Norman "Curly" Watts was manager of the Weatherfield branches of Bettabuys, 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 1988, after his furniture removal business with Terry Duckworth folded, that Curly's ambitions took hold and he went to business school, later to begin his career as assistant manager at supermarket Bettabuys under Reg Holdsworth. He was later elevated to manager and as of 2010 was area manager of the Freshco chain.
In the Street, Curly lodged with Emily Bishop and Jack and Vera Duckworth before moving into No.7 with Angie Freeman. He wanted to settle down and marry but most women found him unattractive; perhaps his greatest love, barmaid and aspiring model Raquel, only liked him as a friend, and Angie moved out of No.7 when she realised he couldn't accept them living under the same roof and not being together. Relationships with Kimberley Taylor and Elaine Fenwick were equally disastrous as Curly was prone to jealousy and deception to hold onto his loves.
Curly's first marriage was to Raquel, who asked him to marry her only hours after her on-off lover Des Barnes had lured her into bed. The marriage lasted less than a year as Raquel left Curly to take a modelling opportunity in France. She returned in 2000 to tell him he had a daughter, Alice Watts. Curly's next love was policewoman Emma Taylor and their partnerhsip was far smoother; they married in 2001 and their son Ben was born that same year. The family moved to Newcastle in 2003 when Emma took a transfer there.
Curly also worked on the Council and successfully stood as Independent Councillor in 2001. His main hobby was astronomy and he had a telescope installed in No.7's loft.
Curly Watts (so called because of his straight hair) used to work for Rita Fairclough as an unseen paper boy. After leaving school with 8 O-levels and 2 A-levels, Curly had thoughts of becoming a fighter pilot in the RAF, but his eyesight meant he was rejected. He turned down a place at University, studying astronomy, in favour of earning money as a binman but was still one of the most cerebral characters in the Street.
He moved to 3 Coronation Street in November 1983 after his parents had moved to Crewe, and lodged with Emily Bishop - just up the road from his fellow binmen Chalkie Whitely and Eddie Yeats. Although never a ladies man, Curly did date both Elaine Pollard and Tina Wagstaffe whilst at Emily's. He also struck up a friendship with Terry Duckworth, and they set up an antiques business together.
In January 1985, Kevin Webster's family moved to Southampton - but Kevin refused to move and shared a room with Curly at No. 3. However, by now Emily and Curly (or Norman as she always calls him) had established a cosy housekeeping routine, and this coupled with the fact that Kevin didn't appreciate Curly's 4:30 am starts, meant that by May 1985, Kevin had fled to No. 13 and became Hilda Ogden's lodger.
In March 1986, Curly gave up his job on the bins, and worked with Terry on contracts for Mike Baldwin. By 1987, things were changing for Curly - Terry ran off with his best mate's wife, and broke up the partnership. Curly had also met a machinist from Baldwin's Casuals, Shirley Armitage, and they started to fall in love. In April 1988 Curly rented the Corner Shop flat from Alf Roberts, and upset many people, Alf included, by sharing it with Shirley - as she was black. However, Curly was like a dog with two tails - for it was here he lost his virginity at last. Curly's ambitions returned, and whilst Shirley brought in the money, he decided to return to college and take a business studies course.
In May 1989, Shirley threw a surprise party to celebrate their first anniversary together, but Curly had to revise for his exams the next day and threw all their friends out. Realising that they were both changing, and would never bridge the interlectual and racial divide, Shirley packed her bags that night and went back to her parents, never to return. Without any income, he was thrown out of the flat, but Vera Duckworth took pity on him, and he moved into No. 9, lodging in Terry's old room. In October 1989, Curly was taken on as Assistant Manager (trainee), at the local branch of Bettabuys supermarket and became a protégé of the manager, Reg Holdsworth, where both Vera and Ivy Brennan had also been recently employed as shelf-stackers.
Curly's tenure at No. 9, was for the most part, a happy one - except when he was nearly evicted by Jack and Vera when it transpired that he had written a bad performance review for Vera at Bettabuys which had resulted in her sacking. Curly withdrew the review and Vera was re-instated after smoothing things over with Reg Holdsworth. Curly also managed to upset Alf Roberts during his early days at Bettabuys when he ran a free bus to the supermarket past the corner shop.
It was at Bettabuys that Curly met, and became infatuated with, shelf-stacker Kimberley Taylor. She came from a strict, religious family, and it was a somewhat confused Curly who found himself engaged to Kimberley without him knowing it, the first time he met her parents Randolph and Brenda Taylor was in June 1990. Kimberley emphasised that there would be no sex before marriage - and things got so bad that in January 1991 she broke off the engagement because "he was always trying to get her into bed, and she was trying to save herself for her wedding night".
No sooner had they separated than fellow shelf-stacker Raquel Wolstenhulme turned her attentions to Curly. Things came to a head at the Miss Bettabuys Beauty Contest, held in a Buxton hotel. After failing to win, an unwilling Raquel was 'comforted' by Area Manager Brendan Scott. Curly came to her rescue, and as he reward they spent the night together. However, love failed to blossom as Curly was still obsessed with Miss Taylor - who had forgotton all about Curly and 'saving herself', and lost her virginity to her cousin, Adrian Gosthorpe. When Curly found out, he went berserk, and stormed into the Building Society where Adrian worked, causing a scene, and shouted "Jezabel !" at Kimberley in a packed Bettabuys store - resulting in her demanding, and getting a transfer to another store.
As well as all this turmoil in his life, Vera's father, Joss Shackleton moved into No.9, and as Jenny Bradley had moved out, Curly moved to No.7 in March 1991, sharing with Angie Freeman. Curly and Angie soon became very close in a brother/sister relationship, and Curly realised that independent, free-spirited Angie was the woman of his dreams. One fateful night they both drank too much red wine and ended up in bed together - they both regreted it next morning, but whilst Curly always hoped that something more permanent might develop, Angie made it perfectly clear it was a one-off mistake.
In June 1992, Curly bought No.7 from Rita Fairclough, but still desperate for love, Curly also joined Cupid's Arrow Introduction Bureau, posing as "Gerald Murray". His first (and last) date was "Janet Shaw" - who turned out to be Kimberley Taylor. Things hadn't worked out with her cousin. Believing it to be fate, they quickly got engaged again. This time they did share a bed, but when Curly told Kimberley his plans of installing an astronomical telescope in the attic of No.7, she broke off their engagement again, this time for good, as he didn't seem committed enough, and wasn't content with making rag rugs all evening.
In March 1993 Curly's heart was broken again when Angie left for Mexico. Although she had been involved with both Des Barnes and Neil Mitchell, Curly had always hoped that they might settle down together one day. Things looked a little brighter when Reg Holdsworth was made Area Manager of Bettabuys, replacing Brendan Scott, and in July 1993, despite fierce opposition from Elaine Fenwick, Curly became manager of the Weatherfield branch, with Elaine as his assistant. Superficially, Elaine was antagonised by Curly, and she made sure he was reported to head office when Vera Duckworth was caught shoplifting, hiding food in Tommy's pushchair, and Curly took no action. However, she may have revealed hidden feelings for Curly for when at the staff Christmas party, she got very drunk and made a play for him. She invited him into her room but collapsed in a drunked heap before he could do anything. This was not the only drunk woman Curly encountered that year. Also towards the end of 1993, Maureen Naylor briefly walked out on her fiancé Reg Holdsworth and turned to Curly for comfort. After a few bottles of red wine, he ended up in bed with Maureen - both admitted it was a mistake. What is it with Curly and red wine ? However, Reg forgave him and Curly was still Reg's best man at his marriage to Maureen on 26th January 1994.
In February 1994, Curly caught Jamie Armstrong shoplifting, and was soon going out with his mother Tricia Armstrong. This soon ended when Tricia's violent husband Carl Armstrong appeared on the scene. Soon after, Reg resigned from Bettabuys and bought the Corner Shop, turning it into Holdsworth's Provisions. Much to Curly's horror, Elaine Fenwick was appointed above him as Area Manager, and set out to make his life hell. By October 1994, Curly was sacked from Bettabuys on charges of sexual harrasment against Elaine and Kimberley. He tried working for Des Barnes at his new bookies in Rosamund Street, but it was a disaster. Soon after he landed a job at Soopascoopa's.
Since Raquel Wolstenhulme had been involved in Des Barnes' tangled love life, she had been very wary of men, but had come to trust Curly, and the two became close. In December 1994, Curly proposed marriage to Raquel and she accepted. However, at their engagement party, just after Curly had shown Raquel the star he had had named after her, vindictive Des forced Raquel to admit that, although she thought Curly was her best friend, she didn't love him and still loved Des. She fled in tears, breaking off the engagement and Curly's heart. Curly took this very badly and snapped - throwing bins of food around the Supascoopa's shop, and getting sacked as a consequence. Fortunately Reg Holdsworth was now working for Firman's Freezers and was able to wangle him a job as Assistant Manager - the old duo were united.
Early in 1995, Tricia Armstrong came to live in the Street. Curly and her went out a few times again, but nothing came of it. In September 1995, Curly's new boss, Leo Firman took Raquel out - but later tried to rape her. It was Curly she turned to, and who listened. However, he was still quite unprepared when in December 1995 she knocked on his door, and asked him if they could get married - in 48 hours ! When she was Mrs Watts, Raquel admitted that she had been used by Des Barnes again, and this made her realise what a kind, loving person Curly was. After a honeymoon on a Sunliners cruise, thay settled down to married life at No.7, with Curly replacing Reg as manager of the Weatherfield Firman's Freezer store.
- Kevin Kennedy was absent from the show between September 1998 and March 1999, taking a break due to alchohol issues.
- In 2003, Kennedy was axed after 20 years as it was felt there was no direction left for his character; he had been made too serious with the introduction of his family. However, in 2010 he reprised the role for the DVD release A Knight's Tale, alongside Ken Morley portraying Reg Holdsworth. It was revealed he was separated from his wife Emma by the events of the DVD.
"Morning, Mrs Fairclough" (First line)