Once a rogue, Gary was often in trouble with the law. In 2010, following a two-month spell at Highfield Prison for burglary, he decided to turn his life around and signed up. His army career was short-lived as his squad was ambushed in Afghanistan and, despite making a full recovery physically, Gary suffered crippling PTSD. While on leave, Gary assaulted a police officer, leading to his dismissal from the army.
Gary's long-term partner was Izzy Armstrong. In 2011, Izzy's father, Owen, took Gary on at his building firm, giving him a trade. Gary and Izzy's wish to have a baby was granted two years later when Tina McIntyre acted as a surrogate mother, giving birth to Jake. Their relationship fizzled out in 2014, and Gary moved on to Alya Nazir. Gary and Alya became engaged in 2015, but split due to her fling with Jason Grimshaw.
In 2016, Gary began a relationship with Sarah Platt. They came close to splitting several times, notably when Gary cheated on her with Nicola Rubinstein, leading to the birth of their son Zack. Money was always tight; Gary was so desperate that he did occasional security work in Ukraine, until it was false reported that he'd been killed and Sarah put a stop to it. In 2019, after Gary sold off his tools and van to pay off loan shark Rick Neelan, Sarah dumped him.
Heavily in debt, Gary sabotaged the Underworld factory roof which led to the death of Rana Habeeb, while Rick's threats eventually forced Gary to kill him in self-defence. Gary inherited Rick's violent nature as he took over his loan shark business. While he reformed after one of his debtors, Derek Milligan, went on a shooting spree which caused the death of Robert Preston, he has never paid for his crimes.
1986-2009: Criminal lifestyle
Gary was born in 1986 to Eddie and Anna Windass. During his youth, he was a troublemaker; and spent some time in a young offenders institute. His somewhat criminal lifestyle continued into his adult life, and he often hung around with his uncle Len who was the source of his scrapes and where he got his ideas from. By 2008, Gary was under a suspended sentence for assault.
In November 2008, the Windass family refused to pay for a kitchen fitted by Joe McIntyre. This resulted in Joe's daughter Tina, along with David Platt and Graeme Proctor, ripping out the kitchen and setting it on fire. Gary and Len destroyed the Platts' kitchen in retaliation, and this caused an ongoing feud between the two families. By coincidence, they ended up living next door to each other after Eddie and Anna rented 6 Coronation Street from Jerry Morton. Gail Platt and Anna tried to keep their respective families civil with each other, and Gail invited the Windasses to spend Christmas Day at 8 Coronation Street, but they were thrown out after Gary flirted with Tina.
In January 2009, Gary taunted David about his relationship with Tina, and also with details about his dodgy past. As Gary continued to goad David, a fight broke out after David punched him, which resulted in Gary beating David up and landing him in hospital. Gary faced a charge of grievous bodily harm as a result of the fight, and Tina, having witnessed it was under pressure to lie for David by saying that Gary had thrown the first punch. However, when the matter was seen in Weatherfield Crown Court, Tina decided to tell the truth and Gary was acquitted. This also caused Tina to end her relationship with David.
Over the next few months, David and Gary seemed to put the past behind them and became friendly. However, David came up with a plan to have Gary sent to prison as revenge for beating him up, and also because he didn't want Gary and Tina to end up together. Unbeknownst to Gary, David staged a burglary at his grandmother Audrey Roberts' house whilst she was away. David planned to have Graeme keep watch and call the police when Gary entered the house, but instead he ran into Ted Page who was house-sitting for Audrey. Gary fled from the house, which caused Ted to suffer a heart attack. As a result, Gary spent two months in Highfield Prison for the incident.
In August 2009, David was attacked and beaten up again the day before Gary was released from prison. David initially suspected Jason Grimshaw of the assault but when Gary saw David he made it clear he'd arranged to have him beaten, and warned him to steer clear of him in future now that they were even.
2010: Army career
Following his release from prison, Gary struggled to get a job. In November 2009, Gary made a disparaging comment about the armed forces after seeing Ted Page wearing a poppy, but regretted this and spoke to Ted about his service in the army. This sparked Gary's interest and he went on a taster weekend for the army, eventually deciding to join. He left for training in January 2010.
During his service, Gary made friends with a fellow squaddie called Quinny. After Quinny's brother, also serving in the army, lost both his legs and right arm Gary decided to go AWOL. However, with encouragement from Anna and Eddie, he returned to his regiment. Whilst on leave, Gary had a brief romance with Izzy Armstrong and also a fling with Kylie Turner. He and Quinny got into a fight outside the Rovers Return Inn after a punter was rude to Izzy, and knocked the lad unconscious, but Gary was never charged for the incident and returned to war in Afghanistan.
In November 2010, Gary was injured whilst on deployment in Helmand Province, where Quinny was killed trying to save Gary from an attacked army vehicle. The event caused Gary to suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and when a tram was derailed onto Coronation Street following an explosion in The Joinery bar, Gary started to have illusions of Afghanistan. He later recovered but faced the harrowing task of visiting Quinny's parents, since the pair had promised to talk to the others' respective family should either of them be killed in action while serving in the army. Shortly after this, Gary was discharged from the forces after assaulting a police officer whilst on a night out with David Platt.
2011-2014: Relationship with Izzy
When Eddie and Anna fostered Faye Butler, Gary helped Faye warm to his parents, although Eddie accidently washed a rag which smelt of Faye's birth mother as he mistook it for dirty laundry; causing a rift between Faye and asked Anna to choose between Faye or himself. Anna chose Faye and he later left Weatherfield and moved to Germany. Nevertheless, Anna eventually adopted Faye and she became a younger sister for Gary. Gary also began a relationship with Izzy Armstrong and moved in with her at 28 Grayling Street. They temporarily broke up as Gary continued to suffer from PTSD, and attempted to stop her from leaving home as he felt she was in danger.
On Christmas Day 2011, Gary and Izzy rekindled their relationship and Gary also started working for Izzy's father Owen as a labourer. In July 2012 Izzy became pregnant. However, after Izzy suffered a miscarriage she confessed to Gary that she couldn't face carrying a child full-term and giving birth. The couple looked into adoption but discovered that because of Gary's criminal record, this was not an option. Instead, Izzy's younger sister Katy offered to act as a surrogate mother for the couple, but since this was inconvenient Tina McIntyre ended up as the surrogate mother (in exchange for money in order to pay off her and housemate Tommy Duckworth's debts).
The surrogacy was successful and Tina became pregnant with Gary and Izzy's child, although at one point; Gary became overly protective of pregnant Tina and developed feelings for her. Gary made a pass at Tina, which caused him and Izzy to split up once again, and when the baby was born Tina initially decided to keep it for herself because she didn't see Gary and Izzy as fit parents and had grown attached to the baby boy. She named the baby "Joe" after her late father, but eventually decided to hand him over to a reconciled Gary and Izzy who renamed him "Jake".
In 2014, Gary confronted Owen's business partner Pat Phelan, who had been making inappropriate advances towards Anna (who was in a relationship with Owen). Phelan goaded Gary until the latter punched him, and in the ensuing fight Gary hit Phelan over the head with a plank of wood and knocked him unconscious. Phelan then disappeared for several weeks but later approached Gary and Owen and attempted to blackmail them with the CCTV footage he had which showed Gary attacking him. He demanded that they finish the project they had been working on for no profit and forced Owen to forfeit the £80,000 he had invested in exchange for not going to the police. Eventually, Anna agreed to have sex with Phelan on condition that he release Gary and Owen from the project. However, the circumstances caused major financial problems for Owen and Anna, who lost 6 Coronation Street and were forced to move into the much smaller 19a Rosamund Street.
Gary's family largely blamed him for the Phelan situation and this put strain on his relationship with Izzy. On a night out, Gary copped off with Alya Nazir (although they didn't sleep together), who turned out to be the daughter of his friend Kal Nazir. Izzy and Gary decided to end their relationship for good after she discovered the fling.
2014-2015: Relationship with Alya
After admitting their feelings for each other, Gary and Alya started dating secretly. Upon discovering this, Kal saw this as a betrayal and thumped Gary, disapproving of the relationship. This forced Alya to finish things with Gary, and over the festive season; Gary reached his lowest ebb and ended up trying to rob Roy's Rolls for cash. Roy Cropper initially believed that Gary was one of the teenagers who had been harassing him recently and beat him to the ground with a baseball bat. Gary was admitted to hospital and Roy faced a charge of assault for the attack. Gary later apologised to Roy and Roy offered him a job working at the café.
In January 2015, Gary and Alya rekindled their relationship and her family slowly came to accept Gary. Kal was killed in a fire at the Victoria Court flats later that year, and during her grieving period, Alya went binge drinking for the first time in her life and had sex with Jason Grimshaw after Gary refused to do it with her. Despite this, the couple became engaged and Alya's grandfather Sharif offered Gary a share of V Court Fitness as a wedding present. As a result, he quit working at Roy's Rolls and also at his labouring job for Jason Grimshaw.
Alya eventually became overcome with guilt and confessed to Gary that she had lost her virginity and had drank alcohol; which was forbidden by her Islamic faith. They broke off their engagement although Gary insisted on keeping his share in the gym and continued to work there. He was quickly appointed manager by Sharif after Zeedan Nazir decided to stop working at the gym.
2016-2018: Relationship with Sarah and turning killer
In 2016, Gary helped Bethany Platt as she struggled with diet pills and she confided in him about her GCSE results. He also helped her with the bullies she was facing at school. In October 2016, Gary saved Lily Platt's life from David's car nearly killing her. This led to Gary and Sarah Platt becoming closer, eventually becoming a couple.
Gary started working for a security firm in Ukraine in 2017 in order to earn more money so they could buy a house and he could send Jake to speech therapy. However, despite sticking together through difficult times, Gary getting Nicola Rubinstein pregnant, split up Gary and Sarah. The betrayal was revealed after another trip to Ukraine in which it was thought Gary had died but when he returned, David revealed the betrayal, making Sarah leave him.
Gary continued to try to bring Phelan down. Gary and Tim Metcalfe got Seb Franklin to testify in favour of Anna but Phelan still managed to get Anna sent down. Teaming up with Nicola, she took in Seb to hide him from Phelan and pretended to believe in Phelan again. Gary started working with Phelan but Phelan soon discovered their plan, outing them. However, Gary managed to get Sarah back at least.
His second child, Zack Rubinstein was born in May 2018. Gary and an ex army mate located Phelan at a caravan park, and kidnapped him and bought him back to Weatherfield. Jack freed Phelan and Phelan in turn kidnapped Sarah and Gary. Anna Windass was released from prison and she saved the pair. Gary sabotaged the factory roof, possibly to pay off Rick, as he had previously been hassling Carla about getting the factory a brand new roof. Gary couldn't pay Rick,and Rick went into No.8. He had a showdown with Rick Neelan at the builders yard and told him he'd get the money. He was told the story of Joe Mcintyre living at No.8 prior to his death by Rick. Gary then sold his van and tools to pay off Rick but the money wasn't enough. Gary was forced to work for Rick, he saved Vicky from Rick by locking his associate Sharon in a cupboard and telling her to run as far away as she could get.
2019 to present: Return to criminal lifestyle
Gary worked in packing at the factory after the work commenced with Nick and Sarah in charge over Carla at the community centre that Yasmeen had let them use to continue working until the factory roof was repaired. Gary went into an alleyway and got kidnapped by Rick after calling Audrey and saying he might join the Platts holiday. Gary was beaten up by Rick, and tied up as he told Sharon not to leave. He later got the phone down from Ricks desk and left Sarah a message he was responsible for the factory roof collapse and was about to die. Rick placed a towel as he didn't want Gary's corpse to stain his carpet, the police came knocking for Rick, when he was about to whack Gary with a golf club. Gary then crawled out alive. He later went to the hospital Carla was at, as Carla stole Sarah's phone, as he took the phone, and deleted the voicemail he left her.
Gary later wanted to know why Rick was at No.8 again after Bethany spoke to him there, Gary found out at the Rovers when Bethany asked if he wanted her to buy him a drink. He got Bethany to help him track Sarah as he believed she may be in danger. He found Sarah at a hotel after borrowing Bethany's car. He asked a receptionist at the swanky hotel joint if he had seen Sarah and Adam, he bribed the young man, and told him he didn't have to say yes or no, and just to nod or shake his head. Gary gave the lad a fiver to go towards him getting new trainers. Gary called Rick and asked if he had Sarah, and told him not to hurt her. He agreed to meet him somewhere yet tell nobody. Gary searched a woodland for Neelan, when he later found a grave that had been dug, he turned and Neelan had planned to bury him alive, by whacking him over the head and knocking him out with a spade. The two fought with Neelan pinning Windass down, Gary tried to reach a stone, to whack Neelan over the head with, which he managed to do, causing Rick's death. Gary then buried his body in the woods.
Gary then took on Rick's crime mantle and became a loan shark himself, and soon began to get thousands of pounds. He used this money to run his own furniture shop. After meeting his first debtor, Gary described himself as a "hammerhead loan shark". Trouble for Gary came when Kelly Neelan, the daughter of Rick, confronted him about what happened to her dad. Gary lied and said he had gone away somewhere to avoid getting caught for Rick's death. Gary later confessed that he killed Rick to Sharon, who used to work for Rick. He managed to cover-up his involvement in both Rana's death and Rick's murder, but this contributed to his aggressive behaviour that resulted in Sarah ending their relationship. He soon clashed with Imran over the circumstances behind his sister's death, and later became enemies with Adam Barlow - particularly as Sarah and Adam ended up developing romantic feelings for each other. Gary soon bonded with Maria Connor and they formed a relationship. This escalated as Maria's previous boyfriend Ali Neeson, who dumped Maria after inadvertently leaving her son Liam in danger, developed a feud with Gary after discovering his status as a loan-shark - with Gary having assumed ownership of Rick's criminal empire after the latter's death. Moreover, Ali's brother Ryan - whom Gary previously clashed over his broken relationship with Gary - unwittingly stole Gary's money from his desk at his shop. Gary later gave Ryan a beating after the latter was unable to repay him the money back.
Later on, Gary planned to usurp control of the Underworld Factory and conducted a plan where his client Derek Milligan, who owed Gary money, was summoned to pose as a businessman seeking to rebuild the Underworld Factory. Gary then blackmailed Derek into upholding his scheme to takeover the factory, going as far as to threaten his family should he not comply with his orders. However, when Derek attempted to stand up to Gary and nearly foil his scheme as a result, Gary retaliated by holding him captive until Christmas Eve that year. As a result, Derek lost his last-chance of reconciling with his ex-wife and their children. Seeking retribution, Derek stole a gun from Gary's shop and ended up instigating a siege in the Rovers while trying to find Gary. When Gary attempted to call his bluff, Derek fired the gun to prove his intent on killing Gary, unknowingly shooting Michelle's estranged husband, Robert Preston, in the process. Derek's siege culminated with him and Gary fighting near a roof, whereupon Shona and Gary get shot during the struggle before Derek ended up tumbling below the roof. Gary attempted to bring Derek up to safety, but lost his grip and watched as Derek fell to his death.
Gary was later rushed to hospital, where he learned that Shona has recovered from her gunshot wound while Robert has died from his injuries. However, Shona was later put in a coma. Later on, Izzy met with Derek's wife and found out that he was in debt to a loan shark, and Izzy realised Gary was the person concerned. At the Rovers, Izzy agreed with Ali's accusation that Gary was a loan shark, and told Gary to swear on Jake's life that he wasn't one. Gary then confessed the truth to Maria, who was furious he lied to her twice, and told him to get out. Maria then spied on Gary and witnessed his debt collector job, but later forgave him because of her unborn baby.
Anna, Eddie and Len
Despite his troubled youth and early adulthood, Gary usually had a good relationship with his family. Anna would see the good in her son and supported him, even when he got into trouble, but at the same time would not refrain from reprimanding him over his misdeeds. Anna and Eddie even took responsibility for some of his behaviour, such as when they visited Ted Page in hospital after Gary had caused him to suffer a heart attack during a burglary. A common theme in the family was a peace offering in the form of a baked cake, which Eddie was skilled at making and usually answered for something which involved Gary. While Gary's parents tried to steer him in the right direction, his uncle Len would often cause him to get into fights. Both Anna and Eddie were aware of the detrimental effect Len had on his temperament. When Gary was sent to prison, Eddie blamed Len for Gary's bad ways and even banned him from visiting No.6 for a few weeks.
When Gary decided to join the army, Eddie was supportive of his decision but Anna initially against it, mostly out of fear for losing her son. She likened this to a wife worrying about her soldier husband, but eventually came round to the idea and was proud of Gary for his bravery and for turning his life around. Anna remained fearful though, and on one occasion when Gary got into a fight while on leave she admitted to Roy Cropper that she hoped Gary would be charged so that he didn't have to go back to war. While suffering from post-traumatic stress, on one occasion Gary took his aggression out on Anna by shoving her, which later resulted in a confrontation with Eddie and Gary punching his father after he called him a coward.
After Eddie left Anna and moved to Germany, Gary seemed to make some effort to keep his relationship with his father, and visited him following his break up with fiancée Alya Nazir. In Eddie's absence, Gary became somewhat more protective of mother Anna, which was evident when he took it upon himself to confront businessman Pat Phelan, who had been making unwanted sexual advances towards Anna.
In 2010 Gary supported his parents' decision to adopt, although after he was discharged from the army in January 2011 and was again living at No.6, his criminal record affected their chances. However, Anna and Eddie were successful in fostering young Faye Butler and while she struggled to warm to them at first, she was more comfortable with Gary and they quickly bonded as siblings. Over time, Gary convinced Faye that Anna and Eddie were good parents. While Eddie left in April 2011, Gary and Faye later became adoptive siblings in November of that year.
On occasions Gary himself tried to act as a parent to Faye, such as in June 2014 when Faye tried to get a paper round job but Gary revealed to Norris Cole that she was only 12-years-old. Instead, he offered to give her money to go out with friends and chauffeur her. Gary covered for Faye when she got drunk with some friends on the pretence that she was out ice skating, and helped her sober up and agreed to try and hide what had happened from Anna and now-boyfriend Owen Armstrong.
Creation and casting
Gary was created by producer Kim Crowther as part of a family unit which originally consisted of Eddie, Anna and Len as well as Gary. Their introduction and early storylines were centred around David Platt, but the family also served to replace the recently-departed Morton family as new tenants of 6 Coronation Street. The casting of the Windass family was announced on 24th September 2008, although Gary's character was originally going to be called "Carl Windass". 
Introduction and development
Gary was introduced as somewhat of an immature and aggressive young man, who often got into fights and had been in trouble with the law. It appeared that his uncle Len was the source of most of his bad behaviour while his parents Eddie and Anna tried to put him on the right track. In many ways Gary's character mirrored that of David Platt, and the two were rivals for a time.
Although Gary originally appeared to be rather one-sided, actor Mikey North believed that his character had more than one side: "Gary has a lot of sides to him. He is a bit of a hard nut, but also a charmer with the ladies." . North also noted Len's influence on Gary: "He gets it all from his uncle Len, who in a way is his idol. Gary copies his uncle and wants to be like him, even though he realises that it's not the best thing to do." .
The actor expressed his enjoyment of portraying Gary as a bad lad: "I like playing the bad boy and doing things you wouldn't necessarily be able to do in real life." 
Over time, Gary matured and reformed from his bad boy ways, which began when he decided to join the armed forces. His relationship with Izzy Armstrong made his focus on starting a family and gave him a sense of responsibility. North took note of Gary's transformation: "Gary was a bad lad when he first came into the show, but I think he's grown up a lot since he came back from the army." , but also admitted he wasn't keen on the direction his character was heading: "I've got too nice now - I've got to rein that back. Even I was getting sick of myself being nice. I need to try to put some sort of edgy element in - all this mushy stuff's just not for me." 
In preparation for portraying Gary's role in joining the army and subsequent post-traumatic stress, North spent time with real-life veterans to hear about their relevant experiences. At the time of the storyline, Gary was the only character to be a soldier in a soap opera. . North also appeared as Gary in the online spin-off Gary's Army Diaries which depicted his tour in Afghanistan, the loss of Quinny and his breakdown as he tried to cope with the aftermath.
On 19th June 2019, after Gary caused the deaths of Rana Habeeb and Rick Neelan, Mikey North did an interview on the Coronation Street YouTube channel about the upcoming storylines for his character. North stated that Gary "learned from the best" in Pat Phelan and Rick Neelan, and said that the idea is for Gary to go down a Mike Baldwin route, as Gary as more deceptive and sneaky in the way he goes about things. North also commented on the rivaly between Gary and Adam being built up.
North also reminded viewers that when Gary first joined the show, he was a "bad boy" and had a criminal lifestyle, and said that it was nice to see more of that side of Gary coming back.
The year after Gary's debut on the show, Mikey North was nominated in the 'Villain of the Year' category at the 2009 British Soap Awards, although he did not receive the award. According to the actor himself, he had been approached by people who applauded him for Gary's beating of David Platt, who was similarly regarded as a villain (actor Jack P. Shepherd had won the 'Villain of the Year' title at the 2008 awards). 
North revealed that following his portrayal of Gary's army career in 2010, he received letters from men serving in the army thanking him for the way the storyline had been dealt with, and also from people who had been inspired by what they had seen on-screen. .
A review published by the Metro of Gary's Army Diaries praised the spin-off for its appeal to fans of the soap but also for accurately conveying the war in Afghanistan: "A relevant enough little spin-off to be a good watch for any Corrie fan, Gary’s Army Diaries also worked as a standalone film for anyone with a passing interest in the war in Afghanistan." 
First and last lines
"Evil scum!" (First line, to Len Windass)
(To be completed)
List of addresses
|8 Victoria Court||20th April 2018 to 7th January 2019|
|8 Coronation Street||7th January to 22nd April 2019|
|28 Grayling Street||22nd April to 24th July 2019|
|Crimea Street flat||July 2019 to January 2020|
|5 Victoria Court||January 2020 to 21st April 2021|
|4 Coronation Street||21st April 2021 to June 2021|
|5 Victoria Court||June 2021 to present|
|Owner||Gary Windass Construction||18th April 2018 to 22nd April 2019|