Ever since Gary Windass swapped the cobbles of Coronation Street for a lucrative security contract in the Ukraine, he’s been a man on the edge. Returning from his dangerous new job abroad, the former builder’s mate was clearly haunted by the violence he was exposed to, but has so far tried to deal with it himself – with deeply unsuccessful results.
This week the pressure gets too much for our Gary and with the trauma of his job affecting his legendary temper, he flips out in the Rovers, rows with girlfriend Sarah Platt – and ends up finding solace in the arms of Nicola Rubenstein when the naughty pair start kissing passionately back at her place.
We caught up with Corrie star Mikey North to talk about Gary’s meltdown, and whether he thinks he’d really cheat on Sarah with the daughter of his arch-enemy, Pat Phelan.
Is Gary’s dangerous job in the Ukraine starting to take its toll?
I think it’s getting gradually worse, it was clear to see how bad it was from the bruises last time he came home, but you get the impression more things have happened this time round. Fresh injuries are appearing from whatever he’s been up to and he’s clearly troubled.
Has he managed to convince Sarah everything is fine?
She’s probably a bit wary because she knows what’s at stake and it’s a risky job he’s doing but on the whole he has managed to keep it from her. No one really knows what he’s doing and how dangerous it is.
But he can’t keep it from his mum Anna…
He can’t no, he’s brought some presents back for Faye and as he bends over to fetch them from the bag his shirt rides up and his mum spots the injuries on his back. There’s a lot of bruising and so Anna flies of the handle and questions him. Gary comes clean for the first time about what he’s doing, but on the premise that she keeps her mouth shut and says nothing to Sarah.
So it’s not putting him off carrying on with the work?
I think he’d like to call it a day but it’s hard to go back now he’s seen the money you can make. I think his long term plan is to get enough cash for a house and then he can move out of Izzy’s to live with Sarah, then then he’ll stop. But things will get more dangerous as he’s tempted back for ‘one more job’, and I think the inevitable is going to happen…
What happens this week in the Rovers when Gary loses his temper?
He is on edge the whole time, he snaps at Craig earlier that day, then he has a go at Tyrone and Kirk in the pub. Sarah tells him to calm down but he flies off the handle and just loses it. He’s really rude to her and storms off.
Why is he behaving like this?
It’s the PTSD rearing its head from when he was in Afghanistan. That’s how I have tried to play it, him being very volatile and wanting to start on every lad that gets in his face. I think the pressures from this work are getting to him and brining a lot of demons back to the fore that he’s worked hard to overcome.
After clashing with Sarah, Gary again finds himself with Nicola and goes back to hers for a drink. Why has he changed his mind about confiding in her?
She’s just happens to be there at the right time. Nicola is the only person he’s told exactly what happened in the Ukraine and what he had to do, which is what has triggered all of this, so that is probably one of the reasons that he feels an attachment to her. When he’s in the ginnel after he storms out of the Rovers following his argument with Sarah, Nicola finds him bleeding and says she will sort out his injury.
They have a few drinks and one thing leads to another, will he cheat on Sarah?
It’s a tricky one. He does love Sarah and they are so good together, but in the heat of the moment he isn’t thinking clearly. This isn’t the same Gary we knew before he went to the Ukraine, this is someone else and I think he’s gone a bit crazy. His judgment is clouded by drink, he’s just had a row with Sarah and he’s not thinking straight…
How does Gary feel when he goes home?
He feels awful that he’s confided in another woman again and not Sarah, especially with her begin Pat Phelan’s daughter of all people. He goes back to Sarah’s house and while he doesn’t come clean about Nicola, he does finally open up about what happened while he was away, how dangerous it really is and the fact he’s been hiding the truth from her.
Are you enjoying playing this side to Gary?
I love it. For me, this storyline ties back in with the old Gary, which is why I joined the show in the first place, to play that volatile guy. But I think now that you’ve seen a nicer side to him the audience are more sympathetic. He’s not just the violent thug he once was, he has a child, he has responsibilities, we’ve seen him be there for both Sarah and Bethany.
Do you think the fans want Gary and Sarah to have a happy ending?
It seems they do yes, just picking up on what people have been saying they seem to be a popular couple – so hopefully it’s not the end for them and Gary doesn’t risk his relationship over Nicola…
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