Aidan Critchley is a fictional character of the ITV British Soap Opera Coronation Street. He was the secondary antagonist in 2002 and 2003 until his departure on 16th March 2003. He was a troublesome schoolboy who had a relationship with Sarah Platt and tormented their pupil tutor Ken Barlow during his time on the serial.
Rivalry with Ken Barlow
Aidan disliked his teacher Ken Barlow and mocked him every chance he got, showing no gratitude to Ken for his efforts to help him. Aidan even wrote a poem with the sole intent to humiliate Ken. His torment of Ken stopped when Ken's son Peter turned up at his house and threatened to harm his dad. Aidan got along with schoolgirl Sarah Platt and began dating her despite her mother Gail telling her that Aidan was bad news.
Sarah's stepfather Richard Hillman threatened Aidan not to hurt Sarah in any way. Aidan convinced Sarah to go for a joyride in Ken's car and when it crashed he revealed himself to be a coward by leaving her for dead. Her family soon discovered what happened and both Richard and Gail confronted Aidan for his actions. Aidan was later reported to the police but released with caution. He then taunted Ken saying it's because of liberals like him that he got off scott-free, which resulted in Ken punching Aidan and breaking his nose. All the students, including Sarah's brother David Platt and best friend Candice Stowe, were willing to cover for Ken - though the teacher confessed what he'd done to the headmaster anyway and reassigned out of guilt. Ken was later arrested for Aidan's assault but is released as well.
Framed by Richard Hillman
As Richard finalizes his preparations to kill his client Emily Bishop in order to surmount his dire financial straits, he plans to frame Aidan for the crime as revenge for what Aidan did to Sarah. This appeared to work after Richard drugged Aidan and disguised himself as the latter before breaking into the house where Emily is to murder her, but it ultimately backfired when house's owner Maxine Peacock unexpectedly turned up; Richard ended up killing Maxine just before he could finish off Emily. However, Aidan becomes implicated in Maxine's murder and Emily's attack just as Richard had planned; Aidan is later arrested by the police and charged for murder and attempted murder.
When Ken visits Aidan in prison, he notices that Aidan is under the affects of tranquilizers on the night of the murder. This causes Ken to realize that Aidan couldn't have possibly murdered Maxine or attacked Emily, as he approaches Aidan's father for support. But it is clear to Ken that Aidan's father reckons that his son is responsible for the murder and refuses to help out. At the same time, Sarah also believes that Aidan was innocent while the rest of the street all assume that Aidan is guilty.
It is then that Gail's mother Audrey Roberts and her friends Archie Shuttlesworth and Norris Cole all began to suspect that Richard killed Maxine, as they were already aware of Richard's other crimes that involved him killing his ex-wife Patricia Hillman and leaving Maxine's late boss Duggie Ferguson for dead - before he then tried to kill Audrey for her inheritance by setting her house on fire and manipulating everyone into believing that she is responsible due to the untruth possibility that she has Alzheimer's disease. Eventually, Aidan was released after Richard's crimes were exposed; he confessed them to Gail, including that he framed Aidan for attacking Emily and killing Maxine that night.
Aidan later visited Sarah on the day after Richard had died whilst trying to kill his entire stepfamily in a last-ditch familicide attempt. He asked her out, but she refused as she was now dating her schoolmate Todd Grimshaw. They nevertheless part ways and Aidan also makes peace with Ken by giving him a copy of a book about "Crime and Punishment". Since then Aidan hasn't been seen and it is likely that he left Coronation Street to start a new life for himself or that he could still be living with his father.
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- Aidan Critchley served as the secondary antagonist in the Richard Hillman storyline throughout 2002-2003; as Richard's reign of villainy had been developed in the mist of Ade's torment of Ken Barlow in the same period.