Gloria was taken on as a barmaid at the Rovers by temporary manager Frank Harvey in January 1985. Bet Lynch had just got the job of permanent manager and was away on a training course, and Betty Turpin was rushed off her feet. Gloria and Maureen Barnett both started on the same day. Gloria had never worked behind a bar before but Frank was impressed and took her out for a meal, however when Bet came back from her course she was put out to find a young, glamorous woman behind the bar and asked her to finish, telling Gloria she was too inexperienced.
Gloria's boyfriend at the time was Steve Holt, but when he was sent to prison for a year Gloria started afresh with men.
Gloria returned to the Rovers in September that year to help Betty out when Bet went on a cruise at short notice. Gloria was hoping for a permanent job and this time Bet kept her on. Bet was in trouble with the brewery for disappearing without letting them know and Gloria saved Bet's job by sending for her when George Newton called at the Rovers to check that Bet was doing her duties as landlady when in fact she was on a night out with Frank Mills.
Gloria and Frank fancied each other. At Christmas, Frank kissed Gloria under the mistletoe and then made a pass at her - Gloria had to fight him off and she ended up with bruises on her arms. Frank tried to make Bet get rid of Gloria by telling her Gloria had made a pass at him, but Bet was convinced by Gloria's bruises that Frank was a liar and she told him to get lost.
In March 1986, Gloria started getting red roses from a secret admirer. One set came with a card inviting her to Birds Nest Hotel, where all would be revealed. Gloria went to the hotel, bringing along Jack Duckworth for protection, only for Jack to turn up in his "Vince St. Clair" outfit and reveal that he was the sender! Gloria promised not to tell Vera in exchange for him not sending any more roses but another one did arrive, this time from David Atherton, a man she'd met at the hotel. She went out with him for a while but it wasn't serious.
A short time later, Steve Holt was released from prison and, with nowhere to go, he turned up at Gloria's flat. Gloria had moved on and told him he didn't love him anymore but she put him up for one night while she stayed at the Rovers. After this he started stalking her, resulting in Bet barring him from the Rovers to protect Gloria. He slept rough near her flat but when he realised that Gloria wasn't going to change her mind, he headed south.
Early in the year, Alan Bradley moved into Flat 3 opposite Gloria at 41 Ashdale Road. He let Gloria know he'd handle any jobs she needed doing that needed a man. Gloria fancied Alan but was wary of him; when she was being pestered by Terry Duckworth, who she'd went on a date with but dumped him when he'd taken her to a party full of teenagers at 13 Coronation Street, Alan dealt with him non-violently but then when Terry badmouthed him, Alan gave him a beating.
Gloria and Alan fancied each other but Gloria thought Alan and Rita Fairclough were an item. Alan told her they were just friends. Gloria and Alan started sleeping together but Gloria asked Alan to make his feelings clear to Rita so he didn't mislead her. Alan played the part of the perfect boyfriend, even getting Gloria a job at the Graffiti Club when the Rovers closed after the fire, but soon after this he started lying to Gloria about his whereabouts and Gloria decided to get the truth from Rita. She discovered that Alan was two-timing her and warned Rita to stay away from Alan, but when she also learned that his relationship with Rita had been going on longer than her own relationship with him, Gloria finished with him, telling him his lies had killed their relationship.
When the Rovers was re-opened, Gloria returned to work there. At the end of the year, a man called Richard Armstrong introduced himself to Gloria as her half-brother, much to her surprise. He was in the country on behalf of her mother, who was dying from cancer in Canada and wanted to see her. Gloria didn't want to go at first but changed her mind when Bet told her she'd never forgive herself if she passed up her last chance to see her mum.
Gloria returned in April 1987 to the news of changes at the Rovers. The tenancy was now owned by Bet, with an investment from Alec Gilroy. The couple married later in the year - with Gloria serving as Bet's bridesmaid - but with two landlords now running the Rovers Alec decided they didn't need two barmaids and either Gloria or Betty would have to go. Bet decided reluctantly to sack Gloria but Betty volunteered to cut her hours back to save Gloria's job.
The following year, Gloria started going out with Mike Baldwin, his first date since splitting up with Susan. Things were going well until Mike suddenly stopped taking Gloria out without explanation - eventually he fobbed her off by saying he was too busy with the factory, but he did invite her to a business dinner with him and Graham and Linda Farrell. Gloria realised that Mike was only interested in her when it was convenient for him and that he wasn't offering her an equal relationship but then he surprised her by giving her a key to his flat.
Later, Gloria found Mike in the flat bending over an unconscious Linda, who'd gotten drunk and told him she was leaving Graham for him. Mike asked Gloria to take Linda home and tell Graham they were on a night out. Gloria did as he asked but was annoyed at him for involving her in the fiasco and she finished with him. Mike later tried to get Gloria to forgive him by sending her roses but when it became obvious that he was taking her forgiveness for granted, she threw the roses at him over the bar and told him to get lost.
In August, Gloria went on a night out with fellow barmaid Sandra Stubbs and they were chatted up by Tony Walker in a club. They called themselves Cheryl and Roxanne, but when they joined him and his friend, the friend turned out to be Mike. Mike went along with the charade.
At the end of the year, when Sandra broke a date with Pete Shaw, Gloria looked after him at the Rovers and he gave her a lift home afterwards. They fell for each other and decided to have a relationship but it fell to Gloria to break the news to Sandra. When she did so, Sandra became angry and threw a drink in her face. Gloria felt even worse when Alec sacked Sandra because of the fight (Bet was away at a health farm) and Gloria decided to resign from the Rovers so that Sandra would get her job back. She then left the Street.
- Gloria was played by Sue Jenkins. Jenkins's initial contract was for six episodes transmitted in the first few weeks of 1985. She returned on a longer-term contract in September that year and stayed until 1988.
- In The Coronation Street Story (1995), Jenkins spoke about how she approached the role and Gloria's persona: "Anyone worth their salt begins to find the various assets of their character. There was naivety about her, but it was not stupidity, so I did my best to make her a fully rounded character although she was naive and a bit silly sometimes about men, which a lot of women are." (p178)
- Jenkins's son, Richard Fleeshman, played Craig Harris from 2002 to 2006.
First and last linesEdit
"Like this?" (First line, to Frank Harvey when he teaches her to pull a pint)