Saturday, 16 November 2013

How do you solve a problem like Gail?

On the heels of some excellent blogging and feedback over the past few days, it seems that one name crops up over and over again. Step forward Gail Potter Tilsley Tilsley Platt Hillman McIntyre.

There is something very wrong in her universe, aside from a son who looks like a pensioner, another who is psychotic, a never-to-be-seen-again daughter and a mother who manages to remain flighty in her dotage.


Admittedly I've never been one of Gail's greatest fans. As a kid, I observed her as some kind of permanently grinning scruff bag, schlepping across the cobbles in her tatty sheepskin coat. Teenage Gail really came into her own when she was nurtured by Elsie 'I've been there kid' Tanner and the worldly Suzie Birchall. Three very different women sharing a house and supporting each other. Not only did this relationship work but it worked well. This seemed to mark the end of Gail's golden era. Her marriage to numpty Brian and the never-ending battles with Mother Inferior Ivy both seemed to have a detrimental effect on her character. Gail became something of a young shrew. Only Brian's death gave her the freedom to move on and enter what was perhaps her imperial phase. Gail's collaboration at the café with the initially feckless Alma was a smart move and Mrs Platt formed a strong bond with her colleague.

Since Alma's dad demise though, Gail has been virtually friendless. Instead, the character became more inward-looking and her interest in her sons is unhealthy to say the least. The caring mum became overbearing, meddlesome and harsh. In recent years, Gail's personality seems to ricochet between twee and loony. Her ridiculous Mrs Mopp persona was probably supposed to be whimsical whereas in reality, she appears to be a village idiot in a tabard. If Gail is to survive, all of this has to stop.

How do we rescue Gail? Well firstly she needs to be surgically removed from number eight. Yes she can still be an involved parent and grandparent but she does not need to be at the centre of their lives. Gail needs to move out into a flat of her own. She's spent her entire adult life as wife, mother and grandmother. Now it's time to let her breathe a little.

Gail also needs a friend. Okay, so it isn't going to be Eileen or Deirdre. The latter has always been a puzzle, especially back in the 1980s when both women were bringing up kids at the same time yet never even spoke to each other. Gail needs someone to have a laugh with in her middle years. Bring back Tricia Hopkins! Let's have Gail trawling social media sites and meeting up with Suzie again. Anything to get her involved with life outside number eight. Give her a hobby, an interesting job but maybe not a new man. Some things are best left alone.

In her mid-fifties and single, Gail should be enjoying her family but not in such a dominant way. She should be there to offer wise words when necessary but other than that, Gail should be celebrating her life. If the character is to survive she needs to show a bit more spirit. What we don't need is the slightly loopy, slightly little-girl-lost hybrid that Gail has become.

Cometh the hour, cometh the relatively new producer. It's down to you Mr Blackburn!

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19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Over the years, Gail & Sally have had a sporadic friendship. Gail recently stayed at Sally's when things got out of hand at home. It seems like they could use each other's counsel and support again now. I'm personally offended that both of them have been written to appear foolish and desperate in their middle years. They are both too intelligent to be behaving so ridiculously. Surely the writers can give them more a more accurate portrayal of middle-aged women than they have done recently. They're both capable of furthering their education if necessary and running a successful business. Together they'd be a force to be reckoned with. They could even take over "Barlow's Buys" after Tracy alienates the clientele & runs it into the ground.

Mary said...

Good post David and hopefully Mr. Blackburn will take heed. I have heard over the years that CS women are suppose to be strong. Well most of the time they seem to me to be shrews. Michelle and Liz are good examples of that at the moment. Or they are demeaning their men and acting like totally idiots.

Please someone do something with Gail. Get this poor woman a life.

Humpty Dumpty said...

The only things that would stop Gail meddling in her family's affairs would be either a man - No, not again! - or ill health. I vote for the latter. Not a big serious illness but something that prevented her from working and child caring for a while. A slipped disc, maybe, so that she can reflect on how she needs to reinvent herself. Determined to keep fit and given her love of power walking, could she train as a walk leader, or in one of the allied professions that don't require huge training? She really does need to get her own place and make new friends.

bbhilda said...

I agree with every word David, especially the bit about bringing back Tricia Hopkins. She could be in the same boat, needing to free herself from the trials of her family, kindred spirits once again.

They could do a stock take together of their lives, and resolve to do more with it while they still can.

She no longer owns No. 8, so they could easily find a place together, and start having fun. Fun that doesn't involve men, other than on a casual basis. They could take night classes, start an e-bay business, or a shopping service. The possibilities are endless.

Unknown said...

Yes, bring back Tricia Hopkins. I'm old enough to remember it's because of Tricia we have Gail, and I loved their antics way back in the day.

Anonymous said...

I would love for Tricia to return because I have never seen her except via Clasic Corrie dvds! What if Gail discovered she had developed multiple sclerosis? I don't recall MS ever being mentioned before on the programme. Great post! Cheers! Eden x

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Gail have a complete mental breakdown in Nick's loo and have to go for treatment - diagnosed with bi-polar or OCDC. It would be interesting to show how this would be handled and if Gail would even survive it. She needs to get back to being friends with her mum before anything else.

Gayle Stocker said...

I like to see Gail end up working at Roys rolls and after Harleys departure may be go into partnership with Roy like she did in the old days with Alma and become the person she use to be which was a business woman and a purpose besides her family in life. I would love to see her in a more savvy roll but with fun in her new found self and leave the family problems to the kids to fix and bring back her daughter and granddaughter and give her a new hair cut it needs to be thinned out and maybe a chin implant written into the story lines of the new Gail and mend fences with her foes. I can see Eileen, Deirdre and Gail having fun together with a lot of laughs

abbyk said...

Hey, now that Mandy's gone, who is doing the cooking at the Rovers? Yeah, they're totally overstaffed, but someone has to make the hotpot. Maybe Gail's new life away could start there.

I agree with you, David. As a 50-ish woman, the midlife street gang (Liz, Eileen, Gail & Sally) appear as if they as imagined by their kids, almost completely detached from reality. How long has Gail needed a job, 3, 4, 5 years? Has she gone on any interviews? Been to the job center? Retrained, even on her own? Had money worries, besides Lewis? Dealt with rejection and depression? Started a hobby? Gotten fat? In shape? Any of those things would be expected, and would make fine stories. Instead we got an aging bimbo, without a purpose and nothing better to do than meddle. Blech! (And the rest of them aren't much better off.)

My new storyline would involve Sophie tutoring Gail on updated computer skills. Gail gets a job away, makes some real cash. Sophie also gains purpose, and finds a path out of Dev's shop. Kevin makes a bargain to forgive part of her debt if she gets a degree.

njblas said...

Great post David. The situation you mentioned with Gail and Deirdre also had me intrigued. As you said, back in the 80s they lived parallel lives which never seemed to intersect. There was a lengthy spell where the two of them never appeared together, even in a Rovers scene. In more recent years their storylines have crossed over from time to time, yet they mainly stay at arms' length from each other. A couple of years ago Deirdre dropped in to Gail's and tried to convince her to have a birthday party. It seemed to come out of nowhere and was somewhat unconvincing. Gail has also never had any sort of connection or friendship with Liz McDonald. Her friendship with Sally seems only to resurface these days when one of them has a secret to confide in the other. She does need a real friend though, to help her break away from her repetitive family problems once in a while...

Anonymous said...

When all is said and done Gail doesn't have hardly any friends because she is so close to her mother. This often happens when mother and daughter are close in age even though they are so different in character. Gail could do with a friend, I would love Suzie to resurface but I understand the actress suffers from ill health. Has Dennis and Gail ever reminisced about their mutual love of Elsie? Could they not become friends?! Afterall Dennis needs a bit of a storyline shove too and it would be interesting to see Gail have a friendship with a man that is not romantic.- Micky

Kathy Jones said...

Speaking as Tricia, I would love to return. I would at the drop of a hat, unfortunately it looks like no one wears hats these days.
I'd sort Gail out for you!
As it is with many of the story lines, new or old characters appear or reappear as a strong character that is soon broken down after a year or two.
Thank you for all the great comments though, does a girls ego good. Haha. ;-)
Kathy.x

Frosty the Snowman said...

I personally cannot stand Gail, find her embarrasing and rather irritating viewing and would be quite happy if she were killed off with more direction on Kylie and David.

70sStreetFan said...

Kind of disagree with most of the comments in that I feel Gail remains a cornerstone character and works well in her current role. In fact she seems a more important character than Deirdre who appears far less frequently(even before the disappearance of Ken)and whose only function these days seems to be apologist in chief for Tracy. That and her increasingly unconvincing behaviour as some sort of Mad Auntie when she ventures outside No.1. Gail,by contrast,seems a more real and consistent character(apart from that brief spell when she started at the Bistro. The Platt-Tilsley family are the biggest and,apart from the Barlows,the longest running. I think it's vital that Gail remains there as the matriarch- a sort of latter day Ivy.

Anonymous said...

You have a typo at the beginning of the 4th paragraph. Took me a while to work out you meant sad. I was thinking, Alma didn't have a dad that I remember. The description of Gail's offspring in the first paragraph made me laugh out loud though.

It would be really nice to see Sally and Gail join forces and do something with their lives independent of men and family.

Anonymous said...

Tricia was one of the sexiest women ever to be in Corrie. Would love to see her back. She is also a lovely person in real life.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that Kathy Jones has commented on here!!! Has nobody else noticed?!!!! Is that the real Kathy Jones?! If so thats so brilliant!!!- Micky

Flaming Nora said...

Yes, it's the real Kathy Jones who is on twitter and I let her know about this fabulous post. She is a lovely woman :-)

maggie muggins said...

Great post, David! Sums up what many of us have been saying for so long! Helen Worth was on the Paul O'Grady Show recently, and said that Gail will continue to "love her sons no matter what they do". Oh dear. Can she do it from her own little flat?

I missed The Tricia Hopkins years, but it sounds like a good idea for Gail if she came back! So nice to see that Kathy Jones came on here and left a nice comment. I'll have to see if there are some YouTube clips of the Tricia/Gail years.

I like the idea of Gail at Roy's Rolls too. Maybe even as a partner. There could be some intriguing storylines there as Roy (sniff) grieves for Hayley.

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