Resident Gary Windass is Weatherfield’s latest villain.

The identity of the factory saboteur and Coronation Street’s new villain has finally been revealed. 

After months of speculation, finger-pointing and debate, millions of viewers watched as Gary was unveiled as the man behind the death of Rana Habib.

During tonight’s episode, Gary was heard listening to a message he had left on Sarah’s phone earlier this week. Believing that he was about to be killed by Rick Neelan, the recording saw him confess to sabotaging the Underworld roof prior to Rana becoming a fatality in its collapsing. 

With Sarah’s phone one of a number stolen by a manic Carla, and with Gary deleting the message after being the first to recover the phone from Carla’s possession, Weatherfield residents are still unaware of the truth. Over the coming weeks Nick remains the number one suspect whilst Gary resists making a further confession.

And in a bid to get his life back on track Gary will be seen getting drawn into Rick’s murky money lending business..

Below actor Mikey North talks about his character’s new life of crime.

Gary plays back the incriminating voicemail he left on Sarah’s phone before erasing it

How did you feel when you found out it was going to be Gary who was responsible for the factory collapse?

I found out a good few months ago, it’s been hard keeping it under wraps for so long, it’s been helpful that Gary’s been off the radar really, you never really thought that he was the number one suspect, there’s been little bits brought in, his reaction when Sarah asked him about it was maybe a slight signpost to his guilt but it’s been helped by the fact he was under the radar. If you watch it back now though you will see subtle clues that it was him. You’ll see him in the background watching Imran go about his work and he’s looking pretty guilty.

Is it hard to play those subtle hints without giving it away?

The tendency as an actor is to put that into every scene and carry it with you but that might have given the game away too soon here. Plus Gary has had other things to contend with which have kept him quiet so I’ve scaled his reaction back.

Have you had to keep quiet amongst family and friends?

It’s not been widely known that it was me and I’ve kept it like that, I remember going up to see the boss and it was exciting to learn what’s in store for Gary. It’s definitely been great to play and there’s lots more to come yet.

When members of the public have been coming up to you asking you who did it have you had a fall guy?

Yes Nick all the way, he looked pretty guilty didn’t he?! Nick and David hate on poor Windass in every scene, even when it’s not scripted, so I was more than happy to blame Nick haha.

So why did Gary sabotage the roof?

He was desperate for work, he and Sarah were sleeping on air beds at the Platts and Gary couldn’t get any work, then there was Carla sitting on the fact that the factory roof needed fixing. It wasn’t going to fall down any time soon but Gary thought if he could speed up that process he’d force her hand into getting the work done sooner.

He damaged the roof a bit more, intending to hurry things along, but it still wouldn’t have come down if Gina and Sally hadn’t been up on it protesting. He didn’t expect anyone to be in the building at the weekend when he tampered with it and he certainly never intended for anyone to get hurt. He was just desperate to get some work, but like always with Gary he does something in the heat of the moment then is left paying the price.

So how did he feel when he heard that Rana had died?

Shocked and devastated, then left trying to hide his guilt. Gary never set out to hurt anyone, he just wanted a better life for he and Sarah, everything he did he did for Sarah but as time goes on and Sarah starts to distance herself from Gary it looks like that it was all for nothing.

Is Gary consumed by his guilt?

There are moments when he’s so weighed down by it but Gary comes out fighting. He’s desperate to hold onto Sarah and he’s suddenly got even bigger things to worry about with Rick. One problem is suddenly eclipsed by another. If he thought things were bad after the factory collapse then life is about to get a whole lot worse for Gary.

Will we see a return to the Gary of old?

Gary’s darker, edgier side has always been there, he’s a Windass after all. When he first started in the show he was very hot headed and always getting into trouble but then he joined the army and I think that straightened him out a bit. But Gary’s always been unpredictable and after suffering with PTSD when he left the army that part of his personality has started to rear its head again. We’ve seen it when he tackled Phelan, we’ve seen it through his feud with Seb and we’re going to see a very different Gary over the coming months.

So is Gary Corrie’s next big villain?

He’s not a villain as such in the guise of Phelan, but he’s definitely on the wrong side of his law. Gary suddenly has a lot more to contend with, he’s fighting for his survival and that’s what makes Gary so dangerous. Everything he’s done was for Sarah so when she turns his back on him he’s got nothing more to lose and that makes him much more dangerous.

Gary is in deep and he’s effectively fighting for his life. Gary’s not evil, he’s done a very bad thing and he’ll have to live with that for the rest of his life, but is he prepared to go to jail for it? Maybe not and now he’s got Rick on his back as well we’ll see Gary come out fighting and I love playing that edge to him. Gary can make very rash decisions and then is forced down a path of no return.

Were you worried when you heard the direction the character was going in, given that soap villains usually have to pay the price for their crimes?

It did cross my mind but as an actor you have to relish being given these storylines and I’m so excited to see what they’re going to throw at me. I’ve been here for over 10 years now and this is the most exciting period of time in Gary’s life. You want big storylines so I’ll take whatever they can throw at me.

I don’t think Gary has any intention of being caught for a long time yet and he won’t go down without a fight that’s for sure. The stakes are high now for Gary and he’s got nothing to lose.

Going forward what are we going to see from Gary?

This is the start of the next chapter in Gary’s life and I can’t wait to get stuck in and see what the writers have in store for him, bring it on I say.

Coronation Street airs on ITV, STV and UTV.

Rana was killed when the factory roof fell on her earlier this year
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