Derek was employed as a sales rep for most of his working life, usually peddling stationary. When he met Mavis, he was in his late 30s, unmarried and totally under his mother Amy's thumb. It took eight years of mutual dithering for him to propose to Mavis, and when they finally set a date in 1984 neither of them turned up at the church.
Forever letting Mavis down, Derek still went to her with his problems. In 1985, he married his boss's daughter Angela Hawthorne to advance his career and immediately regretted it. Angela dominated Derek and in 1987, she sued him for divorce on the grounds of adultery, citing Mavis as co-respondent. Derek had to give up everything to keep Mavis's name out of the divorce. Once he was free of Angela, he and Mavis were married at last and in 1990 they moved into 4 Coronation Street.
Derek's career took a downturn in the 1990s with a run of humiliating jobs including selling novelties, working under Mavis's old flame Victor Pendlebury at Pendlebury Paper Products, deputy caretaker at Weatherfield Comprehensive, and sales rep for Angela's firm Hawthornes for which he drove a company car with a giant electronic paperclip on top. Eccentric, pompous, and immensely proud, Derek was the perfect match for Mavis. Their old-fashioned mannerisms and tendency to over-dramatise everything often made them the butt of the residents' jokes, especially their next-door neighbour Des Barnes who successfully pranked the Wiltons on many occasions.
Derek died from a heart attack during a road rage incident on Mavis's birthday in 1997.
Hobbies and interests
Peter Baldwin made recurring appearances as Derek from 1976 until 1987, debuting in Episode 1576 broadcast on 23rd February. The role was made more regular in 1988, taking effect from Episode 2861 broadcast on 31st August.
Derek was axed by producer Brian Park in a high profile cull in 1997. His axing was said to have caused his co-worker Thelma Barlow, who played his on-screen wife Mavis, to quit her role in the show. While appearing on ITV's This Morning in October 2010, Barlow denied it was the reason she left the show, stating she had decided to quit before Baldwin was axed.
After leaving Coronation Street, Peter Baldwin reprised the role of the ghost of Derek Wilton, visiting Norris Cole in a one-off sketch show as part of ITV's Text Santa charity initiative which was broadcast on 21st December 2012.
First and last lines
"Oh, they told me I could get a cup of coffee here." (First line)
"Here hang on you, look what you've done." (Final line, just before his heart attack)