DES BARNES & NORRIS COLE (62 VOTES)
Duration: 1990-1998 & 1994-1997, 1999- respectively
Played by: Philip Middlemiss & Malcolm Hebden respectively
2012 character poll position (men): Des didn’t appear; 8 (Norris)
While Des is a newcomer to the poll, Norris has dropped hugely in the polls since 2012. Once comfortably in the top 10, he’s now in the bottom top 20. Could lack of storylines and maybe a change in his personality from bumbling busybody to having an even crueller tongue be to blame? Personally, I believe the character has lost his spark in the last 8 years or so. What do you think?
The bookie who moved to the street on his wedding day to Steph. He enjoyed winding up neighbours Derek and Mavis Wilton and even installed a boat in the back garden to annoy them.
Steph left him in 1991 and for many years he lived a true bachelor life and his conquests included Angie Freeman, Maxine Heavey, Lisa Duckworth and Samantha Failsworth.
His on/off relationship with barmaid Raquel Wolstenhulme was a long running storyline. While Raquel adored him, Des only used her when he was single. Des was gutted when Raquel married Curly, but viewers knew that Raquel’s dream was to become Mrs Barnes.
He later fell for and married vamp Natalie Horrocks, who had destroyed the Webster marriage. But a fortnight after the wedding, Des was attacked by thugs who were after Natalie’s drug dealing son Tony. After promising to take Natalie up Blackpool Tower, he had a cardiac arrest and died.
Were you a fan of Des?
Introduced as a salesman who Derek Wilton helped in his hour of need. Over the next few years, they would become rivals. Norris even kidnapped Derek’s gnome Arthur. Derek got his revenge by driving Norris to the wrong church on his wedding day to Angela (Derek’s ex-wife!!).
After attending Derek’s funeral, he didn’t return to the street until 1999 when he turned up as a rep at the Kabin. Rita, who was struggling to find a suitable assistant, hired him. And thus a wonderful double act began.
Initially staying at the Duckworths’ B&B, Norris became Emily Bishop’s latest lodger in 2000. Reminiscent of her relationship with Percy Sugden, Emily is often exasperated with Norris’ nosiness and interfering, but he cares deeply about her.
While Norris and Rita have had hilarious moments behind the Kabin counter, their friendship took a different turn when Norris proposed to her. A flustered Rita rejected, stating that she only saw him as a dear friend. Since then, Norris has always been wary of Rita’s choice in men, especially her third hubby Dennis Tanner.
Norris is wary of any newcomers in the street. His suspicions about Richard Hillman were proved right, but sadly too late for poor Maxine Peacock. Sadly he wasn’t so wary about con-artist Mel Hutchwright aka Lionel Hipkiss.
In 2006, he became a partner in the Kabin with Rita and in 2009 he bought Rita’s share when she decided to retire. But lonely Rita returned to the shop as Norris’ employee. In 2014, Emily also sold No.3 to Norris after he became concerned about his future when Emily would pass away.
Norris’ storylines have included holding a séance in the Kabin; winning a contest as Eartha Kitt; representing Manchester in the Commonwealth Games; coming face to face with his brother Ramsay again; and a romance with Mary Taylor.
If Nosy Norris isn’t behind the Kabin dishing out insults with his gobstoppers, he’s often seen sweeping the pavement, waiting for the next saga on the cobbles.
Are you a fan of Nosy Norris?
Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.
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