Coronation Street boss reveals why he wants gangster Harvey Gaskell to return

Will Mellor as Harvey in prison on Coronation Street
Not over yet: Corrie's producer wants Will Mellor to reprise his role as Harvey Gaskell (Image credit: ITV)

Gangster Harvey Gaskell has caused terror and devastation on Coronation Street in recent years… and he may not be finished just yet.

Coronation Street producer Iain MacLeod has revealed that he would love to bring back the murderous menace — played by recent Strictly Come Dancing 2022 contestant Will Mellor — and is excited at the prospect of scenes involving Harvey and his drug-dealer brother Damon Hay (Ciaran Griffiths), who arrived on the cobbles last month.

Harvey is currently behind bars for the murder of Sam Blakeman’s mother, Natasha.

Natasha Coronation Street week 41

Innocent victim: Natasha Blakeman (Rachel Leskovac) was murdered by Harvey in 2021. (Image credit: ITV)

Says MacLeod, “I would love to think at some point we can revisit Will Mellor. It’s tricky when characters are in jail — how do you import their influence into the show? But we’ve overcome more difficult hurdles than that in the past. 

“At some point, I’d love to think we can get Harvey on the street and stick him in a room with Damon. By the time Harvey were to get out [of prison], he and Damon would be absolute enemies. 

“The idea of Harvey versus Damon in the future is tantalising.”

Will Mellor as Harvey Gaskell

Terror: Harvey almost destroyed the lives of Simon Barlow and mum Leanne Battersby. (Image credit: ITV)

Harvey, the nephew of Rita Sullivan’s former foster daughter Sharon Gaskell, first appeared in Coronation Street in early 2021, as the drug lord who forced Simon Barlow to deal for him. He was arrested and held on remand after Leanne Battersby reported him to the police.

Later that year, he escaped from prison and returned to Weatherfield, intent on killing Leanne, but he fatally shot Natasha Blakeman in a case of mistaken identity and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Harvey had a third stint on Coronation Street in late 2022 as part of a storyline in which Sam visited him in prison as part of a restorative justice programme. Having learnt that Sam’s father, Nick, was struggling to buy Debbie Webster’s share of the Bistro, he offered the businessman a loan, who secretly accepted it.

This decision has, of course, come back to bite Nick on the backside. When Damon Hay later pitched up, he told Nick that the money Harvey gave him was actually his. 

Damon then manipulated Nick into giving him a share of the restaurant in return and is now using the premises for drug deliveries.

Damon blackmails Nick

Manipulated: Nick (Ben Price) has been forced to follow Damon's demands. (Image credit: ITV)

Meanwhile, Harvey has also suffered at Damon’s hands. When Damon learnt that son Jacob had been beaten up by Harvey when he was part of his drugs gang, Damon arranged for his incarcerated sibling to be brutally attacked.

Harvey has proved a popular character with Corrie fans, but it could be a long while before Will Mellor agrees to make a comeback.

In an exclusive interview with TV Times (opens in new tab) last year, the actor said it would be unrealistic to have Harvey freed from prison any time soon, and added that it would 'weaken' the character if he were to be integrated into the Weatherfield community.

“I don’t want Harvey to suddenly miraculously get out of prison and be running the Rover’s Return," he revealed. 

“What I want is for Harvey to be real, and for a message to be sent out that these people are out there, that people are being groomed and these people don’t care about you or your families or who they hurt — if they can run their business through kids, they will. 

“So let’s keep that serious message out there, and also just be real and true to the character. 

"It’s an important message and we don’t want to weaken that.”

Coronation Street airs hour-long episodes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8 pm on ITV — see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on episodes on ITVX.

Alison Slade
Soaps Editor
Alison Slade has over 20 years of experience as a TV journalist and has spent the vast majority of that time as Soap Editor of TV Times magazine.  She is passionate about the ability of soaps to change the world by presenting important, issue-based stories about real people in a relatable way. There are few soap actors that she hasn’t interviewed over the years, and her expertise in the genre means she has been called upon as a judge numerous times for The British Soap Awards and the BAFTA TV Awards.

When she is not writing about soaps, watching soaps, or interviewing people who are in soaps, she loves going to the theatre, taking a long walk or pottering about at home, obsessing over Farrow and Ball paint.