Bernard "Benny" Lewis was a Liverpool-born businessman who opened up a betting shop in the precinct when Dave Smith told him that his old premises in Rosamund Street had been demolished. His new venture got off to a bad start when his hostess Carol Webb got drunk at a function for the shop re-opening and told Detective Inspector Patterson that Benny didn't book all of his takings. Benny decided to be more cautious in future and took on Lucille Hewitt to do the books.
Benny then set about building his new empire, ruffling a few feathers in the process. Annie Walker wasn't happy when he "poached" Hilda Ogden as cleaner, and he inadvertently caused a fall-out between Ena Sharples and Minnie Caldwell when he barred Minnie from the shop at Ena's urging. He also hired Len Fairclough and Ray Langton to convert the flat above the shop into a modern luxury pad. Despite this, Benny was a lonely man who had to persuade clerk Ted Loftus to keep him company in the flat after hours, regaling him with musings on missed opportunities.
Benny had a soft spot for Rita Littlewood, who'd taken on the job of hostess at the shop. Rita had recently split from her common-law husband Harry Bates and was close to Len, but they had made no firm commitment to each other. After an argument with Len, Rita turned to Benny for comfort. When Rita visited Benny again the next day to thank him for making her feel better, he admitted that he had feelings for her and asked her to move in with him. Rita told him she didn't want to tread that path with a man again unless things were more serious between them, and was shocked when Benny then said he would fine with that and asked her to marry him! (although Benny seemed even more surprised than Rita that he'd asked). Rita said yes, but it was a short engagement as Len was the man Rita really wanted and when things cooled between Rita and Len, Benny and Rita had an amicable break-up. Benny let Rita keep the engagement ring.
As of October, Benny's flat was still being worked on. With Benny in Spain, Ray used it to entertain Sharon Duffy, pretending it was his. Sharon found out the truth when her friend Franny Slater told her that Benny lived in the flat she was describing. Franny then saw an opportunity and got Sharon to obtain the key so he could copy it and rob the flat. Benny returned to find the flat ransacked and £5,000 was missing - although he told the police it was only £500. Suspicion fell on Ray and Jacko Ford, who'd been shown around the flat by Hilda. Franny wanted to set Jacko up as he'd been in prison for robbery before, and without an alibi Jacko was charged and remanded in custody. Eventually Franny's accomplice Freddie Slack was caught and Jacko released but Franny and Sharon had left the area by then.
In November, Jimmy Frazer interested Benny in buying a nightclub together. Benny agreed to a 50-50 partnership and named it "The Capricorn", although Alan Howard ended up taking care of Jimmy's side of the business. Again, Benny turned to Rita, installing her as a singer at the club. Benny pinned his hopes on a successful opening night and invited Mayor Alderman Chapman, Alderman Rogers and Councillors Alf Roberts and Len, who were both being considered for the next Mayor. Benny ended up with egg on his face when Rita got into a fight with a tipsy woman who didn't take kindly to her putting her arm around her fella while singing Hey Big Spender, although it was Len who ended up losing out as his association with Rita scuppered his chances to succeed Chapman.