Who is Stephen Reid? History explained as he returns to Coronation Street
All you need to know about Audrey's son, who returns to screens this week.
There's a blast from the past on the way in Coronation Street, as Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls) is reunited with her son Stephen Reid. His comeback is tied up in the dramatic ongoing storyline in which an ailing Audrey refuses to acknowledge her situation.
It's been several years since fans last saw Stephen, so you'd be forgiven for wondering just where he's been and what his backstory is! Luckily, RadioTimes.com has compiled this handy guide to refresh your memory or, if you've never seen the character on-screen, to simply reveal all you need to know on Stephen as he makes his way back to Weatherfield...
Who is Stephen Reid?
As mentioned above, Stephen is the son of Coronation Street mainstay Audrey Roberts. Audrey gave birth to Stephen when she was just 16 years old, and her father insisted she give him up for adoption at the time. So a man named Malcolm Reid (Shane Rimmer) who was a neighbour and old boyfriend of Audrey's, adopted the little boy and eventually emigrated to Canada.
In early 1996, Stephen arrived in Weatherfield, hoping to get to know his biological mother. He was also there to do a business deal with original factory boss Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs); and Mike's wife Alma, who was also best friends with Audrey, developed feelings for Stephen. But he wasn't interested in her, and headed back to Canada as soon as his work matters were resolved.
After this exit, Stephen's residence became something of an escape route for his relatives. Nephew Nick Tilsley (then played by Adam Rickitt) went to stay with Stephen in Canada for a number of months when his behaviour began to spiral at home. A few years later, when Nick's teenage marriage to Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) broke down, Stephen offered him a job and he took him up on the offer. Audrey and Stephen's half-sister Gail Rodwell (Helen Worth) have also paid off-screen visits over the years, but Stephen wasn't seen again until 2007.
In the midst of expanding his business in Italy, Stephen invited youngest nephew David Platt (Jack P Shepherd) to join him in Italy, and David was thrilled. But his sister, and Stephen's niece Sarah (Tina O'Brien) was jealous and planted ecstasy tablets in David's work station at Audrey's salon. Stephen later leaves without David, and Sarah and her daughter Bethany joined him in Italy soon after. In 2015, viewers heard that Stephen sacked Sarah from his company when she failed to send over an urgent document, and she and Bethany moved back to Coronation Street.
Why is Stephen back in Coronation Street?
It was previously reported that Stephen would be back as part of a long term storyline, which suggests that he will be closely linked to Audrey's story in the coming weeks. However, time will tell whether Stephen has other reasons for sticking around. Actor Todd Boyce is reprising his role for the first time in 15 years.
In the lead up to Stephen's arrival, Gail and Sarah are worried over Audrey's constant drinking. When she insists on going back to work at the barbers, she cracks open a bottle of wine and ends up falling over thanks to Gail's Thai elephant ornament. Although she seems to be fine, Audrey later defiantly tells her family she's moving back to her own house, fed up with their nagging. Alone at the salon, she drunkenly staggers into the motorbike, which falls and knocks her over as she cries out for help.
Laying on the floor all night, Audrey is finally rescued when a passing Brian Packham (Peter Gunn) and Elaine Jones (Paula Wilcox) hear her cries. Just as Brian rushes for help, Stephen emerges from a taxi. He breaks down the door of the barbers and is shocked by his mother's state. Their oblivious family have called a meeting to discuss Audrey's drinking, but Stephen vents his fury at them for not noticing that she was missing all night.
It remains to be seen how the big reunion will go for Stephen as chaos ensues around him. Is he back for good? Tune in to find out!
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