Thursday 23 January 2014

Character Study: Nicholas Paul Tilsley

Nicholas, or Nick as we all now know him, is the oldest son and firstborn child of Gail Potter Tilsley Platt Hillman McIntyre, or Gail, to make life easier. Gail married Brian Tilsley, the son of "Saint" Ivy Tilsley (later Brennan) in 1979 and as per usual for soap characters, didn't wait too long to get pregnant. Nick was born on New Year's Eve, 1980 looking into 1981.

The character of Nick has had three heads over the course of his lifetime. Warren Jackson played him from infant to mid teens. Adam Rickett was cast after Nick returned from finishing his schooling in Canada, hoping his pinup good looks would draw in the younger viewers. He stayed a few years, left and returned for a few more before taking off for New Zealand and made a name for himself in a soap there called Shortland Street.  While on Corrie, Adam had a lot to learn about acting and let's just leave it at that. Ben Price is the current Nick, having arrived at Christmas 2009. Coincidentally, Nick Tilsley was born on Dec. 31. Ben Price's birthday is January 1 though he's older than Nick is by 9 years and, to be honest, looks it! Never mind. He's done well as Nick.

Nick was the golden boy, blonde and blue eyed as a child and young adult and the apple of Granny Ivy's eye even if she didn't approve of Gail's motherhood methods. She was apalled when Gail decided to go back to work at the caff and marraige to Brian had many ups and downs though Brian did love his son. During a rocky patch, Gail had an affair with his cousin and about the time she and Brian got back together, she realized she was pregnant and wasn't sure who the father was. When that all came out, Brian left her and took Nick with him, even though the baby, daughter Sarah Louise, was proven to be his. Brian did forgive Gail and they remarried in 1988 but it didn't really go well. After another row, Brian went clubbing and got stabbed to death while trying to stop some thugs from bothering a woman.

At the age of 8, Nick had lost his beloved dad and had a difficult time adjusting.  This was one of the first storylines I remember when I started watching the show in 1989. By the end of that year, Gail had taken up with Martin Platt whom she married. Nick didn't mind Martin and agreed he wouldn't mind being adopted. Granny Ivy was horrified that her precious grandchildren, the last connection to her beloved Brian, would not carry his name. She held it against Gail for the rest of her life.

Nick entered his teenage years with a growth spurt and an attitude problem. He ran away once but came back a few weeks later, broke. He and Martin clashed many times and he seemed to resent Martin's authority when, of course, he wasn't Nick's "real" dad.

When Ivy died, she left her house to Nick on the proviso that he change his name back to Tilsley. Nick felt very entitled, thinking that, at the tender age of 15, he could live in his own house but Gail put her foot down. She did allow him to take back the name Tilsley because he wanted that but she sold the house to Ivy's husband, Don and saved the money for Nick's education. With all the stress and rowing, Gail and Martin's marraige was suffering. When they went to Canada with her new-found brother, Stephen, Nick decided to stay there and go to school. Gail seemed relieved at the distance and Nick seemed to be happy.

About a year later, Nick (now played by Adam Rickett) returned for Don's funeral, having completed his schooling and now was looking forward to some kind of post-secondary college or uni, at least, that's what Gail hoped for. Nick, now nearly grown, handsome and full of hormones, laid eyes on teenage tearaway, Leanne Battersby and fell in love. Leanne would prove to be the love of his life over time but not just yet. The Battersby family were not well liked and thought of as common. Gail was not amused to find that her son had taken up with Leanne but there wasn't much she could do about it. The young couple ran away to Scotland to get married. They kept it secret for a few weeks but it came out as secrets do and Gail was furious that Nick was on his way to ruining his life.

Cue further aggro and tension between mother and son. Never mind. Nick and Leanne settled into married life and lodged at Number 4 with Ashley Peacock. Leanne seemed to take to marraige well and matured while Nick still seemed more self centered.

He nearly got her into a bad situation when he contacted the man in prison who killed his father but pretended he was pretty young Leanne writing so the man would not recognise his name. When released, that man came looking for him and found Leanne but in the end, everyone was safe and by breeching parole, he was back in jail. Nick also did some life modelling at the art college to make extra money and found himself at the hands of a sexy art teacher. He stayed faithful but he flirted just the same and Leanne didn't like it one bit.

The ultimate end came when Leanne found herself pregnant. Nick was adamant that he was not ready to be a father and insisted that she have an abortion. She did, but the marraige broke down anyway. Nick left for Canada to work for his uncle Stephen and Leanne did not go with him.

Nick returned several years later, when his mother married Richard Hillman. He had a fling with Maria Sutherland whom he persuaded to return to Canada with him but  he worked long hours and neglected her so she came back. He didn't return again for another 2 years and soon found himself in a brief fling with Candice, a friend of his sister Sarah and then he took up with Maria again. He worked for Mike Baldwin for a short while, saving the life of his former mother-in-law Janice from a factory fire.

Leanne did her best to break them up because Maria had stolen Leanne's sister's boyfriend but Nick and Maria nearly got married anyway. It was not to be. He took a job in Nottingham without talking to her and she decided he was too selfish and she wanted to stay in Weatherfield. That was that.

In 2009, Nick returned to Weatherfield with a new face (Ben Price). He was almost 30, single and a grown-up business man now. He seems to have developed a somewhat ruthless streak as befits his new image, possibly taking a page out of Mike Baldwin's book, or trying to at least. He decided he wanted to buy into Underworld and when Carla refused, he used machinist Kelly Crabtree to steal information, using bribery and flattery. When he finally gets his hooks into the factory, Carla made him fire Kelly!

About this time, his mother was on trial for murdering her husband, Joe McIntyre. Joe had actually attempted to fake his own death and was accidentally killed but the police weren't buying it. Nick let his brother David talk him into bribing a witness and Nick took the money from Underworld to do it. Not a good move. He and Carla were on the outs but after Tony Gordon burned down the factory and Carla fled to L.A., Nick pulled the machinists together and set up the factory in the premises under the viaduct where ex-wife Leanne had tried to open a bar. Carla returned, took back her factory and there ensued a war with Nick over the staff and business contracts. They eventually settled their differences and Nick took the money and ran.

He ended up buying the bar premises and persuaded Leanne to help him open it as the Bistro. He still had old feelings for her and it turned out, probably due to pre-wedding (to Peter Barlow) jitters, so did she. They launched into an affair that came to a head just before her wedding. Nick was going to tell Peter about the affair but before he could, the Bistro caught fire, exploded and sent a passing tram crashing down over their heads. Peter nearly died and Leanne married him in hospital, much to Nick's anguish.

Nick, selfish as always, decided Peter wasn't good enough for Leanne and started a campaign to lure recovering alcoholic Peter, who was temporarily paralysed, into drinking again, hoping it would push Leanne away for good and back to him. Peter found out about the affair that happened months before and jilted Leanne at the altar when they were going to renew their vows. Nick's glee was short lived though, because Peter and Leanne made up even though Carla was waiting in the wings, just in case.

Nick continued to keep his eye on Leanne but dated hairdresser Natasha for awhile since the one he really wanted was unavailable. Natasha knew Nick was still drawn to Leanne so just when Nick was going to break up with her, she told him she was pregnant. She was but Nick wanted nothing to do with the baby so she had a termination. When Nick had second thoughts about the baby, Natasha pretended she was still pregnant. That lasted a short while until Gail blew the secret out of the water, having snooped in Natasha's medical records. Natasha attempted suicide but Nick found her and got her help in time. He begged forgiveness but knowing he didn't really love her, Natasha walked away.

Nick also had a brief fling with Becky McDonald after her marraige to Steve fell apart, horrifying Gail but Becky and Nick agreed they really would be better off as friends. Still, when Becky found herself drunk and alone on Christmas and caused a fire in her flat, it was Nick that pulled her out, saving her life.

Nick dated Eva Price for awhile but eventually she realized he really wasn't that into her and finally, after Peter and Leanne broke up over his affair with Carla Connor, he got the girl he really wanted.

Leanne seemed to lean back to Nick in rebound and though she insisted she loved Nick, still had a last minute wobble over Peter on her Christmas wedding day to him. Nick, hurt and angry, jilted her but soon forgave her when she professed her feelings for him profusely. They got married and seem to be strong together, now.

>But here's the thing. On that aborted wedding day, Nick and David's wife, Kylie, had a drunken one night stand. Kylie's baby could be Nick's and David has been wreaking havoc taking his revenge on his brother.

In a confrontation, Nick was determined to tell Leanne and everyone else what happened but, panicked, David caused the car nearly to crash. While catching their breath over the near miss, a large truck crashed into them, leaving Nick in a coma. It was a close call and even though most of his physical injuries are healed, he has brain damage that may or may not ever be repaired. He can be surly, stressed and he has trouble holding his temper. He's not himself and Nick is worried he'll hurt Leanne even more than when he lashed out and slapped her on Christmas Day. 

He knows Kylie's baby isn't his and he knows David's part in everything. He can see that Leanne is pulling away from him, though she professes that she still loves him. The disappointment, stress and resentment has added to the personality change caused by the damage. Will Nick pull out of this or will he remain a "bad boy"? I think he will improve over time, gradually but it's going to be an uphill battle for both him and all the people he loves. Whether he will ever forgive David is yet to be known. I'm guessing not.

Nick has always had a selfish streak, most likely because his mother Gail has always treated him like the golden boy who could do no wrong. It's kind of creepy the way she still fawns over him!  Everyone knows Gail can't seem to let go of the apron strings but nobody can really accuse Nick of being a Mama's boy. He respects his mother but is pretty much his own man.

He's been a bit less arrogant in this latest incarnation and his brain injury seems to have humbled him quite a bit. He was never all that close to his sister and brother, mainly due to the age difference and living away from home for much of his adult life but he still felt some degree of loyalty towards them up until now, as far as David is concerned and David has always resented Nick so their relationship will likely  always be difficult.

Whether Nick and Leanne will keep their marraige intact after all the stress remains to be seen. Nick isn't always a very likeable person but he's a good, classic Corrie character.

Thanks to Corriepedia, and several of Daran Little's excellent books.


Anonymous said...

I can't remember. Does Kylie know about the circumstances of Sarah Lou's beginnings? It seems like Gail has conveniently forgotten.

Tvor said...

I don't think it's been mentioned, not even by Audrey to Gail, more's the pity

Anonymous said...

There are enough kettles and pots in that family to stock the Bistro kitchen!

Tvor said...

Ain't that the truth!

DavidS said...

I think he's Nicholas Paul, not Nicholas John.

Tvor said...

Ohhhh I believe you're correct. I shall change that, thanks

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