Bet Lynch

Full name: Elizabeth Theresa Lynch (formerly Gilroy, née Lynch)
Patrick and Mary Lynch
4 May 1940, Clegg Street, Weatherfield, Lancashire
Alec Gilroy (9 September 1987)
Martin Andrew (later adopted as Downes). f: Joe Mason; b: 1954; d: 1975

Played by: Julie Goodyear
(1966, May 1970 - October 1995; 10 - 23 June 2002, Nov. 21 - 2003)

Elizabeth (Bet) Theresa Lynch was born 4 May 1940. Her parents were Patrick and Mary Lynch, although her father took off when Bet was 6 months old. She received a strict Catholic upbringing from her mother in their home on Clegg Street in Weatherfield - but it didn't stop her becoming Miss Weatherfield in 1955. When she was 16 she met Joe Mason at a party. He was 12 years older than her. She got drunk and got pregnant. Joe disappeared immediately upon hearing the news. She gave birth to Martin and almost immediately her mother arranged to have the authorities take away the child and put him up for adoption; when they came, Bet was helpless to prevent them as her mother had locked her in a room. Six weeks later, Martin was adopted by a family named Downes.

From that point in time until 1966, there is no information concerning what she did or where she lived, other than the fact that she had relationships and sexual involvement with a string of men.

On 23 May 1966, Bet Lynch first showed up in the street. She took a plastic welding job at Elliston's PVC factory on Coronation Street, which was located on the side of the street currently containing the even-numbered residences. She had an affair with her boss, the foreman John Benjamin. She gave Lucille Hewitt a black eye whilst at the factory, mainly because of her jelousy at Lucille's turn of speed at welding.

The factory was demolished in 1968. At some point, probably then, Bet took a job in a launderette.

Bet returned to the Street in May 1970, and in approx. September 1970, the fact of Bet's illegitimate son was revealed. Between July and October she shared the shop flat with her old friend Irma Barlow. By December, Bet had been hired as junior barmaid at The Rovers Return by Billy Walker. Billy was the somewhat ne'er-do-well son of Annie Walker, who became the Rovers' landlady in 1937 or 1939 (there's conflicting information). Annie Walker ruled The Rovers with an iron hand. She thought Bet to be cheap and tacky and tarty. However, Billy hired Bet while Annie Walker was out shopping. Annie wanted Bet sacked, but by the end of the first week it was clear that Bet's presence was increasing business, so Bet was allowed to stay. Betty Turpin, who was already a barmaid at The Rovers, did not like Bet at the beginning, either.

Bet wore very gaudy, very noticeable earrings, usually large and dangly, pretty much up until the time she married Alec Gilroy (see later). She became notorious for her earrings. Viewers of the show sent in thousands and thousands of pairs of earrings to Bet during those years.

In 1970, Bet had a relationship with a dubious character named Frank Bradley. In 1971, she had a relationship with a footballer named Eddie Duncan. Approx. July 1973 Bet was mugged and ended up in hospital. Approx. July 1974 Martin Downes, her son, shows up in The Rovers looking for his mother, Bet. Once he observed her, however, he thought she was vulgar, and left the street without identifying himself to her.

In early 1975, Bet had an affair with Len Fairclough (who would eventually marry Rita). However, she ended the affair because Len refused to live with her. At about this time, Bet receives news that Martin, who has been a soldier posted to Ulster, has been killed there in a car crash. She had never even got the chance to meet him. She was absolutely devastated. She became horribly depressed, unable to cope, and somewhat catatonic. Eddie Yeats, who was a loveable, kind-hearted, slightly dodgy ex-con, took care of her as a friend and helped her snap out of it.

In November 1976, Mike Baldwin bought No5 Coronation Street. He and Bet had already started an affair, and in December 1976, Bet moved into No5, ostensibly as Mike's "housekeeper". However, Mike had another mistress in London - Anne Woodley, a divorcee with two sons, and whom he stayed the weekends with. Anne showed up at No5 one day, discovered Bet there, went ballistic at Mike, and got Mike to kick Bet out of No5.

Or, at least he tried to. After both Mike and Bet tried to change the locks on No5, Mike grew tied of all the bother it was causing, and sold the house to Ray Langton in March 1977. Bet had to move back into the flat over the corner shop, paying £6 a week rent. Unbeknown to her, Mike paid the difference, as the rent was actually £8 a week. Bet occasionally 'worked' in the shop often being more hindrance then help, and always running up a large slate of fags and booze.

In April 1980, Bet stole lorry driver Dan Johnson from Elsie Tanner. Bet was besotted and annoyed at landlords Alf & Renee Roberts' disapproval of Dan staying overnight, she quit the Corner Shop flat and set up home with Dan in a bedsit (flat No3) at No83 Victoria Street. Dan admitted he had 'committments' in London, but Bet chose to turn a blind eye to these, believing she had finally found true happiness. She became friendly with fellow tenant Keith Sadler, taking him under her wing, but Dan completely misread the situation, first warning Keith off and then punching him in the stomach - leaving Bet to see the sort of man Dan really was. She complained to Dan, but he just walked out on her, telling her she was just another of his women.

In the September, Bet lost her handbag in Marshall's department store. Someone claiming to be from Marshall's telephoned her, saying her bag had been handed in, and asking her to come and collect it. While Bet was at Marshall's, her flat was burgled and completely cleaned out. All her friends rallied round and donated clothes, household goods, cosmetics, jewellery and money. Bet was genuinely overwhemled by the public support she got, never realising how much she was held in people's affections.

In April 1982, she was (easily !) talked into an affair by Jack Duckworth, which lasted for a couple of weeks until Vera used Bet as an alibi for her own affair, and Jack couldn't resist catching her out. Not wanting to be caught in the middle of the Duckworth's fighting, Bet rapidly called the affair to a halt. Later in the year, Bet's flat was demolished, and she moved back into the corner shop flat in June 1982. By this time Alf owned the shop on his own; he didn't want to rent the flat, but somehow she talked him into it.

In 1984, Betty Turpin took in a lodger, a policeman named Tony Cunliffe. Bet fell for him, but he dumped her for Rita, who in turn dumped him soon afterwards.

In 1983, Annie Walker retired. Her son Billy took over the licence of The Rovers. He was involved in various dodgy things and screwed up frequently. He was the landlord for less than a year; he got in trouble with the brewery, and the tenancy was purchased back by Newton & Ridley.

The brewery decided to appoint a manager rather than sell the licence. Sarah Ridley appointed Bet manageress. Bet was flabbergasted, but ecstatic. She moved out of the corner shop flat into The Rovers in January 1985. Soon after, on holiday she has a fling with a barman named Frank Mills. Frank came to stay at the Rovers intermittently from August 1985, but was given his marching orders on New Years Day 1986 after making a play for barmaid Gloria Todd.

In June 1986 a fire gutted The Rovers. It was caused by a ham-fisted attempt at electrical repair by Jack Duckworth, replacing a fuse with one of too high a rating. Bet was sleeping upstairs when the fire broke out, and nearly died. She was saved by Kevin Webster. The brewery decided that it wasn't worth rebuilding The Rovers, and decided it should be demolished. Fortunately, they relented, and rebuilt, renovated, and redecorated it. The grand re-opening was on 13 August 1986.

The Graffiti Club had opened across Rosamund Street from The Rovers in September 1983. At the time of the fire, Alec Gilroy was running it, and he enjoyed a significant increase in business while The Rovers was out of commission. Once The Rovers was re-opened, he started nosing around, checking out the competition. This is how he got to know Bet. Actually, business at The Rovers was down, and eventually Bet booked some acts represented by Alec to try and increase the Rovers' business. Alec became attracted to Bet; Bet tolerated Alec.

In the Spring of 1987, Newton & Ridley decided they wanted to sell The Rovers' licence. This meant that Bet was out unless she could purchase the tenancy herself. She required something in the order of £12,000 to £15,000 to do so, and she was turned down for a bank loan. Because Alec was attracted to her, he lent her the required cash. She purchased the tenancy and became landlady. However, financially, things turned out to be very tight and very difficult. Bet had trouble coming up with enough money to make repayments to Alec; she panicked, and ran away to Torremolinos without telling anyone.

The brewery found out, and Alec made a deal with them: they agreed to make him temporary manager of the Rovers so that he could mind his investment. No one heard anything from Bet for 3 months. When she finally contacted the brewery, Alec flew there to find her. She was working as a waitress in a cafe catering to British tourists. She felt humiliated, hopeless, and like her life was over. He felt strongly for her, realized that he loved her, and proposed. In so doing, he offered her both marriage and the opportunity to be in charge at the Rovers again, this time as the wife of the landlord. She would be able to go back to Weatherfield without losing face or status. She accepted, and they returned to Weatherfield. About a month later, on 9 September 1987, they were married.

In approx. March 1988, Bet was shocked to discover she was pregnant. Alec was dumbfounded by the news as well: they were both absolutely gobstruck. However, they fairly quickly adapted to the idea. Tragically, one week later just as they were starting to look forward to the possibility, Bet suffered a miscarriage. They both took it very hard, but each put on a public face and perservered.

No major events or developments really until 19 July 1991. Alec was informed his daughter Sandra and her husband had been killed in a car crash. Alec and Bet became guardians of their 14 year old daughter, Victoria Arden. About a year later, approx. September 1992, Alec was offered a job in Southampton, overseeing the entertainment acts on the ships of Sunliners Cruises. Bet and Alec sold the tenancy back to the brewery and prepared to move to Southampton. At the very last minute, Bet realized that The Rovers was her whole life, and she couldn't leave. Alec went on to Southampton alone, and Newton & Ridley took Bet on as manageress again: a step down from being landlady, but at least she still had a job and a home.

Things remained fairly quiet for Bet until in 1994 she met truck driver Charlie Whelan. They became involved in a fairly rocky relationship, and Charlie moved into the Rovers with Bet in July 1994. Bet was quite hurt when in October he ran off to Germany with Tanya Pooley, a barmaid at the Rovers.

Bet remained manageress there until October 1995. Once again, as in 1987, the brewery wanted to sell the Rovers; however, this time they wanted to sell of the entire pub, not just the tenancy, and Bet would need to purchase the pub if she wanted to keep her home and her job. However, she could not come up with the needed £67,000 the brewery was requesting. Hurt that none of her friends or family would help her come up with the money, and with all her wordly possessions in a couple of suitcases, she left the pub, the street, and the people who had been virtually her entire world for nearly 30 years.

It transpired Bet had ended up running bars in Spain and the Canaries, but eventually come back to Britain to run a bar in Brighton. She returned to the Street briefly in June 2002, ostensibly for Betty Williams retirement, but actually to take part in a court case against a former lover and business partner who had allegedly swindled money from her and other investors. When she lost this case she retreated back to Brighton with her tail between her legs to lick her wounds.

The fall of 2003 finds Bet attending a licensee do in Blackpool where she crossed paths with Liz McDonald who was working in a pub in the vicinity. Cecil Newton, of Newton and Ridley's, an old acquaintance of Bet's is more than pleased to see Bet again. She is rather reluctant to spend too much time with Cecil, aware of his reputation as a womanizer but slowly he wins her around and proposes marriage, someone to keep him company in his retirement years. Bet, never one to turn down an opportunity, agrees. In the meantime, she gets tangled up in Liz's problems dealing with her randy boss and the escape of Jim McDonald. Jim and Liz don't manage their escape to Ireland and despite Cecil's son Paul's objections and Private Investigations, meets Cecil at the registry office. It is not to be however. Cecil has a heart attack and later dies in hospital. Bet returns to Brighton with Liz accompanying her.

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