In a climax to a dramatic week of post-watershed episodes on Friday 31st May, the beleaguered builder was confirmed as the culprit responsible not only for Rana’s death, but also for pushing Carla Connor (Alison King) to a psychotic breakdown as she became consumed with guilt believing she was to blame for not getting the roof fixed.
Earlier in the week desperate Gary left a message on girlfriend Sarah Platt’s (Tina O’Brien) phone while bound and gagged, having been abducted by murderous loan shark Rick Neelan (Greg Wood) – but the scene cut before viewers could hear exactly what Gary had to say.
Tonight’s episode saw Gary retrieve Sarah’s phone from Carla, who had stolen a number of mobiles in the grip of her paranoia, and listen back to the voicemail in which he confessed to being the Underworld saboteur – before deleting the message to cover his tracks.
The original line-up of saboteur suspects had been whittled down from six to three, with Gary alongside Robert Preston (Tristan Gemmill) and Nick Tilsley (Ben Price).
In the coming weeks Gary will attempt to carry on as normal, hiding his huge secret while Nick becomes prime suspect. The wild Windass will also be drawn further into rogue Rick’s murky money-lending world. So how does North feel about his alter ego embarking on the path to becoming Corrie’s next big villain?
Let’s ask him…
How long have you known Gary was to blame for the factory collapse? I found out a good few months ago, it’s been hard keeping it under wraps for so long but helpful that Gary’s been off the radar which didn’t make him the number one suspect. His reaction when Sarah asked him about it was maybe a slight signpost to his guilt. If you watch it back now you will see subtle clues that it was him.
What was Gary’s motivation to do this? He was desperate for work. He and Sarah were sleeping on air beds at the Platts, Carla was sitting on the fact that the factory roof needed fixing – it wasn’t going to fall down any time soon but Gary thought if he could speed up that process he’d force her into getting the work done sooner. He damaged the roof a bit more, intending to hurry things along, but it wouldn’t have come down if Gina and Sally hadn’t been up on it protesting.
Gary didn’t expect anyone to be in the building at the weekend when he tampered with it and he certainly never intended for anyone to get hurt. But like always with Gary, he does something in the heat of the moment and is left paying the price.
How did he feel when he heard that Rana had died? Shocked and devastated, then left trying to hide his guilt. Gary never set out to hurt anyone, he just wanted a better life for him and Sarah, but as Sarah has distanced herself from Gary it looks like it was all for nothing. The guilt has weighed him down but Gary comes out fighting. Now he’s got more to worry about with Rick – if Gary thought things were bad after the factory collapse, then life is about to get a whole lot worse! There’s lots more to come.
Will we see a return to the Gary we knew when he was first in the show? Gary’s darker, edgier side has always been there. In the beginning he was very hot-headed and always getting into trouble, but then he joined the army which straightened him out a bit. But Gary’s always been unpredictable and after suffering with PTSD that part of his personality has started to rear its head again. We’ve seen it when he tackled Phelan, we’ve seen it through his feud with Seb and we’re going to see a very different Gary over the coming months.
Is Gary the next big villain on the cobbles? He’s not a villain as such in the guise of Phelan, but he’s definitely on the wrong side of the law. Gary suddenly has a lot more to contend with, he’s fighting for survival. Everything he’s done was for Sarah so when she turns his back on him he’s got nothing to lose which makes him much more dangerous. Gary is not evil, he’s done a very bad thing and has to live with it for the rest of his life, but is he prepared to go to jail for it? Maybe not, and now he’s got Rick on his back we’ll see Gary come out fighting. He makes rash decisions and then is forced down a path of no return.
Are you worried Gary will have to pay the price for his crimes, like all soap baddies? It did cross my mind but as an actor you have to relish being given these storylines, and I’m so excited to see what they’re going to throw at me. I’ve been here for over 10 years now and this is the most exciting period. Gary has no intention of being caught for a long time yet and he won’t go down without a fight.The stakes are high now and he’s got nothing to lose. Bring it on, I say!