The past comes back to haunt Gary Windass (Mikey North) in Coronation Street this summer when the bad boy’s murderous secret threatens to be exposed as he prepares to tie the knot with Maria Connor (Samia Longchambon), which producer Iain MacLeod promises will be “explosive”.
Previewing Corrie’s upcoming storylines in a candid interview, the soap boss confirmed suspicion will swirl around the bullying builder as he tries to help vulnerable teen Kelly Neelan, who’s dad Rick Neelan he murdered last year after he threatened to expose his part in the factory collapse.
“Gary has done some dastardly things but he still has a good heart,” revealed MacLeod. “When troubled Kelly turned up and her mother proved to be somewhat feckless and absent, Gary feels he caused her problems and essentially ruined this kid’s life. His selfless gene kicks bak in and he tries to help her out.
“His interest in Kelly arouses a degree of suspicion among his enemies, and when they realise she’s Rick’s kid those suspicions got into overdrive. That precipitates a massive explosion in Gary, Sarah Barlow and Adam Barlow’s lives in the run-up to Gary’s wedding to Maria, which goes out later this summer.”
Unlike most villainous characters, Gary has so far managed to escape justice for his numerous crimes – he also caused the Christmas siege which killed Robert Preston and gave Shona Platt amnesia – but MacLeod says there are no plans to axe the character and bring his story to an end just yet.
“I’m in no hurry to press the ejector seat on such a fascinating and interesting story,” he smiles. “Mikey is fantastic and I’ve loved Gary’s complicated, messed-up evolution from being a scally to trying to become a family man with Sarah, then losing her and his life imploding before returning to the dark side he emerged from back to his criminal roots. The end is not nigh for Gary Windass!”
There is definitely unfinished business with old flame Sarah, despite her having wed Adam earlier this year, and MacLeod reminds us Gary has something big on his ex he may choose to use down the line…
“Gary is aware of Sarah’s role in murdering Callum Logan five years ago, and if she causes him problems he has that up his sleeve. That is certainly a part of what we are planning which is currently at script stage. Gary is not the only one to have nefariously disposed of a body!
“There are complicated feelings between Sarah and Gary,” he continues. “They are irretrievably stuck in each others’ orbits. Her hatred of him masks another layer of feelings beneath the surface. She loves Adam, and Gary loves Maria, but I don’t think they will ever really get over each other. There is also a resentment of Sarah as his downfall was her fault in a way, she doesn’t know he killed Rick to protect her but Gary carries that every day.
“The massive secret of what Gary did to Rick will be a large component of what plays out in the show over the rest of this year.”