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Sharon Bentley (née Gaskell) is the former foster child of Rita and Len Fairclough. She caused trouble for Rita whenever she appeared in Weatherfield but tended to leave long periods between visits.

Sharon's time in the Faircloughs' care ended in December 1982 when Social Services found her a job as a kennel maid in Sheffield. The following year Sharon paid a visit to Rita after learning of Len's death in a road accident, but she departed again after a couple of days. Fifteen years later in January 1999, Sharon invited Rita to her wedding; however, things ended in heartbreak when she discovered that the groom Ian Bentley had two-timed her with Natalie Barnes. Sharon remained on the street but within a year, she had burnt her bridges with Rita after reuniting with Ian and attempting to sell The Kabin from under her. After marrying Ian, the pair settled in Bolton with the money she made selling The Kabin back to Rita.

Sharon returned in April 2021 and reconnected with Rita having recovered from cancer and being ditched by Ian. Her real reason for returning to the area was to seek out Leanne Battersby for her drug-dealing nephew Harvey. Her intentions were eventually discovered by Rita's other former foster daughter Jenny Connor and Sharon fled the street. She later betrayed Harvey by testifying against him in court and took over his Firm. She left Weatherfield again following Harvey's sentencing.

Biography

1965-1984: Fostered by the Faircloughs

1982: Sharon hit it off with her foster parents Len and Rita Fairclough

Born on the 22nd March 1965, Sharon Gaskell and her brothers were placed into foster care. While awaiting placement with her long-term foster parents the Boltons in May 1982 problems arose which saw her being temporarily fostered by Len and Rita Fairclough in Weatherfield. Sharon enjoyed her stay with the Faircloughs and came to see Len and Rita as parents, but she fell out with Len during her 17th birthday party when he embarrassed her by throwing her boyfriend Steve Dunthorne out of the house after he caught him trying to lead her upstairs. At the same party her brother Wayne showed up and caused trouble, which led to Len kicking him out too.

Having met the Boltons, Sharon decided that they were too posh for her liking and that she preferred the Faircloughs. She fled their care and returned to Coronation Street where she demanded to stay with Len and Rita until she turned eighteen. Social worker Don Worthington was against the proposition but eventually caved to Sharon's wishes as Len and Rita were equally keen for her to stay. Sharon occasionally 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 managed to persuade him to sell No.9 and move them into the newer house.

By September Sharon was pursing Brian Tilsley who, despite noticing her interest in him, didn't put her straight as he enjoyed the attention. Hearing that Brian and his wife Gail were looking for someone to babysit their son Nicky, Sharon saw an opportunity to get close to Brian and applied. When Sharon presented Brian with a keyring for his birthday he decided things had gone too far and warned her off. Sharon took no notice and instead stole a photograph of him. Gail, who until now had been in the dark, witnessed Brian struggling with Sharon to get his photograph back and saw Sharon as a silly teenager with a crush and asked Rita to sort her out.

When questioned by Rita, Sharon lied about her and Brian being in love and that he initiated it. They nearly fell out when Rita slapped Sharon after she called her a hypocrite as she'd lived with Harry Bates as his common-law wife. Sharon refused to believe that Brian didn't love her until he told her himself. It was eventually agreed that Sharon shouldn't see Brian any more, and at the end of the year she was told that Social Services had found her a job as a live-in kennel maid for the Stringers in Sheffield. 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.

The following year in December 1983 Sharon returned to the Street after hearing about Len's death in a road accident. She soon caught Curly Watts's eye and, even though he embarrassed her by reading out a poem about his feelings, she agreed to go out with him. On their date they ran into Terry Duckworth and Sharon ditched Curly to go to a UB40 concert with Terry. Sharon returned to Sheffield the next day.

1999-2020: Marriage to Ian Bentley

1999: Sharon reveals Ian's affair to the congregation and attacks him

Fifteen years later in January 1999, 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 her 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, and that was why had 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.

1999: Sharon returns the The Kabin keys to Rita as she leaves the street

Soon afterwards, Sharon began dating Danny Hargreaves, but it ended when Danny realised that he was in love with Sally. Sharon confronted Sally, saying how she had betrayed her. 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 for their new life in November 1999, leaving Rita close to tears.

Sharon and Ian remained married until he ran off with another woman. Shortly after his departure, Sharon was diagnosed with a bout of cancer, although she had managed to overcome it by 2021. To add insult to injury, her brother Wayne had passed away, although he left her his estate in his will.

2021 onwards: Criminal dealings

2021: Sharon returns to Weatherfield once again, but this time with a sinister motivation...

Although Sharon inherited her brother's estate, she found herself intimidated by her nephew (Wayne's son) Harvey Gaskell, who operated as a drug lord in Weatherfield. When Harvey was arrested by the police and held in custody due to Leanne Battersby, he forced Sharon to return to her old stomping ground Coronation Street in order to get to the bottom of Leanne's whereabouts so he could get her to change her testimony.

Creating the illusion that she wanted to get back in contact with Rita, Sharon turned up at The Kabin to reunite with her former stepmother, whom she hadn't had contact with for over 21 years. Sharon opened up about her recent troubles with cancer and Ian breaking up with her, and that she was lonely. She had also nominated Rita for a Weatherfield Golden Heart Award due to her fostering, although Rita lost out. Although Rita was stunned with Sharon's unexpected return, she still lent a sympathetic ear due to what Sharon had been through, unaware of her true motivation for coming back. Rita other former foster daughter Jenny Connor (the daughter of the late villainous Alan Bradley) and her friend Gemma Winter were suspicious of Sharon's return, with Jenny believing she was back for Rita's money. The two women were stunned when Sharon left them a £10,000 cheque for Rita and her phone number, asking them to pass it on.

Having not been back on the street for long, Sharon began to try and find out where Leanne had fled to by probing some of the residents, although they weren't so keen to talk to her. Sharon kept in communication with Harvey, and went to visit him in prison, where he threatened to tear down her whole world if she didn't continue to comply with him. Sharon began to speak to Sam Blakeman, the son of Leanne's partner Nick Tilsley. Worried that Harvey would use the boy as a weapon against Nick and Leanne, Sharon begged her nephew over the phone to leave Sam alone or she would stop helping him out. But Harvey warned her that she was too deep in it to back out now, and hung up on her.

Sharon was shopped to the police in June by Rita for her ties to Harvey, which left Sharon feeling crushed as she was hoping to get money from Rita to go on the run. Sharon made a deal with the police to testify against Harvey in exchange for her freedom. She attended court and gave evidence against Harvey, which guaranteed that he would face a long time in prison. With her nephew out of the way and no longer having control, Sharon took over his firm.

Personality

Sharon in 1982

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Relationships

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Background information

Tracie Bennett first appeared as Sharon Gaskell in Coronation Street from March to December 1982. She returned for eight episodes the following year in the aftermath of Len Fairclough's death.

Upon Bennett's return in January 1999, Sharon was meant to become one of the programme's core characters, as the new owner of The Kabin. Episode 4572 on 7th March - which saw Sharon jilt Ian Bentley at the altar - was the highest rated episode of the year, with 19.8 million viewers (combined figure, including repeat). However, Bennett left the programme again after less than a year, and the character departed after reconciling with Ian in Episode 4722 broadcast on 24th November 1999.

Promo of Sharon's 2021 return.

In January 2021 it was teased that an old character would return to reunite with Rita. In March this was confirmed to be Sharon, and her return scenes aired the following month. The character was originally intended to be brought back in 2019, but a combination of Tracie Bennett's busy schedule and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic meant that the character's return was pushed back by eighteen months. The character departed again in June 2021. [1]

First and last lines

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

---

"Yeah." (Final line, to Rita)

Appendices

Duckworths 1983.jpg
"If you've owt to say, spit it out before it flamin' well chokes yer"
This article or section is unfinished.
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List of addresses

Address Duration
9 Coronation Street 1st March 1982 to 23rd August 1982
7 Coronation Street 23rd August 1982 to 8th December 1982
Sheffield 8th December 1982 to 12th December 1983
7 Coronation Street 12th December 1983 to 4th January 1984
Sheffield 4th January 1984 to unknown
Nottingham Unknown to January 1999
6 Coronation Street February 1999 to March 1999
12 Coronation Street 15th March 1999 to 24th November 1999
Bolton 24th November 1999 to unknown
10a Coronation Street 23rd April 2021 to 1st June 2021

Employment history

Role Institution Duration
Kennel maid Unknown December 1982 to unknown date
Enforcer Harvey Gaskell's firm Unknown date to 23rd June 2021
Boss Harvey Gaskell's firm 23rd June 2021 to present

See also

External links

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