Ian Latimer was Bert Tilsley's nephew who had an affair with Gail Tilsley. Ian came over from Perth, Australia to visit his relatives in May 1986, meeting Gail and Nicky for the first time. He thought people in the UK worked hard for little reward and regaled Brian with stories of his life in the sun down under. The Tilsleys were so impressed that they decided to emigrate.
Brian was away for some of Ian's stay in Weatherfield, so Gail showed Ian the sights of the town and later took him to dinner. Ian told Gail about how his fiancée jilted him and flirted with her, telling her that if she wanted him she only had to say. Gail's struggles of the past few years had left little time for excitement and she was intrigued at the thought; before Brian went on an overnight job in Edinburgh, she begged Brian to stay as she didn't trust herself to be alone with Ian. However, he went anyway, and Gail and Ian slept together that night. To Ian, it was just a fling and not something Brian would ever find out about. He was shocked when Gail wanted to carry on with their affair once Brian was back. Ian decided to return to Australia early. Gail tried to stop him at the airport but to no avail; Ian said what they had was over.
Early the next year, Audrey Roberts wrote to Ian letting him know that Gail was pregnant and that the baby might be his. Gail hadn't told him as she wanted to raise the baby herself; Brian had started divorce proceedings when he found out what had gone on between Gail and Ian. Ian asked Gail to marry him but she told him to go home as she didn't need him. Audrey advised him to stay as she was sure that Gail would change her mind, offering him a room at 11 Coronation Street, but Ian decided to leave after facing Brian. Brian had heard about Ian's proposal and punched him, accusing Ian of wanting to take his son away. The stress of their fight caused Gail to go into labour with Sarah Louise prematurely. Ian accompanied Gail to Weatherfield General as Brian wanted nothing to do with her, but after Sarah was born, Ian had a blood test which confirmed that he wasn't her father. He then returned to Australia, agreeing to keep Sarah's paternity secret.