|“||You should have stayed at the party Maxine.||„|
|~ Richard to Maxine Peacock before murdering her.|
Richard "Charles" Hillman was a villainous character in the British soap opera Coronation Street, played by Brian Capron from June 2001 to March 2003.
Introduced as the (alleged) cousin of Alma Halliwell, Richard developed a close relationship with Gail Platt. He appeared to be a successful financial adviser and good family man, however secretly had debt problems and a shady past. Although living the apparent perfect family life with Gail, Richard went to extreme measures to get out of his money issues, which led to three deaths (the latter being murders) and even attempted to murder Gail's mother Audrey.
Once his deceit was revealed, Richard attempted to drive his family into the canal, however he was the only one who perished. Despite his demise, Richard's memory cast a shadow over the Platt family for many years to come.
Although not the first killer or villain to appear in the show, Richard Hillman was the first regular character to be a murderer.
Richard was a financial adviser who arrived for the funeral of his cousin Alma, and began a relationship with Gail and later moved in with her. Richard ran a business specializing in buy-back mortgages, he buys the house and the occupant stays there until they die, and he gets it.
He began to turn shady after going into business with a man Duggie Ferguson doing property developing. After a disagreement at one of the flats, Duggie falls down a flight of stairs and dies, but Richard doesn't get help, and instead robs him and leaves the body to be found the next morning.
Richard the Killer
When planning to marry Gail, his ex-wife Patricia turns up wanting Richard to buy back her share of Kellott towers, his business. After a disagreement at the building site, Richard kills her with a shovel, and buries her body under concrete. Him and Gail get married.
When Richard was short of cash, he planned on murdering elderly neighbour Emily, as she had sold her house to him, and he wanted it. When she was babysitting for a family who where attending a party in the local pub, Richard broke in and hit Emily with a crowbar, with the intent of it looking like a robbery. But the mother of the child she was babsitting, Maxine, returned home to check up on him, and he killed her. This caused him guilt, as she wasn't planned. And to add insult to injury, one of his other clients died, and got hold of her house, so there was no need for trying to kill Emily (who survived) and murdering Maxine.
The truth unraveled when Gail got suspicious. Richard fled the street, and returned two weeks later and bound and gagged his family when intending to gas them in the garage. However they where disruped by the neighbours, so he drove the car in the canal. The family where saved, but Richard had drowned to death with his body later identified by Gail.
Beyond the Grave
Despite his death, Richard's presence would be felt in the street, especially around the Platt family, for many years to come. The trauma he caused to Gail's youngest son David would ensure the lad would go down a psychotic route and become villainous and blaming Gail for letting Richard into their lives.
In 2006, cards began being sent to the Platt family, apparently from the deceased Richard. The first card was to his stepdaughter Sarah for her birthday. Cards began coming through the post for the first few months. Cab driver Les Battersby then claimed he had given Richard a ride in his taxi, however this was just down to Les getting in on the gossip. Gail began suspecting David of being the card sender, so told him it was Richard's birthday coming up. On the day of Richard's "birthday" she received a card from Richard seeing he will see her soon, which of course confirmed her suspicions, and she revealed to a shocked David that Richard's birthday was in December.
In March 2008, on the 5th Anniversary of Richard's death, David pushed Gail down the stairs in a moment of rage when he discovered Gail went behind his back in getting his girlfriend to having an abortion.
In November 2010 in a Coronation Street DVD Spin-off Knight's Tale, Richard's cousin Dickie appeared (played by Brian Capron as well) and this caused Norris Cole to become unnerved due to their striking resemblance. Dickie also referred to his family's love for the water, a joking reference to Richard driving into the canal.
- Prior to playing Richard Hillman, Brian Capron played a social worker called Don Worthington between 1981 to 1986.
- Originally it was intended for Richard Hillman to go to prison, but Brian Capron wasn't in favour for that option so it was decided to kill off the character instead.
- The newspapers published claims in 2005 that Richard Hillman would make a reappearance in 2006, and that the body Gail identified wasn't his. However this was false rumour, and although there was a storyline that involved the Platt family being harassed by cards signed from "Richard", this was her son David Platt.
- The popularity of the Richard Hillman storylines has led to similar plots involving male characters turning into killers, for example John Stape and Karl Munro and Doctor Paul Browning from Hollyoaks.
- Brian Capron briefly reprised the character as part of a Halloween Tour at the Coronation Street set in October 2014.