Brian John Tilsley was the son of Ivy and Bert Tilsley, first husband of Gail and father of Nick and Sarah Louise.

Brian moved to Coronation Street with his parents in 1979, by which time he was already in a relationship with Gail. Brian was a car mechanic and had little money, but he and Gail were young and in love and decided to marry right away.

The first years of the marriage saw Brian and Gail face problems of money and accommodation. They were often dependent on Bert and Ivy, and Brian, who had a history of being dominated by Ivy, often bowed to her wishes to keep the peace. Happier times followed as their son Nick was born in 1980 and they moved into their own flat. In 1982, Brian went into partnership with Ron Sykes and bought a share of a garage in Albert Street, which he ran until his death.

As the marriage wore on, Brian and Gail began to grow apart. They both felt trapped by the marriage and yearned for independence; Brian started seeing other women while Gail fell pregnant after having an affair with Brian's cousin Ian Latimer. When she refused to have an abortion, Brian divorced her and fought for custody of Nick, but when daughter Sarah Louise turned out to be Brian's, the couple reconciled, deciding to put the kids first. Unfortunately, none of the problems from their first marriage had really been addressed and in 1989 Gail ended things again, adamant that she and Brian were unsuited. That same night, Brian was stabbed to death outside a nightclub while defending a woman from a group of thugs.


Brian first appeared at a local party on 27th December 1978 where he met Gail Potter. He asked her out but stood her up because he got drunk and forgot. Indeed, at first Gail wasn't too keen but her interest was soon sparked. Brian's mother, the very Catholic and conservative Ivy wasn't too keen either, about Gail. She preferred "Her Brian" to date Catholic girls. But in spite of Ivy's attempts to interfere in their relationship, and in spite of Gail's friend Suzie Birchall's bold flirting which Brian lapped up, Brian and Gail married in November 1979 and moved into 5 Coronation Street with Bert and Ivy so they could save money for a deposit on a house.

Marriage to Gail Potter

Things ticked along fairly well after the wedding, with Brian and his father only needing to play peacekeeper between Ivy and Gail occasionally. Brian sulked when Gail began working long hours at Dawson's Cafe was bought by Jim Sedgewick and turned into a proper cafe. He complained at the spending restrictions Gail put on him which took away from their savings for their deposit, but it was mostly that first-year married adjustment kind of thing.

Finally, with a last minute loan of £300, surprisingly from Ivy, they were able to put a deposit on a mortgage on 16 Willow Crescent, a house being built on a new estate. Unfortunately, Ivy had taken the money from her and Bert's holiday fund which caused a lot of trouble. When Brian realised this, he and Gail gave the money back. Shortly after, Brian was chuffed to discover that he was going to be a father. They ended up buying a much smaller house and finally got their own independence, moving out of No.5, away from interfering Ivy and into 5 Buxton Close. Nicky Tilsley was born on 31st December 1980.

Money problems and in-law contentions continued to plague the young couple. This not only covered the Ivy-Gail relationship but also Brian-Audrey. Brian was not pleased when Gail's mother landed on their doorstep. Brian became disillusioned with married life though he adored his little son.

First Departure

In 1982, Ron Sykes decided to sell the garage and go to the Middle East and invited Brian along. Dazzled by promises of high paying contract jobs, he went, leaving Gail and Nicky behind. Gail started doubting their marriage when Brian stayed in Egypt when he had a holiday break instead of coming home. He eventually returned in July and decided to stay in Weatherfield rather than work out his contract. Ron couldn't persuade him to return and so they decided to go into a 60/40 partnership in Sykes and Tilsley's Garage in Albert Street, using the money they had earned in Qatar.

Sharon Gaskell

In autumn 1982 Brian was flattered but embarrassed when 17-year-old Sharon Gaskell, foster daughter to Len and Rita Fairclough, developed a crush on him but she became obsessed and had to be harsh with her in order to stop her getting out of control. He and Len fell out because of Len's perception of Brian's handling of the whole situation. He felt that Brian led Sharon on and then dumped her in a more cruel manner than was necessary.

Slow breakup from Gail

Around that same time, Gail's old friend Suzie turned up again and Brian got in hot water with Gail when she caught Suzie chatting him up and he not objecting to it overly much. Brian had a history of this sort of thing, from neighbourhood girls to garage customers. That summer, Brian's father, helping out in the garage, was injured when a tyre explodes. Bert recovered from his injuries but subsequently suffered severe depression, was hospitalised and died of a stroke whilst in the hospital. Brian was devastated. He and Gail decided to sell their house and move back in with Ivy for a time to help out. He became protective of his mother especially when she got involved with George Wardle who was caught making passes at Gail at the same time. Brian soon fell back into the habit of allowing his mother to spoil him and expecting his wife to be a stay at home mother instead of a cafe manageress and the fighting and arguing increased.

Succumbing to the pressure, Brian and Gail's marriage crumbled and they separated for a short time. Brian quickly fell back into "Single" ways, and expected Ivy to take his side. However, surprisingly, Ivy stood up to her son and ordered him to return to his wife. Brian agreed to return and he and Gail reconciled after a month or so and they moved into a council house. But things would never be the same.

Later life

Main article: Platt family

In 1986, Brian was devastated when he discovered that Gail had had an affair with his Australian cousin, Ian Latimer - someone whom Brian had encouraged Gail to spend time with at first as he was family. Brian was horrified when Gail became pregnant and didn't know who the father was. He forgave her for the affair however insisted she have an abortion. Since she refused, he divorced her, dragging her name through the mud in the process of a nasty custody fight over Nicky. Sarah Louise was born in 1987 and blood tests proved that Brian was indeed the father. Gail tried to keep this fact from Brian, but when Audrey let slip the news during an argument with Ivy, Ivy insisted that it was not right for Gail to deny Brian's right to know that he had a second child. Brian initially reacted to the news with suspicion and hostility, but eventually accepted Sarah Louise as his own. The pain of his separation from son Nicky led Brian to take off with the lad to the Lake District in 1987, but eventually Nicky was returned to Gail. The turmoil in his parents' marriage had traumatised Nicky. The Tilsley's reconciled for the sake of the kids more than actual love.


The reconciliation lasted about a year however the marriage was already damaged beyond repair. Brian bought the garage outright now and started to spend most nights out with his mates and chatting up women, but still participating in family life with the children. Gail continued to be a housewife and ran the cafe and finally asked for another divorce. She didn't love Brian - and, in fact, had never even wanted him to know that he was Sarah Louise's father. Brian, liking the way things were and not wanting to lose contact with his children, especially his son, resisted. But after a huge row, he and Gail agreed their marriage was over. However, as he left the house to go to a club, he warned Gail he planned to fight tooth and nail for custody of Nicky. Later, he defended a woman called Alison Oakley who was being bothered by a couple of young thugs and was stabbed in the fight. Brian died the same night on 15th February 1989. His son Nick was deeply affected by his death, and when he grew older he was shocked by an accidental meeting with Darren Whateley the man who killed his father.

First and last lines

"Just coming to the end of half a bitter, then it’s your turn to get them in." (First line)


"Oi! Knock it off! What's going on?" (Final line)

See also

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