Despite his southern bravado, Colin had grown up in Mawdsley Street, Weatherfield and attended Bessie Street School. At one point, he went out with Christine Hardman of 13 Coronation Street but the relationship didn't last. He went on to work for a sales company, selling handbags.
In June 1962, Colin bumped into Christine at the bowling alley and the pair got re-acquainted. He had recently returned to the area after some time living in the south in order to cover new sales territory spanning three counties. The reunion concerned Christine's friends Sheila Birtles and Doreen Lostock, who remembered the "slimy" Colin Appleby of old, who Christine had rightly dumped, but Colin - now loaded, and eager to spoil her - was just what was needed to bring the young woman out of her depression days after a nervous breakdown.
A whirlwind romance followed. As it was Wakes week, Colin took Christine out to Buxton for the day in his sports car, stopping for lunch at The Galleon. Very much at home in the posh restaurant, Colin chose Christine's meal for her, impressing his companion with his familiarity with the food menu and selection of wines. He proceeded to spend most of their date boasting about his career and feeding Christine trite compliments. Well and truly swept off her feet, Christine found Colin's behaviour masterful and agreed to see him again that evening at a dance and barbecue at his tennis club.
Within a week, Colin asked Christine to marry him and she accepted. Picking her up on the way to the registry office, Colin told Christine that he loved her but the sentiment wasn't returned - Christine had agreed to marry Colin mostly out of her desire for change following her recent mental health troubles. The union went ahead, with the Applebys heading for Manchester Central Station from the registry office to board a train to London, prior to settling in Leeds.
Four months later, Christine returned to Coronation Street and moved in with Elsie Tanner at No.11, causing speculation on the status of her marriage to Colin. The matter was cleared up when Colin's father Edward Appleby arrived in the area and revealed to the residents that Colin had died in a car accident two weeks earlier. Edward offered to house Colin's widow, but Christine decided instead to remain among her friends in Weatherfield.