Alec was twice married - firstly to Joyce Crosby in 1955 and then to Bet Lynch in 1987. His first marriage was not a happy one and after divorcing Joyce he was estranged from his daughter Sandra until 1990. Deciding to concentrate on his career, Alec went on to manage clubs and later acts, including singer Rita Littlewood. In 1986, he ran the Graffiti Club in Rosamund Street and had a dalliance with Bet, then-landlady of the Rovers. He claimed not to be interested in the Rovers but when Bet couldn't afford the tenancy on her own, Alec proposed marriage to her so that they could run the pub together, and Bet accepted.
Alec was happy with Bet but they were something of an odd couple; Bet was bold and brassy, while Alec was morose and miserly. In particular, he felt he and Bet could do better than the Rovers; in 1992, he took a job as master of ceremonies on a cruise ship and expected Bet to go with him. When she refused, Alec went alone and told Bet their marriage was over.
He returned to Weatherfield permanently in 1996 to manage a branch of travel agent Sunliners, although he was made redundant the following year. By this time Bet had moved away, and Jack and Vera Duckworth owned the Rovers. Alec sorted out their money troubles in exchange for a partnership, and later bought them out of the pub completely. In 1998, he sold the Rovers to Natalie Barnes to go into partnership with his granddaughter Vicky McDonald at a wine bar in Brighton.
Alec has three abiding loves - himself, money and the theatre.
When we first saw him, he was managing a Working Men's Club, but he soon progressed to being a theatrical agent with acts such as Rita Littlewood and Megan Morgan on his books. In 1983 he took over the Graffiti Club on Rosamund Street - which enjoyed increased trade due to the fire at The Rovers in 1986 - and through this got to know Bet Lynch. Alec had only appeared briefly before 1983, and was very much a minor character. It was in 1983 that he began to make his presence felt in Coronation Street and the character began to be fully explored by the show's writers.
Alec lent money to Bet in 1987 to help her secure the Rovers tenancy. Bet got in a mess with the finances and left abruptly, leaving Alec out of pocket. He managed to persuade Cecil Newton at Newton & Riley to allow him to step in as Rovers manager.
Later in the year, Alec tracked Bet down, married her, and took over the licence. They enjoyed a stormy relationship, Bet could never really trust Alec. When he was mugged in 1988 and the takings stolen, she wondered if he was operating an insurance fiddle.
Cecil Newton and the police suspected the same, but on this occasion Alec was playing things straight. He was deeply hurt that nobody had believed him.
Alec's theatrical agency flourished, mainly with cruise liners. In 1992 he was offered a full-time job with Sunliners in Southampton, and he walked out on Bet.
Alec returned in April 1994. He paid a visit to Vicky and told her he was manager of a travel agent called Sunliners in Rosumund Street. Alec wasted no time settling in. His granddaughter Vicky's new husband Steve McDonald was sent to prison for 2 years for bribery. Much to Alec's relief, Vicky was given a years suspended sentence. Vicky left Coronation Streer to start a new life in Switzerland with what cash she had left.
In May 1997, Alec was made redundant from Sunliners. It didn't keep Alec down for too long, as he went into partnership with Jack and Vera Duckworth at the Rovers Return. Alec helped bail Jack and Vera out of a hefty VAT bill, and in return he persuaded Jack and Vera to go into partnership. Which they reluctantly agreed upon.
In July 1998, Alec helped save Rita Sullivan's life when he discovered her unconcious from carbon monoxide poisoning in her flat. It was caused by a faulty gas fire that Steve McDonald had fitted. Rita and Alec became close, and Alec proposed to Rita. She accepted. Then they both got cold feet, and Alec decided to get a door put in between their adjoining flats. They were both happy with the arrangement, ignoring the sniggers from the rest of the street.
By September 1998 relationships between Alec and the Duckworths had become very strained and they finally agreed to dissolve their partnership with Alec paying £30,000 for Jack & Vera's share of the business, but he allowed them to stay on living and working at the Rovers. Even this didn't work out, and in December when Jack and Vera wanted to spend Christmas in Blackpool, Alec refused. They went anyway, and Alec changed the locks. Rita thought that Alec went too far, phoning the Duckworths in Blackpool and telling them what went on. A 3 day seige took place with no one willing to back down. When Alec discovered it was Rita who had phoned the Duckworths, he felt totally betrayed, and showing that money meant far more to him than affection, ended their relationship - to Rita's dismay he boarded up the doorway between their flats.
When Vicky unexpectedly turned up at Christmas 1998, it gave Alec the change to contemplate his life and reassess his priorities. Alec suggested to Vicky that he could go in partnership with her at her new wine bar in Brighton. Alec jumped at the chance to get away, selling the Rovers to Natalie Barnes, and leaving the street without as much as a backwards glance.