Sharon Bentley (née Gaskell) was fostered by Len and Rita Fairclough as a teenager during 1982.

In 1999, she returned to Coronation Street to reconnect with Rita before marrying Ian Bentley but the two had a falling-out after Sharon married Ian despite him two-timing her.


1954-1984: Early life

Sharon gaskell 1980s

Sharon in 1982

Sharon Gaskell was born on 22nd March 1965. In March 1982, Sharon was in foster care and was waiting to be sent to live with her long-term foster parents, the Boltons, but a problem arose which meant she had to wait until May. In the meantime, she was fostered by Len and Rita Fairclough in Weatherfield. She enjoyed her stay at first, coming to see Len and Rita as parents, but she fell out with Len when at her 17th birthday party Len caught Sharon's boyfriend Steve Dunthorne trying to lead her upstairs. At the same party, Sharon's brother Wayne showed up and caused trouble, the pair apparently having a difficult relationship. Len forbade Sharon and Steve from having sex.

Sharon liked the Faircloughs and, on meeting the Boltons, decided that they were too posh and ran away to Coronation Street to demand to stay with Len and Rita until she was eighteen. Don Worthington from the agency was against this but bowed to Sharon's wishes as Len and Rita were equally keen for Sharon to stay with them.

While staying with the Faircloughs, Sharon lent Len a hand at the Builder's Yard, surprising him with her carpentry skills. He allowed her to help him rebuild No.7, which he intended to sell but Sharon and Rita ganged up on him to talk him round to the idea of selling No.9 and moving into the newer house.

In September, Sharon fell for Brian Tilsley and started pursuing him even thought he had a wife and son. Brian noticed her interest in him but was faithful to Gail and did nothing to encourage Sharon, although he didn't put her straight as he enjoyed the attention. When Sharon heard Brian was looking for a babysitter for Nicky, she saw an opportunity to get close to Brian and Gail agreed to take her on occasionally. On Brian's birthday, Sharon presented him with a keyring as a present. Brian decided things had gone far enough and told Sharon to back off, but she took no notice and stole a photograph of him. Gail, who until now had been in the dark, witnessed Brian struggling with Sharon to get his photograph back but Gail saw Sharon as a silly teenager with a crush and asked Rita to sort her out. When questioned by Rita, Sharon said that she and Brian were in love and that Brian had initiated it. They nearly fell out when Rita slapped Sharon after Sharon called her a hypocrite as she'd lived with Harry Bates. Sharon refused to believe that Brian didn't love her until he told him himself. It was eventually agreed that Sharon shouldn't see Brian any more.

At the end of the year, Sharon was told that Social Services had found a job for her as a kennel maid in Sheffield, living with the Stringers. Len offered her an apprenticeship at the yard to keep her in Weatherfield but Sharon turned it down, feeling that staying close to Brian would be a bad idea.

Sharon returned to the Street in December 1983 after hearing about Len's death in a road accident. There, she caught Curly Watts's eye. Sharon was embarrassed when Curly read out a poem about his feelings for her but agreed to go out with him. On their date, they ran into Terry Duckworth (who Sharon fancied) and Sharon ditched Curly to go to a UB40 concert with Terry. Sharon returned to Sheffield the next day.

1984-1999: Return

Sharon ian wedding punch up

Sharon reveals all to the congregation and attacks Ian

Fifteen years later Sharon returned to Weatherfield to invite Rita to her wedding. Sharon was engaged to a man named Ian Bentley, a sales representative, and Rita persuaded Sharon to have her wedding in Weatherfield. Sharon became friends with Sally Webster who; like Sharon, had a close relationship with Rita.

Unfortunately, Ian began having an affair with the recently widowed Natalie Barnes who already had a reputation as a home-wrecker after her affair with Sally's husband Kevin Webster. Sharon discovered the affair but seemed determined to go through with the wedding. However, during the service Sharon called Ian a liar in front of the assembled congregation and jilted him.

Happy that Sharon decided to stay around after the wedding fiasco, Rita offered Sharon a job at Rita's newsagent The Kabin and Alec Gilroy's old flat No.12. Sharon happily accepted, although she soon clashed with Rita's assistant Leanne Battersby. Much to Leanne's horror, and that of few of Rita's other friends, Rita offered The Kabin to Sharon as a birthday gift. Rita admitted to Sharon that she was lonely, that was why she offered Sharon the business. Her gesture was a living legacy from a woman who always looked upon Sharon as the daughter she never had. Rita was happy to pass on her experience knowing that The Kabin would be well looked after in years to come.

Soon afterwards, Sharon began dating Danny Hargreaves, but it ended when Danny realised that he was in love with Sally. A depressed Sharon attempted suicide by taking an overdose but couldn't go through with it. After her suicide bid, she got in contact with Ian again and rekindled their relationship, the pair realising they still loved each other. Rita was angered when Sharon announced her intention to marry Ian and sell The Kabin in order to buy a house in Bolton. Rita eventually bought the business back from Sharon and told her not to expect anything else from her. Sharon married Ian and left the area, never to return.

Background information

  • Sharon Gaskell first appeared in Coronation Street from March to December 1982. She returned for eight episodes the following year.
  • On her return in 1999, Sharon was intended to become one of the programme's core characters, as the new owner of The Kabin. Episode 4572 - which saw Sharon jilt Ian Bentley - was the highest rated episode of the year, with 19.8 million viewers (combined figure, including repeat).
  • In October 2013, Rita mentioned that she and Sharon were no longer on speaking terms.

First and last lines

"I like anything. Have you got any kids, grown up ones, you know left home?" (First line, to Rita Fairclough)


"Rita, please... please be happy for us. Me and Ian, we're right together." (Final line)

See also

External links

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