Norman Arthur "Curly" Watts was manager of the Weatherfield branches of Bettabuy, Firman's Freezers and Freshco. He lived in Coronation Street from 1983 to 2003, most of that time as a bachelor until his marriages to Raquel Wolstenhulme and Emma Taylor.
Curly arrived in the street while working on the bins; a meagre profession for a clever man. It wasn't until 1987, after his furniture removal business with Terry Duckworth folded, that Curly went to business school, later to begin his career as assistant manager at Bettabuy supermarket under Reg Holdsworth. In 1995, Curly bounced back from his firing from Bettabuy for a string of sexual harassment claims against him by following Reg to Firman's Freezers, which became Freshco in 1998. As of 2010, he was area manager of the Freshco chain.
In the street, Curly lodged with Emily Bishop and the Duckworths before moving into No.7 which he purchased in 1992. He wanted to settle down and marry but his love life was nothing short of a disaster; two-time fiancée Kimberley Taylor was under the thumb of her strict mother, his housemate Angie Freeman only wanted to be friends and moved out to escape his advances, and Raquel Wolstehulme broke their engagement realising that it was Des Barnes she really loved.
In 1995, after being hurt by Des, Raquel rebounded by marrying Curly. She still didn't love him and after less than a year she walked out on him to take a modelling opportunity in Kuala Lumpur, returning briefly in 2000 to tell him he had a daughter, Alice Watts. Curly's next love was policewoman Emma Taylor and their partnership was far smoother; marriage in 2001 with a son, Ben, being born that same year. The family moved to Newcastle in 2003 when Emma accepted a transfer there.
Curly became a councillor in 2001 when he successfully stood as an independent. His prized possession was his telescope, which used to stargaze from the observatory in No.7's loft.
Norman Watts (usually going by his nickname Curly) was first seen in Coronation Street, working as a binman alongside Eddie Yeats and Chalkie Whitely though he already knew Rita as he had previously been a paperboy for her. Curly soon began lodging with Emily Bishop, to whom would become very close with. The following year in 1984 Curly became very close friends with Terry Duckworth and Kevin Webster. He also got his first girlfriend in Elaine Pollard, who Terry had set him up with on the basis that they were as weird as each other, but it wasn't long before she dumped him.
Curly and Terry began a home removals business, renting the builder's yard from Rita and buying a van from Mike Baldwin for £800. The two initially did well and often took on jobs for Mike however in 1987 Terry fled the area with married woman Linda Jackson and with him gone the business soon folded. Curly then enrolled in business studies. When Curly began a relationship with Shirley Armitage they were met with disapproval from both of their parents due to Shirley being black. Mike agreed to allow Curly to do a report on the factory but was annoyed to learn how highly critical the report was and forced Curly to hand it over to him by threatening to give Shirley the sack. Curly gave a copy of the report to Ken Barlow which led to one of the many conflicts between Ken and Mike. In 1989 Shirley threw a party to celebrate that she and Curly had been dating for a year but he threw all the guests out so he could study for an exam. Shirley realised Curly was too serious for her and dumped him.
On his own Curly could not afford the rent and was evicted by his landlord Alf Roberts. He then lodged with Terry's parents Jack and Vera and remained friends with them for many years. Soon after this Curly became an assistant manager at Bettabuy under Reg Holdsworth. In 1990 Curly began dating Kimberley Taylor who was general assistant at Bettabuy. While over at the house of Kimberly's parents who were devout Christians, Curly promised to wait until marriage to have sex which caused them to get the wrong idea and think Curly and Kimberly were already engaged. They decided to go through with it but when Curly became openly critical of Kimberly's mother she ended the engagement. Kimberly requested Bettabuy have her transfered but Curly then stoppped it as he wanted to win her back. Curly then discovered Kimberley had slept with her cousin Adrian Gosthorpe which led to a huge public argument in the shop, resulting in Reg making Curly transfer her after all.
Curly lodged with Angie Freeman. When Curly's girlfriend Raquel Wolstenhulme went to london for a modelling contract he was upset and ended up in bed with Angie after getting drunk. Angie regretted it deeply but she and Curly remained friends. When Curly signed up for a dating agency under a fake name he ended up meeting Raquel who had also used a fake name. Thinking it to be fate they agreed to get back together. However she dumped him when he spent £2,000 on converting their third bedroom into an observatory. In 1993 Curly became manager of Bettabuy after Reg was promoted. After Maud Grimes read his palm and told him he had already met his future wife Curly pursued assistant manager Elaine Fenwick and blocked her transfer to Ghul. This was of great annoyance to Elaine who had only agreed to go out with Curly in the hopes of getting a promotion.
Curly had a falling out with Reg when he slept with his wife Maureen but they were able to reconcile. In 1994 Elaine became area manager and filed a sexual harrassment complaint against Curly which resulted in him getting the sack. Curly got a job managing a different food store and tried to impress his bosses by convincing Raquel to pretend to be engaged to him. The engagement became real but unknown to Curly Raquel was secretly in love with Des Barnes. In 1995 Raquel confessed her feelings for Des which led to an enraged Curly smashing up the shop and getting sacked. However Curly was given an assistant manager's job at Firman's Freezers by a sympathetic Reg. After being rejected by Des Raquel asked Curly to marry her and he agreed. The marriage didn't last long as in 1996 she left Curly for a job in Kuala Lumpur, leaving him feeling dejected.
In 2000 Curly was held hostage at Freshco by Dean Sykes and Lenny Larkin. Policewoman Emma Taylor came to his rescue and they began a relationship. By the end of 2001 they were married, Curly had successfully stood as an independent councillor and Emma had given birth to their son Ben. Following this Curly often struggled to balance his duties on the council with domestic life. In 2003 Curly fell out with Emma after she lied about her colleague Mick Hopwood's attack on Les Battersby. When Emma got a transfer to Newcastle Curly refused to come with her but changed his mind at the last minute, wanting to be with her and Ben.
Kevin Kennedy narrowly beat fellow actor Nigel Pivaro to the role of Curly. Shortly afterwards, Pivaro joined Coronation Street himself in the role of Terry Duckworth, appearing regularly until 1987 and sporadically until 2012.
Kennedy was axed in 2003 after 20 years as Curly. He has, since then, expressed interest in returning to the role. He got a special opportunity in 2010, reprising Curly for the direct-to-DVD film Coronation Street: A Knight's Tale in which he appeared alongside his former co-star Ken Morley as Reg Holdsworth for the first time in 15 years. Kennedy is still interested in returning to the show proper.
First and last lines
"Morning, Mrs Fairclough." (First line)
"Yeah. Thanks. Thanks for everything." (Final line)
List of addresses
|3 Coronation Street||November 1983 to April 1988|
|15a Coronation Street||April 1988 to May 1989|
|9 Coronation Street||May 1989 to March 1991|
|7 Coronation Street||March 1991 to 1st September 2003|
|Newcastle||1st September 2003 onwards|