Coronation Street’s Gary Windass is going to take on a job so dangerous he has to prepare a will in advance in case he’s killed.
The former soldier is going to put his life on the line when he accepts a job offer working security in the Ukraine without realising the full extent of what he’s going to have to do.
But Gary feels he has no choice but to take it on after he causes £10,000 worth of damage on a building job and doesn’t have the insurance to cover the cost of the damage.
And with Sarah Platt pressuring him to buy a flat with her, Gary’s financial worries are mounting by the minute.
Here Mikey North, who plays Gary, reveals why his character is putting himself in serious danger…
Talk us through how Gary got his new job…
He bumps into his friend that offers him this job, it’s dangerous and he has no intention of doing it, it’s not an option really but then things start to happen that maybe change his mind slightly. He’s realising Sarah wants to buy a house so he’s pressured into that and he realises he can’t afford it but he goes along with it and says he’ll go view it but there’s no way he can do it, he knows that.
What was the problem with Gary’s insurance and what are the consequences?
He gets a job on the building site and he doesn’t take out the right insurance, he just assumes that he’s covered. He just assumes, because normally in other jobs he is covered by his employer, but because he is working at someone’s house, he had to have his own insurance. He falls off the roof and causes thousands of pounds worth of damage.
How does he end up taking this risky new security job?
He goes in his wallet and the business card is there for Joe who is the contact in Ukraine. So there’s desperation, absolutely, it’s kind of last resort because we’re talking about needing thousands it’s not just a few hundred quid, he’s ten grand in debt to the guy that he owes for the damage, and coupled with the two families he’s looking after he’s got four or five people to consider here.
Gary needs to have a will in place for this new job, what is going through his head?
He doesn’t really know what he’s going to do and that’s the problem. He doesn’t have much idea of what it is and that’s the scary thing, he’s used to dealing with violent situations, he’s kind of done all that, it’s more the unknown of what it’s going to be like. When Gary first agrees to do it he doesn’t really realise how risky it will be until Joe says can you write a will before you go. He’s thinks he is in too deep, he can’t back out now so he’s got to do it, and he just goes ahead with it because he’s just so desperate to pay off the ten grand he owes that guy. It will take him a year to earn that probably, whereas over there he can earn that in a week.
This story has a similar ring to when Owen and Gary wound up in trouble with Phelan. And Gary is a good guy, so why do you think he’s a magnet for these sorts of situations?
Yeah, I think he has bad luck but I think some of that is down to his naivety in certain situations, he tries to be too nice sometimes and think of other people. Sometimes he tries to help other people which often causes his problems. What’s nice about this is, it’s tapping into the old Gary. I have done a few scenes recently where I do feel like I’m tapping in to where I first started. It’s a kind of regression back to him, more so when he’s going to come back from this job and it’s been interesting to play for that kind of reason as it’s Gary going back to what he was like when he first joined the show which is great.
Why is Gary unable to be honest with Sarah about the mess he’s in financially?
Obviously he doesn’t tell her to protect her, but he also assumes that if she knows he wouldn’t be able to go and he doesn’t want her to worry so that’s why he doesn’t tell her so he has to try and keep it to himself by saying that he’s going to Hamburg.
How important is him and Sarah having their own place together and being a family?
I think Gary wants to be able to provide for his family and settle down and have a straightforward life where money isn’t a problem. He doesn’t have a particular ambition, he isn’t someone who wants to conquer the world. He just wants to be someone who can provide for his family, not have to scrape and have somewhere to live – he’s never had his own place to live as daft as it sounds, he’s always lived with Izzy or lived at home. He’s 30 now and he’s not had his own place to live somewhere. He wants get a house for him and Sarah and the kids and live happily ever after but things aren’t as straightforward as that.
As we know, Gary had to come out of the army for reasons out of his control, do you think part of him is maybe a little intrigued about doing something which is a bit more adventurous?
Yeah, I think he has unfinished business with doing that as well. Obviously his stay in Afghanistan was cut short, maybe he’s got some things he needs to put to bed with himself you know he had to come home earlier than he wanted to because of Quinny dying and that kind of sent him off the rails so I think he has some unfinished business with himself to prove that he can do this and he can be a man.
For someone with PTSD, if you were Gary’s mate, what advice would you give him?
I would absolutely advise this was the wrong thing. I think Izzy or Alya warns him is this the right thing to be doing, you’ve had PTSD, surely there couldn’t be a worse job for you to be doing?
How significant do you feel Gary’s PTSD is?
All these things about Gary being the little rogue and the PTSD is kind of the nucleus of what character he was when we first started this ten years ago. So what it’s enabling me to do is to tap back into the reason why he first started the show, it makes a character quite rounded.
Are you enjoying the part of Gary’s character which is being able to meet other people outside of Weatherfield that we haven’t seen before?
Yeah, it’s been my favourite six months to shoot, it’s been great. I kind of feel like it’s getting back to the gritty nature of Gary again, it’s getting into more what he’s really about deep down, it ties back to it how he came into it which can easily be forgotten because it’s been so long as he was such a Rogue and a bad lad when he came in, and we’ve seen him grow up.
It comes across in the scripts because when he came in he behaved badly and although he’s grown up you’ve got to remember deep down he is that same person and what this is enabling me to do is bring it out – there’s still that angry teenager deep down and that’s what is starting to come out but it’s with heart.
Are Gary and Sarah the real deal?
I think and hope so, yeah, from a personal point of view and from a character point of view. I love working with Tina and I think the characters marry up great and we gel well. It seems to work well and it feels real, there is a nice relationship there
Their relationship has not been without problems since day one, did you enjoy being involved in the Nathan story?
Yeah that was more Gary being the hero and showing a different side. It’s him being a hero in a different way.
Can you give us any hints on how bad things might get for him?
Yeah, he’s going to come back a bit troubled and things are going to happen out there that he’s not going to let on to anyone to start with even with Sarah. The audience will see what is going on. Then things will gradually keep getting worse, he keeps coming back with horror stories and keeps building it up.