The plot thickens in Coronation Street after the revelation that Geoff Metcalfe (Ian Bartholomew)’s ex Elaine Jones (Paula Wilcox) is actually the biological mother of his son Tim Metcalfe (Joe Duttine), exploding a shocking family secret that will have huge repercussions.
Having made contact with jailed Yasmeen Metcalfe (Shelley King) and telling her she too was once a victim of cruel Geoff’s abuse, the full extent of Elaine’s link to Mr Metcalfe confirmed she is Tim’s real mum and was forced to leave her baby behind when she fled her toxic marriage all those years ago, even changing her name to stay hidden from her horrid husband.
Tim – and viewers – believe his mum was a woman called Tessa who died a few years back, so understandably this twist has has thrown up more questions for stunned fans. Allow RadioTimes.com to take you back almost 50 years to unpick Geoff’s decades of deceit…
1971: Geoff marries Philippa
A fresh-faced 21-year-old Geoff did the decent thing (for once) and tied the knot with girlfriend Philippa when she fell unexpectedly pregnant, but the rushed relationship was doomed as the groom’s gruesome true colours emerged. “Geoff became so scary,” says Wilcox. “I think maybe we haven’t seen how scary he can be up to now, although it’s pretty frightening and very real what he did to Yasmeen.”
1972: Tim is born
In January 1972 Philippa gave birth to a bouncing baby boy, just as the marriage went into meltdown as Geoff became increasingly controlling and psychologically manipulative towards his wife. Cheating on her with best friend Tessa, Geoff’s bullying destroyed Philippa’s self-esteem and she desperately tried to escape. “It was terrifying for Elaine to have a baby, as well as herself, in danger,” continues Wilcox. “Basically, she had to save herself.”
1973: Geoff threatens to kill Philippa, she flees and changes her name to Elaine
Fearing, as Yasmeen would years later, her life was in danger if she stayed with her spouse, scared Philippa left but was stopped from taking Tim. Geoff threatened to kill her if she tried to flee with their son and shut her out when she tried to remain a part of Tim’s life. Horrified when Tessa took Geoff’s side, and believed his lies that Philippa was an unfit mother and he had been a victim of her bad behaviour, Philippa changed her name by deed poll to Elaine Jones so her ex could never find her.
“She was devoted to her baby, there’s no doubt about it,” defends Wilcox. “But she felt in mortal danger. She got out, made a new life and I imagine got help. But her little boy was still out there somewhere and she never knew whether he was safe or in danger, and she couldn’t find him because Geoff made sure of it.”
1974: Geoff marries Tessa and lies Philippa has died
Geoff officially divorced Philippa but lied to everyone she died of breast cancer. Swiftly marrying Tessa, the couple moved to Wales for a fresh start and pretended Tess was Tim’s biological mother. With no memory of Philippa, toddler Tim was none the wiser.
2004: Tessa dies
Tim grew up believing Tessa was his mother. Tim endured some dark times as an adult, getting in trouble with the law and giving daughter Faye up for adoption before reconnecting with her years later when he’d cleaned up his act. Settled on the street with wife Sally, Tim was reunited with Geoff after some years of estrangement in 2018. Geoff was introduced as a lovable, jovial, buffoonish hospital radio DJ and magician – the life and soul of the party. Little did we know… “Geoff has lied for years to his son and concocted this story about someone else being his mother,” says Bartholomew. “He never imagined she would resurface and when Elaine comes back into his life it throws him completely.”
2019: Geoff marries Yasmeen
After a whirlwind courtship, Geoff spontaneously tied the knot with lonely Yasmeen Nazir while on holiday in Las Vegas, much to the surprise of both families. Geoff insidiously wormed his way into Yasmeen’s life, subtly making her reliant on him and taking control of every aspect of her life, turning her from a confident, independent woman to a scared victim of coercive bullying isolated from everyone else in her life apart from him. Covering his tracks and maintaining the nice guy facade to the outside world, only Yasmeen’s granddaughter Alya Nazir was suspicious of Geoff and vowed to expose his cruel treatment of her relative, and even dug for dirt in his past.
2020: Yasmeen jailed for trying to kill Geoff, Elaine returns
After months of coercive abuse and humiliation of Geoff cheating with prostitutes, traumatised Yasmeen suffered a breakdown – fearing for her life she was driven to attack her husband with a smashed wine bottle, stabbing him in the neck. Geoff survived but painted his wife as an unstable, violent alcoholic and she was charged with attempted murder and held on remand. The community was divided as to who to believe, with Sally taking Yasmeen’s side much to Tim’s horror who stuck by his father. Then Elaine showed up, having read about the case in the news – how will Geoff react to her arrival, and what will Tim do if he learns his life is built on a lie?
“If you tell yourself a story enough times you start to believe it,” sighs Bartholomew.” You can change your history by changing the narrative – it makes it sound better for you if you start believing that version of events yourself and your story becomes the truth. So Geoff denies Elaine’s claims, and thinks it’s such an extreme story that no one will think it’s true. If Tim finds out the extent of his dad’s lies, it will be a real kick in the gut.”