Coronation Street star Paula Wilcox on Elaine and Geoff's complex backstory

Daniel Kilkelly
·5-min read

From Digital Spy

Coronation Street spoilers follow.

Coronation Street newcomer Paula Wilcox has explained the full backstory of newcomer Elaine Jones.

Monday night's episode (July 27) revealed that Elaine is the long-lost mother of Tim Metcalfe and previously went by the name of Philippa.

Elaine is the first wife of evil Geoff Metcalfe and was abused by him when they were together. She ultimately escaped from his control, but had to leave Tim behind.

In Elaine's absence, Geoff had a subsequent relationship with his second wife Tessa and pretended to Tim that she was his biological mother.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

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Discussing the complex storyline in a recent chat with Digital Spy and other media, Paula explained: "Elaine had been married to Geoff and she was Tim's mother, but she has been shut out from their lives by Geoff for nearly 50 years. She hadn't seen Tim since he was a baby, but she was absolutely devoted to her baby and there was no doubt about that.

"But Geoff became so scary. I think maybe we haven't seen how scary he can be up to now, although he has been pretty frightening already. It's very real, what he was doing to her. I think that for Elaine, it was absolutely terrifying to have a baby in danger as well as yourself in danger.

"What happened in the end was that Elaine had to save herself. Geoff seemed very fond of his son, but not very fond of his wife. She felt that the best way was to leave her baby in comparative safety and at least save herself. I think she did feel she was in mortal danger, so she got out.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

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"I suspect that for about 20 years or whatever, she buried it, tried not to think about it and tried to make a new life. Then I suspect that, gradually in time, these things have to be dealt with. She got some help, either from her doctor or psychotherapist or from group therapy.

"I think it's very clear from her appearance at the prison and the way she talked to Yasmeen, that she has done a certain amount of work and is quite savvy now about the effect that these people have on those they are bullying and abusing."

She continued: "I think Elaine is quite strong. To all intents and purposes, she's made a very good recovery, outwardly. Nonetheless, those scars are still there.

"She knew that all the time, every day, there was a little boy somewhere and she didn't know whether he was safe or in danger. She couldn't find him because Geoff made sure she couldn't find them. She's changed her name, but I think as time goes by and it's coming up for 50 years, the kind of trauma of all of that is probably starting to resonate."

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

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Paula also noted that attitudes towards coercive control in relationships would have been different when Elaine was with Geoff in the early '70s.

She said: "50 years ago, nobody would have talked about this. 50 years ago, you would have run away and you'd have been lucky to start a new life. You would not have felt comfortable talking to anybody about that, because it would have been seen as quite shameful.

"Over the years, I think it's become more and more possible to discuss it. Maybe she's been to group therapy, maybe she's found a counsellor that she really likes. But now we are all talking about all sorts of phenomena that years ago were beyond the pale.

"Elaine saw the story about Yasmeen in the paper. Now it feels like the time when it would be possible at least to stand up and say something, because so many women now do stand up and they do put their head above the parapet. That makes it easier for women who sheltered all their lives from being honest.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

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"It's taken Elaine a while to come out, but when she saw that Yasmeen was actually in prison for attacking Geoff, she could see that's just the wrong way around.

"Coupled with this now building sense of injustice, unfairness and longing to see her son, it's a mixture of all sort of emotions. She's having to force herself to do something about it and to say something about it."

Coronation Street currently airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm on ITV.

Organisations including Women's Aid can provide further support and information on coercive control or coercive behaviour.

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