Died: 23 August 1995
Children: Brian b: 15 October 1958; d: February 1989 (f: Bert Tilsley) though Ivy and Bert had had three miscarriages before Brian was born.
Played by: Lynne
Appeared: 1971 - 1994
The character of Ivy first appeared in The Street in 1971, but it took until 1979 for the writers to decide on Ivy's background. She first appeared as Ivy Tyldesley, married to Wilf; her name soon changed to Tilsley. In 1975, Ivy was complaining of her heartache that she and her husband Jack were childless. But in 1978, her son Brian started dating Gail Potter, and the next year Ivy, Brian and her husband Bert moved into No5.
Ivy worked as a machinist at the Mark Brittain warehouse, and after that had burned down, as shop steward and later supervisor (from June 1980) at Baldwin's Casuals. In 1979, the Tilsley family became more defined and moved into No5, and the character of 'Poison Ivy' developed. Ivy loved to interfere; both in factory politics and in the lives of her son Brian and his wife Gail. A staunch Roman Catholic, Ivy had 'encouraged' Anglican Gail to get married in St Boniface's - an RC church.
Her first husband Bert died of a stroke in a psychiatric hospital in January 1984, having never recovered from an explosion at Brian's garage. In 1985, she suprisingly stood up to 'R Brian and sent him back to his wife after he had walked out on Gail. The next year she welcomed him back with open arms as Gail had an affair with Brian's Australian cousin, Ian Latimer.
In September 1987, Ivy found a new man, taxi driver Don Brennan. It was a relationship based on companionship rather than passion - they were both widowed Catholics. They married in June 1988, and Don moved into No5.
1989 was a bad year for Ivy - her son Brian was murdered, and she became unemployed as Balwin's Casual was demolished. Increasingly throughout the rest of her life, Ivy became obsessed with the memory of Bert and Brian, and with the welfare of Brian's son Nicky. Brian's daughter, Sarah-Louise, escaped much of this attention as she was female and there was always some doubt of parentage in Ivy's mind.
In 1990, Ivy started work at Bettabuys, with Vera, Reg and Curly. By 1992, Don found it impossible to live with Ivy's obsessions and interfering, and started an affair with barmaid Julie Dewhurst. After the affair finished, Ivy turned to drink, lost her Bettabuys job, and Don only agreed to stay at No5 for Ivy's well-being, sleeping in seperate rooms - the flame of love had died.
In March 1994, Ivy abruptly left the Street to "be a sunbeam for Jesus" as Audrey kindly put it, by going to a religious retreat, to devote herself full-time to her beloved Brian, Bert and God. In August 1995, Don went to the retreat to ask Ivy for a divorce, but this became academic, as three weeks later Father Donnelly appeared in The Street to break the news to Don that Ivy had died of a stroke - prompting allegations from Nicky that Don had killed his grandmother.
However, Ivy's meddling continued beyond the grave. She had
always wanted grandson Nicky to retain the surname Tilsley, and
stipulated in her will that Nicky would inherit her house (No5)
- but only if he reverted from Platt to Tilsley, much to Gail
and Martin's annoyance. Husband Don was almost evicted as the
Platts and Don fought over Ivy's legacy, eventually ending with
Don buying No5 from Nick for £12,000.