Betty Williams



Full name: Elizabeth Williams (née Preston, previously Turpin)
Born: 4 February 1920
Siblings: Maggie


  1. Cyril Turpin (d: February 1974)
  2. Billy Williams (20 October 1995, St Mary's parish church) (d: 3 November 1997)

Children: Gordon Clegg (b: 20 May 1950; f: Ted Farrell)

Played by: Betty Driver
First appeared: 2 June 1969

Betty is a lynchpin of the Rovers Return. Although she has mellowed in recent years, she has never suffered fools gladly, and has always had a keen ear for gossip. Anyone crosses Betty at their own peril. Betty worked in a mill after leaving school (Clackers Lane Elementary and Senior Schools), and worked in a munitions factory in the Second World War. After the war she became a schools meals assistant.

Betty first appeared offering to help her sister Maggie Clegg run the Corner Shop, and moving into the shop flat with her husband Cyril. Maggie greatly resented her bossy older sister trying to run her life and she quickly took advantage of Annie Walker's holiday in Majorca (as winner of the perfect Landlady competition) by persuading Jack Walker to give Betty a barmaid's job at The Rovers. Very soon there was friction between no-nonsense Betty and Annie with her airs-and-graces, and by Christmas 1969, Betty was sacked. She immediately got a job at the Flying Horse, and only returned to The Rovers after wringing an apology out of Annie.

In May 1970, Cyril returned home to the flat to find Betty being terrorised by ex-convict Keith Lucas (Cyril was his arresting officer), and furious at this, attacked Lucas with an iron bar, narrowly avoiding killing him. Cyril was hauled before a disciplinary committee, and the next month he was retired from the force on a full pension, and he and Betty moved into 37 Hillside Crescent.

In December 1970, Bet Lynch became junior barmaid at The Rovers, and from then on Betty became Elizabeth to Annie, so she could differentiate the two barmaids.

1974 was a bad year for Betty. In February, Cyril died of a heart attack, leaving Betty devastated, and in July her sister Maggie married Ron Cooke and emigrated to Zaire. Maggie's 'son' Gordon came back from his accountancy job in London to look after the shop, and stayed with his aunt, but after finding him literally with his trousers round his ankles with a local girl, Betty ordered him back to London, and the shop was rented out to the Hopkins. In December, Megan Hopkins was moving some furniture in the flat when she came across a birth certificate - Gordon Clegg's. He was born Gordon Preston; his mother was Elizabeth Preston, his father unknown. After a little research she found that Elizabeth Preston was now Betty Turpin. When Maggie and Betty found out, they told Gordon his dark secret. Betty, his real mother, had an affair with a married sailor during the war, and the resulting baby was adopted by Betty's sister Maggie and her husband Les Clegg. In February 1975 Megan Hopkins tried to blackmail Gordon with the information, in an attempt to buy the shop at a reduced price, but they were summarily evicted.

Things started a little better in 1975 as Betty won Newton and Ridley's 'Personality of the Pub' competition in March, but a drunked Gordon revealed his true mother in November, and for a while Betty found it hard to face The Rovers regulars.

In August 1977, Betty again stormed out of The Rovers when Annie accused her of stealing £45, and suggested she consult a psychiatrist about her 'problem'. Betty was on the verge of taking the case to court when she was finally persuaded to return to the pub.

Apart from being proposed to by potman Fred Gee (whom she turned down immediately), Betty then had a quiet time, serving in The Rovers. In January 1982, Gordon returned to show his mother his fiancée Caroline, but upset his mother by marrying without inviting her to the wedding. In May 1982, Betty was mugged by Raymond Attwood from Ken Barlow's youth club at the Community Centre, and ended up in hospital with a broken arm. An old flame of Betty's, Ted Farrell saw a newspaper article about the attack and paid her a visit. As far as Ted was concerned, they had been close, but when he moved down to Portsmouth and married a local girl that was the end of their friendship. What Ted didn't know was that after Betty said goodbye to him in 1947 at London Road Station in Manchester, she found she was pregnant with Gordon (hang on... he wasn't born until 1950 !??). She couldn't contact him, and in the end she told nobody about Gondon's father, not even Cyril or Gordon himself. When she met Ted after all those years she agonised whether to tell him the truth, but felt it better not to stir up the past, and Betty and Ted parted with him thinking they were always "just sweethearts".

In May 1983 Betty acted as Bet's chaperone when they went out for a day with Fred Gee - and ended up paddling in the lake at Tatton Park as Fred's Rover 2000 (bought off Annie Walker) ended up in the lake. The Rovers staff finally arrived back late to find the pub in chaos, as prophetically, Vera Duckworth was behind the bar, helping out.

1985 dawned with a new boss for Betty - Bet Lynch, and in March the arrival of her grandson Peter. The following year Betty spent a few months in London with Gordon, Caroline and Peter, when The Rovers was being refurbished. Sometime between now and the 1990's, Betty moved houses just down the road to Nº22 Hilside Crescent.

In January 1989, Bet's husband - Alec Gilroy - employed retired ventriloquist Charlie Bracewell as barman. He was quickly palmed off onto Stella Rigby at the White Swan when he tried to interfere with Betty.

There was more heartache for Betty in 1992 when The Rovers was forced to stop selling food as its' kitchen didn't meet Food & Hygene standards. Over the years, The Rovers had become famous for Betty's hotpots, and latterly Betty had worked more in the kitchen than behind the bar. She was effectively redundant, and left The Rovers in tears. However, the Gilroys reluctantly agreed to refurbish the kitchen, and Betty returned.

In 1994, Alf Roberts again became mayor of Weatherfield and as his wife Audrey was reluctant to take part in civic duties, asked Betty to be his mayoress. Betty was flattered and agreed - following in the footsteps of Annie Walker, who was Alf's mayoress in 1973.

On 8 May 1995, 50 years to the day, two old soldiers returned to the pub they celebrated VE Night in - The Rovers Return. Betty was suprised to see one of them was an old flame - Billy Williams. A few days later, Billy invited Betty to a tea dance and confessed that he had often thought about her over the years and that he had often written to her too. Betty told Billy that she too had written to him but neither of them received each others letters because of the war. Billy also revealed that in one letter he had proposed marriage.

Betty turned down Billy's proposal, together with an offer to go on holiday together, but called on Billy when she was burgled in September 1995. Billy stayed the night, and arranged for a burglar alarm to be fitted, and then proposed marriage again, or even simply living together, both of which Betty refused. However, next month she relented, and later in October 1995 they were married.

At the end of October, Jack and Vera Duckworth became the new owners of The Rovers Return, and when she returned from honeymoon, Betty was very suprised to find out who her new bosses were. It only took a few days for Betty to walk out of The Rovers yet again - this time because Vera asked her to become a cleaner as well as barmaid and cook the hotpots. Vera started with her own hotpot, but soon had to turn to Fred Elliott for supplies. Again, the licencee of The Rovers had to go round to Betty and apologise before she would consider coming back.

In December 1995, Alf and Audrey Roberts travelled down to Buckingham Palace for Alf's OBE. Audrey had a blazing row with taxi driver Don Brennan, resulting in Audrey being left at a motorway service station, and Alf travelling on alone. As he's being driven down the Mall, who should Alf see but Betty - who just happens to be down in London for the day, and so Alf was accompanied by his former mayoress when he received his OBE - much to Audrey's annoyance !








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