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Kelly Neelan is the daughter of notorious loan shark Rick Neelan, who was fostered by Imran Habeeb and Toyah Battersby.

Following her father's disappearance in June 2019 Kelly traced one of his associates, Gary Windass, to Coronation Street and began questioning him about her father's whereabouts. Unbeknown to Kelly, Gary had in fact murdered her father in self-defence and buried his body. Gary insited that he had nothing to do with Rick's disappearance, however to ease his guilt he began paying her mother Laura child maintenance and pretended that the money was from Rick. Instead of spending the money on Kelly, Laura treated herself and walked out on her daughter when confronted by Gary. Kelly was taken in by her newfound friend Summer and her guardian Billy, but soon began causing trouble within Summer's friendship group when she leaked naked pictures of Asha Alahan online. Kelly eventually ended up in foster care where she was taken in by Imran and Toyah.

In 2020, Kelly's long-running feud with Asha's friend Nina Lucas came to a head when she formed part of Corey Brent's gang which attacked her and Seb Franklin, although Kelly inflicted almost none of the violence herself. Nonetheless when Seb died from his injuries Corey blamed everything on Kelly, and a gruelling trial and Young Offenders Institute sentence followed. Kelly had only served a few months when new evidence came to light finally shining a spotlight on Corey's involvement, and she walked free.

Biography

2005-2021: The disappearing dad

Kelly Neelan was born on 22nd May 2005 to parents Rick and Laura Neelan. She also had a brother. During her childhood she was left unaware of her father's true nature as a ruthless loan shark, which had landed him in trouble with the law in 2010 and 2012. Their relationship became strained following her parents divorcing, although Rick would still keep in contact with Kelly - and would pick her up from Oakhill School "every other Friday".

When Rick failed to show up for Kelly at the end of June 2019, she paid a visit to his office and bumped into Gary Windass. While Gary pretended to be a client of her father's the reality was that he had killed Rick over a week prior in self-defence.

Gary continued to pay for Kelly's school fees, although she later began to attend Weatherfield High and resurfaced in 2020, much to Gary's surprise. Kelly was involved in leaking a video of her friend Asha Alahan undressing (which was taken by Asha's boyfriend Corey Brent) which spread across the school and led to Asha being bullied. Kelly felt remorse for her actions.

Kelly returned to Coronation Street in December 2020, when Gary was under investigation accused of killing her father Rick. He was released without charge when the police were unable to find Rick's body, despite Gary's ex-girlfriend Sarah Barlow claiming (correctly) that he killed Rick and giving the location where the body was located.

2021 to present: Fostering and hate crime

In 2021, Toyah and Imran began fostering Kelly, after much persuasion from her. In May 2021, Kelly was hanging around with a group of friends, including Corey and his mates Eli Higginson and Jay Dowling, plus Asha and Summer Spellman. Shortly after Summer left, Nina Lucas - someone deeply resented by Corey - and her boyfriend Seb Franklin happened across the scene. Nina tried to convince Kelly to go home but she merely mocked her, and under pressure from the group slapped her across the face. The couple beat a hasty retreat, but the gang followed and attacked them on their way home. Appalled at what she'd started Kelly tried to stop Corey, but he kicked Seb several times in the head while Eli and Jay assaulted Nina. Nina was left with serious injuries and Seb later died. All four teenagers were later charged, Corey and Kelly with murder.

Imran supported Kelly through her police interview and represented her when the case went to trial and, when Nina remembered that Kelly had tried to help, passed on the news. Kelly was buoyed when Nina took the stand, but it wasn't to last - a gruelling trial followed in which Corey's lawyers (led by Imran's ex-wife Sabeen) picked every hole they could in Nina's evidence, Corey lied through his teeth blaming everything on Kelly, and when questioned by Imran pretended to break down on the stand, provoking Kelly into angrily shouting at him in front of the court. Arguably the final nail in the coffin was when Kelly's mother Laura was brought in at Kelly's persuasion to give evidence that she was a good daughter who had had a difficult upbringing. This dramatically backfired when Sabeen produced an earlier statement from Laura, from when she had been prosecuted for child cruelty, in which she stated she was afraid of her violent, unpredictable and aggressive daughter. Corey was cleared and a devastated Kelly found guilty. She attempted suicide that night in the depths of her despair, but survived after being rushed to hospital. Nonetheless, later that month Kelly was handed down a life sentence, with a minimum of fifteen years to be served.

Kelly's ordeal ended in November 2021 when Nina and Asha, with the help of homeless man Stu Carpenter, obtained Corey's bag from the night of the attack - containing his blood-stained tracksuit. After a failed attempt at fleeing the country foiled by Gary, Corey pleaded guilty and Kelly was finally released. It wasn't all plain sailing, as Abi and Nina continued to be extremely hostile to her, still blaming her for her part in Seb's death. In addition to this, Imran and Toyah had split (although Kelly managed to talk her into giving him a second chance) and, before that, had fostered a little girl called Elsie. Although the two got on well, social services had decreed Elsie should not be fostered in a home with other children. Deciding it wouldn't be fair on Elsie to have to leave, Kelly moved out herself. Feeling she couldn't go back to a street whose residents hated her, she began sleeping on the streets.

Background information

Publicity photo of Millie Gibson as Kelly Neelan in 2021

Kelly first appeared in Episode 9807 in June 2019. Millie Gibson's casting was announced a few weeks prior to her initial appearance and her minor role consisted of five episodes. Producers brought Gibson back for a subsequent stint from Episode 10046 in April 2020, however the COVID-19 pandemic meant that the character went off-screen for another period from July before being brought back in Episode 10203 in December. In May 2021 it was revealed that Gibson had been signed onto a permanent contract. [1]

Albeit unnamed, the character of Kelly was first mentioned as far back as 2009, in Episode 7214, when Rick Neelan (Greg Wood) told Gail Platt (Helen Worth) about his son and daughter. Kelly's appearance in 2019 came after her father's murder at the hands of Gary Windass (Mikey North).

Following her return in December 2020, Kelly was involved in storylines such as being fostered by regular characters Imran Habeeb and Toyah Battersby, and in May 2021 was part of a hate crime storyline which led to the death of regular character Seb Franklin. Gibson's portrayal was well received by viewers and this prompted impressed producers to sign her up full-time to the show, following a recurring role of two years.

First and last lines

"Hi. Where's my dad?" (First line, to Gary Windass)

Appendices

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"If you've owt to say, spit it out before it flamin' well chokes yer"
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List of addresses

Address Duration
19a Rosamund Street April to May 2020
Inkerman Street June 2020 to March 2021
19a Victoria Street March 2021 to 12th May 2021
Supported accommodation November 2021
7 Coronation Street 26th November 2021 to present

See also


Current characters
Ken Barlow | Rita Tanner | Peter Barlow | Gail Rodwell | Tracy McDonald | Audrey Roberts | Nick Tilsley | Kevin Webster | Debbie Webster | Jenny Connor | Sally Metcalfe | Sarah Barlow | Steve McDonald | David Platt | Daniel Osbourne | Roy Cropper | Leanne Battersby | Toyah Battersby | Tyrone Dobbs | Dev Alahan | Eileen Grimshaw | Maria Connor | Kirk Sutherland | Adam Barlow | Todd Grimshaw | Fiz Stape | Simon Barlow | Sean Tully | Chesney Brown | Amy Barlow | Aadi Alahan | Asha Alahan | Ryan Connor | Carla Barlow | Gary Windass | Mary Taylor | Liam Connor | Brian Packham | Izzy Armstrong | Max Turner | Jack Webster | Hope Stape | Faye Windass | Beth Sutherland | Craig Tinker | Joseph Brown | Ruby Dobbs | Tim Metcalfe | Jake Windass | Lily Platt | Alya Nazir | Yasmeen Metcalfe | Zeedan Nazir | Gemma Winter | Billy Mayhew | Cathy Matthews | Alex Warner | Harry Platt | Shona Platt | Summer Spellman | Abi Webster | Imran Habeeb | Emma Brooker | Paul Foreman | Evelyn Plummer | Bertie Osbourne | James Bailey | Ed Bailey | Michael Bailey | Aggie Bailey | Kelly Neelan | Bernie Winter | Aled Winter-Brown | Bryn Winter-Brown | Carys Winter-Brown | Llio Winter-Brown | Nina Lucas | Grace Vickers | George Shuttleworth | Sam Blakeman | Daisy Midgeley | Ronnie Bailey
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