Mildred was a student at Granston Technical College who took part in a production of The Country Wife that was directed by Ken Barlow. He had been instructed by the college principal to make sure the students got home safely, partly due to an escaped convict rapist, Frank Riley, being loose in the area. Ken wanted to call it a night after rehearsing act 5, scene 3 but the students protested, with Mildred going so far as to call him a "repressive, authoritarian facist! Though she followed this up with a quiet, mouse-like "sir", Ken gave in and agreed to rehearse act 4, scene 1. As the evening wore on, they moved on to act 3, scene 1 with Mildred taking the part of Alithea to Pamela Dickenson's Mrs Pinchwife, even though Pamela had played Alithea earlier in the evening. All the time, Ken was unaware that Frank Riley had got into his own flat and was holding Valerie Barlow hostage.