would like Gail to get out of her current rut and make something of herself. She was once a business woman remember. I'm fed up with her current position, namely cleaning Nick(y)'s toilets at the Bistro. Let's have Gail start her own business in the new year and make a name for herself for the right reasons for a change! I would love the writers to remember how close Gail and Sally were at one time - a storyline for these two would be great. I have three further requests for Gail in 2013, so listen up writers:
1. Let's have Gail's gay dad Ted Page come back. He was terrific and through Ted, we saw a different side to Gail.
2. Please can we have more comedy scenes between Helen Worth and Sue Nicholls? Their power walking scenes were Corrie gold!
3. FInally, please, please, please can we have a rematch of Gail and Eileen fighting on the cobbles? There must be more mileage in their feud!
What do you think?
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