Audrey Roberts (née Potter) is the mother of Gail Rodwell and Stephen Reid, grandmother of Nick Tilsley, Sarah Platt and David Platt, and the owner of Audrey's Salon in Coronation Street. She was the third wife and eventual widow of ex councillor and shopkeeper Alf Roberts.
Born in 1940, Audrey had responsibility thrust upon her at a young age, giving birth to her firstborn Stephen at fifteen and Gail two years later. The children had different fathers, neither of whom took a role in their upbringing. While Stephen was adopted by the Reids and grew up in Canada, Audrey raised Gail herself though Gail often played second fiddle to her mother's social life.
After many years dating superficial men who cheated on her, Audrey sought someone more reliable and married Alf in 1985. Alf thought he'd gained an extra pair of hands at the Corner Shop but Audrey's main occupation was convincing her penny-pinching husband to part with his hard-earned cash. She also enjoyed the perks of Alf's position as councillor and Mayor of Weatherfield, serving as his Mayoress in the latter role. Alf died from a heart attack on New Year's Day 1999 during Audrey's grandson Nick Tilsley's eighteenth birthday party.
Audrey was later elected to the Council herself in 1998. She stood down in 2001 when her best friend Alma Halliwell contracted terminal cancer. In 1998, she bought the Coronation Street salon from Fiona Middleton, and she has managed it ever since. Audrey remains a constant presence in Gail's life and is often critical of her choice in men, particularly Richard Hillman who tried to get hold of Audrey's assets by convincing everyone she had dementia and plotting to kill her in 2002. Audrey currently lives alone at 5 Grasmere Drive in Oakhill.
1940-1980: Childhood and young motherhood
Born in 1940, Audrey was the only child of Robert and Nancy and grew up on Richmond Road. At fifteen, Audrey found herself pregnant after a brief liaison with a boy of the same age, Geoff Masters. A son, Stephen, was born in 1956, but Audrey's ashamed father forced her to give him to childless neighbours Joyce and Malcolm Reid to raise. Audrey was desperate to be reunited with her son and planned to do so by getting pregnant again and marrying the father.
Audrey fancied Norman Jones but he wasn't interested in her, although she had better luck with his best friend Ted Page. Audrey fell pregnant by Ted and knew he would propose marriage but Audrey realised she didn't love him and couldn't spend the rest of her life with him, so she broke off the relationship. Soldier Ted returned to army camp and would remain unaware of the child's existence for the next 50 years. Despite being on her own again, Audrey chose to defy her father and insisted that she was keeping her second child, her protests ultimately proved unnecessary as Robert died shortly before the baby was born. Gail arrived in April 1958, with Audrey starting labour halfway through a showing of Gone With The Wind at the Essoldo Cinema, but her chances of being part of Stephen's life were scuppered for good when the Reids emigrated to Canada in 1962. Audrey tearfully waved goodbye as they set sail from Liverpool.
Although she had the chance to raise Gail, Audrey was far from the most attentive mother. Still a young woman herself, Audrey was often more concerned with partying and relationships with other men than her duties to her daughter. Gail came to rely on her grandmother and as she grew older herself rather than Audrey. By 1979, Gail, who had moved out and begun renting with Elsie Tanner in Coronation Street, was engaged to Brian Tilsley. Audrey attended Gail's engagement party only to embarrass her by flirting with Len Fairclough.
Audrey continued to flit in and out of her daughter's life over the next few years, making an appearance for the wedding and the birth and christening of her first grandchild, Nicky, usually clashing with Gail's mother-in-law Ivy when she did. All the while she continued to lurch from one bad relationship to the next, it was Frank Wilson who accompanied her to Gail's wedding but he was out of her life by her next visit.
In 1981, Audrey was asked by local shopkeeper Alf Roberts to mind his shop while he went on holiday as he had no full-time staff available. Upon his return, he found Audrey had opened a hair salon in the shop's back room and was impressed by her initiative. As he was still short-handed, he kept her on. Audrey and Alf got along very well, as Alf enjoyed having someone with Audrey's youthful energy around. The two soon developed a connection, and Alf decided to propose to her. Audrey was forewarned and, not wanting to be tied down, refused the proposal. She then resigned from the shop and returned to an ex-boyfriend.
In 1984, she was engaged to be married to George Hepworth, but it fell through when it transpired he was interested in younger women. In 1985, Audrey encountered Alf for the first time since his proposal. Now older and wiser, Audrey saw Alf in a new light as she enjoyed the attention, kindness and money he lavished on her. Although he decided to take things slowly this time, Audrey was actually waiting for him to propose. After a few months Alf proposed again and this time, Audrey accepted. They were married two weeks later on 23rd December 1985.
Alf and Audrey were in many ways polar opposites; he was mild mannered and cautious with money while Audrey was exhuberant and enjoyed shopping trips. Despite this, the marriage worked although the two often caused each other stress. Alf had been living in the corner shop flat for years, but now they were married Audrey was eager that they get a home of their own. Although Audrey dreamed of a detached house away from the shop, Alf wanted something convenient and cheap and bought 11 Coronation Street without telling her. Audrey tried to make the best of it and even set up a salon in the front room, but still wanted somewhere more upmarket to live.
When Alf lost his seat on the local council in 1987 (a seat he'd held for 21 years) to Deirdre Barlow, he was so stressed that he had a mild heart attack. The doctor ordered Alf to cut back on his workload, so Alf put Audrey in charge of his shop. Audrey was relieved when he returned two weeks later, having found retirement didn't suit him.
In 1988, Malcolm Reid, the adoptive father of Audrey's son, Stephen, travelled back to the United Kingdom from Canada in an attempt to get Audrey to leave Alf and marry him. Audrey refused, stating that Alf had been good to her and that the problems in her marriage were her fault too.
In 1989 the issue of the couple's living arrangements came to the fore again when Mike Baldwin bought an upmarket Quayside apartment. Having tired of living at number 11, Audrey persuaded Alf to put the house on the market so they could get an apartment for themselves. Alf agreed on the condition the valuation of £25,000 was met. Although Alf was certain no-one would be willing to pay that much, ex-sergeant Jim McDonald did just that mere days later, as his wife Liz had tired of army housing so he was looking for a quick purchase. Audrey was thrilled, while Alf was horrified that his condition had been met and this caused a brief rift between him and Audrey, but a few days later he decided to go ahead and get an apartment despite the bigger mortgage. Audrey had a change of heart too and decided to meet him half way and settled for a semi-detached.
In December of that year the Roberts bought a house in Hillside Crescent only for the sale to fall through at the last moment. It came at the worst possible time, as the McDonalds had already taken possession of number 11 leaving Alf and Audrey homeless. Although Audrey wanted to stay in a hotel, Alf refused as the corner shop flat was lying empty and they moved in there instead. Audrey had a miserable couple of months, as she hated the small flat and they were the laughing stock of the street. Eventually in February 1990 Audrey's patience paid off as Alf managed to get them a nice house on Grasmere Drive together. The two moved into the house they would call home for the rest of their married lives.
Later that year Alf decided to run for council again (having been assured by his doctor his health could take it) and was successful. As he was busy with official matters, Alf employed Ivy to work in the shop. Audrey's nose was pushed massively out of joint when Ivy suggested Alf stay open later and he agreed as this meant Audrey would be working there permanently. She had never enjoyed working at the shop, and hated it even more now she was working alongside Ivy. Things got so bad that Audrey walked out on Alf and stayed at a five-star hotel on his credit card. When Alf cancelled the card to force Audrey to come home, she did just that only to find him in his dressing gown with another woman. Although it was innocent, Audrey was furious and went to stay with Gail. When this caused Alf to collapse with nervous exhaustion, she realised what a fool she'd been and returned to him.
Alf's health continued to be a source of concern, and in 1993 he decided to retire after the death of a fellow grocer the same age. Alf sold the shop to Brendan Scott, and Audrey decided that now they weren't tied down they should move somewhere quieter and suggested a bungalow in Lytham St Annes. To Audrey's surprise, Alf was keen on the idea (especially after learning they was a nearby golf club filled with fellow retired grocers) and resigned from the council and put the house on the market. However at the auction where the house would be sold Alf found the shop was going under the hammer for the knockdown price of £55,000 (following the death of Brendan Scott) and bought it on instinct. He quickly took the house off the market, got his job back with the council then told Audrey they weren't moving after all and he was going back to work. Alf was happy, but Audrey was furious and took her frustration out on the shop sign by running it over.
Thankfully for Audrey, Alf's time at the shop wasn't going to last much longer. Weatherfield Council decided to revive the office of mayor and offered the position to him, and Audrey (eager for the glamour the position of mayoress would bring her) persuaded Alf to take it. Alf sold up again, this time to Reg Holdsworth, and Audrey assumed the office of mayoress in May 1994. Although she enjoyed the attention, Audrey had a tendancy to refuse appearances at engagements she didn't like the sound of. When budgetary cuts at the council caused Alf to decide to retire the mayoral limo, Audrey was angry as she enjoyed that aspect of the job and was friends with the chauffeur who would now be made redundant. She threatened to resign, but Alf didn't mind as he'd tired of Audrey's attitude towards the job and installed Betty Williams in her place. Although Audrey didn't care at first, she quickly changed her tune when she learned in January 1995 that a Royal would be present at a county function Alf was due to attend. Audrey demanded that Alf drop Betty but he refused, so to embarrass him she had Fred Elliott (who had eyes for Audrey despite the fact she was married) escort her to a leisure centre opening Alf was due to attend and did the job herself before leaving Alf to sort out the mess. Audrey got her way in the end as Alf, worried about what his wife might do next but with Betty refusing to bow out, decided to be the one not to attend the county bash in order to let Betty (in her position as Mayoress) take Audrey as her guest.
Over the years, Audrey mellowed from a social climber to a more sympathetic character. Audrey's eldest child, Stephen, lives in Canada. She has never been short of love interests, and has had romantic entanglements with Fred Elliott and undertaker Archie Shuttleworth, among others. Audrey's best friend was Alma Halliwell. Audrey was devastated when Alma was diagnosed with cervical cancer and was by Alma's side when she died in 2001.
Audrey nearly became a victim of Gail's serial killer husband Richard Hillman (who was Alma's cousin), when he discovered she was wealthy, having inherited money from Alf. He set fire to her house to make her appear insane, but she was rescued by Steve McDonald. In October 2006, Audrey spoke to her close friend Fred Elliott, who was due to marry Bev Unwin later that week, and told him how she wished he was marrying her, not Bev. This caused Fred to have doubts about his decision but had seemingly decided upon marrying Bev. Audrey then told Ashley that she would not be coming to the wedding, which led to Fred borrowing Bev's car to visit her. After a heart-to-heart, Fred prepared to leave Audrey's house to get back to the church but collapsed in her hallway and died. Audrey, accompanied by the police, broke the news to Ashley and Claire at the church.
Audrey struck up a relationship with old friend Bill Webster, in late 2006. However, on Christmas Day, Bill's wife Maureen turned up, and the secret affair was revealed. Bill went back to Germany but returned to Weatherfield in early 2007 and rekindled his relationship with Audrey, and he subsequently moved in with her.
She currently owns and runs a hair salon in Coronation Street opposite the Rovers Return Inn. Maria Connor, David Platt, Bethany Platt and apprentice Emma Brooker all work there. Previous employees include: Natasha Blakeman, granddaughter Sarah Platt and David's late wife Kylie. In September 2007, Audrey took her grandson David into her home after he was made homeless by Gail for hiding Ecstasy pills inside niece Bethany's doll. Son Stephen returned at Christmas 2007 to offer David a job in Italy. He accepted but Audrey found drugs in his drawer at the salon and Stephen withdrew his offer. Jason, Sarah and Bethany decided to go, but at the last minute Jason changed his mind. He left Bethany and Sarah at the railway station, and returned home. Eventually, Audrey grew fed up with David, especially after she learned he had pushed Gail down the stairs in a fit of rage. She was dumbfounded when Gail refused to press charges, and still has a reticent relationship with her grandson.
In spring 2008, Audrey was contacted by Ted Page, Gail's biological father who never knew of Gail's existence. Audrey met up with him and soon told him he had a daughter. He was surprised, and Audrey was very surprised herself to learn that Ted was gay. This led characters such as David's girlfriend Tina to jokingly question whether or not Audrey had "turned" Ted gay, which he denied.
On 4th August 2008 Audrey was returning from a "booze cruise" in France with Bill, Janice and Roger. She'd been miserable the whole time and felt that Bill had ignored her. Bill had been drinking so Audrey insisted she drove. Whilst driving, Audrey began having an argument with Janice, who accused her of being a fortune hunter and caring nothing about Alf or Fred. Audrey was furious, even more so when Bill chose not to defend her, instead saying she'd been unhappy the whole trip. The argument caused her to lose control and she veered off the road, through a small forest of trees and crashed into a grey box, injuring her arm. It was this moment which caused her to consider ending her relationship with Bill, and she asked him to move out.
At the end of 2009, Audrey fell for conman Lewis Archer but eventually saw his true colours and they split up. In 2012, Audrey and Gail were both diagnosed with high blood pressure and were told to exercise. They got lost while power-walking in the countryside and ran into a pub, where they were reunited with Lewis. However, he left their lives again one year later. In 2013, when David was kicked out for causing a car crash which left his brother Nick brain damaged, Audrey took David in again. In 2016, Kylie was murdered by Clayton Hibbs and Audrey mourned her with the rest of the family. On a happier note, her third great-grandchild and first great-grandson, Harry Platt, was born in April that year.
In 2017, Gail became involved with con woman Rosemary Piper, who told the fearful Gail that the Platt family were cursed, the evil Richard Hillman's spirit looming over them. Audrey told Gail to stay away, as she thought something was not right. Rosemary carried on deceiving the hapless Gail. The Platt's soon found that Rosemary was being paid by Lewis Archer. Audrey was shocked to find her former love interest tricking the family out of money yet again. Roy Cropper, who was sceptical of Rosemary from the start, found Lewis' car, and Lewis himself talking to Rosemary through a walkie-talkie. He made a citizen's arrest. Audrey offered to keep guard of Lewis, who was still in the car. She started to see it from the manipulative Lewis' view and he told her he loved her and had never loved anyone else. He also stated he had the money to pay back Gail that he and Rosemary had scammed from her. Audrey let Lewis run away and escape from the car. A few months later, Audrey's salon worker Maria Connor had left, stealing business in her flat, where she styled hair for the locals. Audrey had also found out about her grandson David's rape by his so-called friend Josh Tucker. She and Maria also developed a slightly hostile relationship, and Maria set out to start her own rival business with Claudia Colby, who had first introduced Audrey to Lewis. Audrey then found out that Lewis had handed himself in to the police and transferred £40,000 into Gail's bank account. Audrey was surprised he had kept his promises. She visited him in prison and he told her again that he loved her, and had learnt the error of his evil ways.
Audrey continued to be slightly wary of Lewis but started to believe him. She confided in Claudia that she still thought Lewis attractive and good-looking in prison uniform. Claudia encouraged Audrey to go for it, specially seen as Lewis had just been released. Audrey wasn't sure, knowing Gail would be disgusted. Secretly, Audrey told Gail, who had just started a new job with Gary Windass, that she was going on a cruise. Gail offered to come with her, but Audrey lied, telling Gail fervently that there were no places left. Audrey was actually going to meet Lewis at his house. She went to Lewis' house, and danced with him, telling him she may be open to a relationship. Gail became worried and did not trust what Audrey was telling her. Gail entered Roy's Rolls and asked about the name of the cruise that Audrey was supposed to be on. Imran Habeeb told Gail that the same cruise had ended six months ago, never to sail again. Gail became more worried, specially as Audrey had told her she was dancing with the captain. David told his anxious mother there was nothing to worry about and Audrey may have just got muddled up with the cruise's name. Meanwhile, Audrey was still with Lewis, they had eaten a meal, cooked by Lewis, in the garden. They danced again, inside, and saw Gail peeping at them through the window. Gail shouted at Audrey, declaring Lewis was trying to scam them all again. Audrey disagreed. Maria, who needed someone to help her invest in her business with Claudia, found Rita Tanner, who was a regular at Audrey's salon and Audrey's friend. She told Maria and Rita of her displeasure, and Rita met her later at Audrey's salon. She told Audrey it was ridiculous what was happening with Lewis (Lewis had scammed Rita out of money too) and told Audrey it would break Gail's heart. Audrey continued her relationship with Lewis, even though the whole street were shocked.
In August 2018, Audrey and Lewis met at No.8 for dinner. Gail protested if Lewis came. To Gail's disgust, Lewis came with Audrey, and Gail left, not wanting to stay because of Lewis. Max Turner, Audrey's adoptive grandson told David of football scores on his game, and Audrey immediately told the family of Lewis's footballing days at school. David made a joke, saying Lewis would have been a slippery player. Audrey jumped to Lewis's defence, but Lewis said he had expected it. David declared if Lewis hurt his family again, he would 'end him'. That made Audrey and Lewis uneasy. Audrey's great-granddaughter, Bethany Platt, stormed in, shouting at Lewis, saying she was sick of men hurting their family. Bethany had just discovered Billy Mayhew's secret.
In September, Audrey and Lewis were invited to David and Max Turner's virtual football match. Gail told David furiously that she would not sit in the same room as Lewis and reminded David of past experiences involving the elderly conman. David ignored Gail's comments and said he did look a bid like a weasel. Gail felt angry and betrayed by Audrey so she met up with her ex-worker and business rival Maria Connor and told her David and Audrey often had conversations about the salon-skilled young mother. Gail said they had gave her names such as Judas, Backstabbing Cow and others and they put Maria's name in the mud just like Gail's. Maria was offended and told Gail she was about confront them. She made sure that her son Liam Connor won the virtual football match between him and Aadi Alahan and David's adoptive son Max. The match's audience, including Dev Alahan, Tim Metcalfe, David and others spoke out at Liam's victory and questioned his sudden possession of players. Maria raised the subject that Gail had told her, not knowing it was all lies due to Gail's passionate hatred of Lewis. She called Audrey and David out but never specified the reason. Audrey, who had enjoying drinks made by Lewis all evening looked baffled but the issue wasn't raised further.
(To be completed)
List of addresses
|5 Grasmere Drive||February 1990 to present|
|Hairdresser||Audrey's||January 2019 to present|
First and last lines
"'Ello love." (First line, to Gail Potter)