Carla Connor (née Donovan, previously Gordon) is the boss of Underworld. During her time Carla lost her first husband Paul (who was sleeping with prostitutes) and got involved with evil businessman Tony Gordon who killed her lover Liam, and almost killed Carla in a fire at the factory after escaping prison.
After moving on from Tony, she had a brief relationship with binman Trevor Dean and began to become dependent on alcohol to forget about her problems, which led to support by alcoholic Peter Barlow, who she had feelings for, but he was in a relationship with her best friend Leanne Battersby.
Carla Donovan was born in 1975 to her mother Sharon, a drug dealer. Carla has a younger brother named Rob, who was sentenced to 8 years for armed robbery around 2000s. She worked in a shoe shop as a Saturday Girl as a teenager. At school she had met Paul Connor, and they went onto become married in 1999.
Carla was furious to discover that her husband had spent all the money she needed to start her children's clothing business, though to make more money she manipulated fellow factory workers Kelly Crabtree and Joanne Jackson into working weekends, early mornings and late nights in order to raise money for her business. However, Kelly and Joanne eventually refused to continue working for Carla as they became isolated from their friends, and didn't have much freedom. Polish workers Wiki Dankowska and Kasia Barowicz later began to work for Carla and Paul in February 2007.
On April 16th 2007, after an illegal night shift making clothes for Carla's business, fellow factory worker Kasia tripped and fell down the stairs of the factory, and was killed instantly. The only workers present were Carla and Wiki Dankowska. Instead of phoning for an ambulance, Carla contacted husband Paul, who came over and sent Wiki home, assuring her that matters would be taken care of. Paul then devised a plan to avoid Carla's illegal night shifts from being discovered. Paul decided to make he and Carla wait until 8 a.m., then clock Kasia in for work, so that they could say she came in early to help Paul, and then fell to her death, unaware that she was already dead.
Carla became close friends with brother-in-law, Liam's girlfriend Leanne Battersby and the pair went into business together. They opened a restaurant, Valandro's, although Carla never worked there. It was burnt down by Paul Clayton in 2008. Leanne and Carla's friendship was destroyed after Carla discovered that Leanne was secretly a prostitute, and guessed that her husband Paul was one of Leanne's clients. She vowed to divorce Paul, who blamed Leanne for wrecking his marriage, and he took revenge by kidnapping her in the boot of his car. However, Paul was distracted on the journey and the car was hit by a truck at a junction. Paul subsequently died in hospital although Leanne survived, and Paul's sister Michelle missed his demise. Carla then backed out of the business relationship with Leanne and told her she wouldn’t be investing in the Italian restaurant they were planning to open. Carla subsequently inherited Paul's 60% share of Underworld, causing friction with Liam, who owned the remaining 40%.
Carla got over Paul's death very quickly and barely spoke of him. This threw her and Liam together, but she soon met Tony Gordon and they started dating in September 2007. This move by Carla made Liam think about how he truly felt about her. During an argument, Liam and Carla kissed. Although she denied having feelings for him and he was dating and engaged to Maria Sutherland, they were both left confused. Liam didn't tell Maria and Carla didn't tell Tony. Carla tried to stop Liam from marrying Maria the night before their wedding and on the day, she also kissed Liam in an attempt to steal him from her. It did not work, leaving Carla devastated. Maria did find out about he kissing him on the cheek, persuading Maria to be neglectful on marrying Liam, but she soon came over and went on with the marriage, Carla actually turned up at the wedding, upsetting Maria, and Carla cried as they married. Maria finally stood up to her and slapped her in the toilets of the church. A forlorn Carla then left the reception in the back of a cab.
Carla and Tony broke up briefly as Carla accepted her feelings for Liam; however on 17th March 2008, Tony proposed to Carla, and she accepted, in front of Maria, Liam, Michelle and her boyfriend Steve McDonald at a dinner party, Carla was shaken on the moment but soon agreed and became engaged to Tony, despite her feelings for Liam. Steve, Tony and Liam all got drunk and after Steve, Michelle and Maria had returned home, Tony booked Lloyd Mullaney to drive Liam home, though when Tony went out, Carla cancelled Liam's taxi and he spent the night on the sofa, though nothing happened between he and Carla. In May that year, Carla supported Liam through the stillbirth of his and Maria's son, whom they named Paul Connor Jr., after his brother Paul, the two finally slept together, after an argument but they soon softened up to each other. Rosie Webster, assistant and fellow worker to Carla, saw Liam and Carla kissing outside Carla's flat and filmed it on her mobile phone. Carla was initially unaware of her seeing them kissing but knew that Rosie had seen them together, and subsequently bought Rosie a handbag in an attept bribe her. However, on 16th June 2008, Carla wanted Liam out of her life altogether, and suggested he sell his 40% share of Underworld to Tony, after Liam had refused, Carla began to blackmail Liam into selling his share of the factory by threatening to tell Maria and Tony of her and Liam's night together.
In September that year, Carla and Liam went back into business, after Liam's cousin Tom Kerrigan made Carla own 25% part of their new business, Liam disapproved of this at first after past experiences, Liam and Carla therefore both agreed not to tell their partners however it was clear that Liam still held a torch for his former flame.
Tony was shown the video of the pair kissing by Rosie, he mentioned nothing to either lover and instead decided to make Liam his best man.
With many secret business meetings Liam and Carla became very close again until eventually Liam made a move on his former sister in law. Carla declined his advances for a while until eventually Liam went to see her at her wedding dress fitting, seducing her in her wedding dress. They slept together for the final time and Liam confessed that he loved her. Carla told him she needed time to think.
The next day was the Carla and Tony’s hen/stag do’s and Liam tried his hardest the whole day to convince Carla that it was him she really wanted. Carla broke down and confessed to former friend Leanne that she couldn’t marry Tony as she had always been in love with Liam. Leanne convinced her to find Liam and tell him how she felt. However as Carla was on her way Maria told her she was pregnant again with Liam’s child. A gutted Carla met up with Liam and lied to him, telling him she didn’t love him, that he should stay with Maria. Unfortunately this would be the last time they would meet as Tony had Liam killed in a hit and run that night.
Carla was distraught, not only did she need to grieve for the love of her life but she also had to hide the extent of her grief to everyone around her. She eventually snapped and called the wedding off to Tony, fleeing to Los Angeles in order to allow herself to grieve properly.
On Carla’s return a month later she married Tony in an elaborate ceremony, purchasing a new dress. At the wedding however Maria was shown the video of Liam and Carla kissing and flew into a fit of rage, but unfortunately the newlyweds had already left for their honeymoon. On their return from their honeymoon Maria had pieced the puzzle together and quite rightly pointed to Tony as Liam’s murderer. Carla was shocked to realise that Tony knew about the affair and told him it was a one night stand that they both regretted. Tony managed to convince everyone that Maria had merely gone mad and had an over active imagination due to her grief.
After a couple of months as Maria had given up on her accusation and began to doubt herself, but in February 2009 Carla became suspicious of her husband when she discovered that he may have attempted to kill Jed Stone at Christmas. She had followed Jed back to Wigan to get the truth out of him and was shocked to see the strangulation marks on Jed's neck from what Tony caused. When she questioned Tony on the matter, Tony made up a story saying the old man tried to kill himself, although Carla found it hard to believe him. Carla had then visited Tony's henchman Jimmy Dockerson who Tony hired to kill Liam, although Jimmy tried to lie his way out of it. When Tony discovered what Carla had been up to, he sent all the girls home and waited in the factory for Carla and when she arrived he locked the doors. She was shocked when he eventually confessed to murder and Tony begged forgiveness. She managed to escape when she kicked him hard between the legs and then escaped the factory into the pouring rain and manage to escape in her car leaving a broken Tony behind. She went to Los Angelos and got her friend Luke Strong to watch over the factory and take care of her shares while she was away.
Carla returned to the Street on 19th October 2009. She told Tony he had gone too far in proposing to Maria and wanting to adopt her baby, Liam. They met at the gravestone of Liam. There she told him to sell her his shares of the factory, and leave Weatherfield forever. She told him to meet at the factory after the girls leave to sign over the shares and also that he should start packing. Instead, Tony hired his friend Jimmy Dockerson to finish her off at the factory, but while he waited, she changed her mind and headed to Tony's flat. Tony then told Jimmy to finish her off there instead. Later on in the night, Carla went to bed and Jimmy decided to kill her. He pressed the buzzer and Carla let him in, believing he was Tony. Tony changed his mind and drove over to the flat to stop Jimmy. Jimmy hit Carla and attempted to kill her, but when Tony stepped in, Jimmy got distracted which allowed Carla to strike him with a candlestick. Tony felt for a pulse and told Carla that she had killed Jimmy; saying that they were now equal, he suggested she left Weatherfield instead of him. Carla agreed but vowed to make Tony pay one day for what he had done before getting a taxi to the airport. She had not in fact killed Jimmy, but been deceived by Tony.
When Tony was arrested for trying to kill Roy Cropper, Carla was called back to Weatherfield. She acted shocked and managed to fool people in believing that she had nothing to do with Tony's crime. But the police questioned her when they had arrested Jimmy who "had a lot to say about her". Carla confessed that Tony said he killed Liam, but she didn't believe him and left Weatherfield. The police let her go and Carla took control of the factory again. But everyone was shocked, especially Michelle when Carla was discovered to be aware of Tony killing Liam. But the factory girls forgave her as did Hayley, when she and Roy found out Tony had attempted to kill Carla.
Carla managed to move on after Tony was sent down for murder and decided to put it all behind her and continued to run the factory by herself. In 2010, she met binman Trevor Dean, who was the lodger of machinist Janice Battersby. He mistook her for a cleaner when she cleaned up the mess that the girls left behind. They began to date, but Trevor later found out she was the owner of the factory although she assured him she still loved him and they continued the relationship.
She then sold Tony's shares of Underworld to Nick Tilsley, who gave her a good estimate. He had also used her machinist Kelly Crabtree to get the information, so she got Nick to sack Kelly, which he did.
In June 2010, Carla was shocked when Tony escaped prison with the help of his accomplice Robbie Sloane. Carla found herself held hostage in the factory along with Hayley and they were both tied up. Tony shot dead his new henchman and intended on setting the factory alight until Maria walked in. Carla told Maria to escape and get help, which Maria did. Carla managed to convince Tony to let Hayley go, and it could just be them. Later in the night, Tony set the factory up in flames, whereby Carla managed to get untied and after a struggle, she shot Tony in the arm, although he still didn't give up. She managed to get out of the factory but Tony remained behind and perished in the explosion. Carla later took a break and went away with Trevor to see the World Cup.
A few weeks later, Carla returned and was shocked when her partner Nick set up a new factory underneath the viaduct and didn't intend on letting her be a part of it. She managed to convince Nick's buyer Paul Stokes to give a contract to her, and Nick eventually agreed to let her run the new factory with her until Underworld was repaired. Sometime later, Underworld was eventually done up again with the help of builder Owen Armstrong. Carla, Nick and the factory girls resumed working in the factory again. Carla later invited her boyfriend Trevor to become a trainee manager in the factory, much to the annoyance of Nick.
Things became a strain for Carla when she realised that Trevor was useless and could hardly do anything right in the office. Trevor had hit Nick and walked out after he got fed up with Nick constantly winding him up. Nick decided to leave the factory as he didn't like the way Carla had handled business and demanded that Carla buys his shares back, which was around £150,000. Trevor had also left Carla to patch things up with his girlfriend somewhere else. Carla had began drinking, and was stopped by Peter Barlow getting into her car and driving to the bank while she was heavily drunk. Peter decided to stand by her as he was also a recovering alchoholic and understood how hard it was.
When Nick decided to set up a bar under the viaduct, he pressured Carla into giving him the cash, and she eventually remorgaged her flat to give him the cash. Michelle felt sorry for Carla, and had given Carla an idea for a new product she could create in her factory. When Carla's buyer loved the idea, Carla told Michelle she could come and work in the factory with her as she was good with business ideas. In July 2011 she spent the night with colleague Frank Foster. Days later she and Peter passionately kissed but Peter later rejected her as he loved Leanne.
Frank and Carla got engaged, and at their engagement party Carla began drinking after meeting his parents Sam and Anne Foster. She took the car and Frank got in to talk her out of it, but she sped down the Street and hit Leanne's mother Stella Price and crashed into Barlow's Bookies.
The night before their wedding Carla told Frank she couldn't marry him because she was in love with bookies owner Peter Barlow. When she went back to her flat later that night, Carla found Frank there and they had an argument which lead to Frank raping Carla. After Frank left she called Maria who then came over and called the police and Frank was arrested on suspicion of rape.
- Carla's departure and absence from February to October 2009 was due to actress Alison King going on maternity leave.The character had returned for a week in October set over the course of one day on the anniversary for Liam's death, before returning for a more full time return a month later on the 23rd November 2009.
"Looks like I'm in the very nick then! Ker-flamin'-ching! Enter Chrimbo drinks fairy!" (First line)