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Leslie Nelson "Les" Battersby-Brown (né Battersby) was a resident of 5 Coronation Street from 1997 to 2007. Twice married, he is the father of Leanne Battersby and step-father of Toyah Battersby and Chesney Brown.

Leanne's mother, Stella Price, had only a brief relationship with Les before being shut out by his mother Betty. Les left his mother's to live with his long-term partner Janice Lee, raising Leanne and Janice's daughter Toyah as sisters. The couple were married in 1994 and the family moved into the Street as council tenants in 1997.

Initially an obnoxious loudmouth, Les mellowed over time, but even at his best could always be counted on to represent the lower end of the class scale in Weatherfield. Les spent most his early years in the Street jobless and in 1999 he was done for claiming benefits while working on the canal. Gainful employment finally came in 2001 when Les was taken on as a taxi driver at Street Cars, where he remained until he left the Street.

In 2001, sick of Les, Janice left him for his biker friend Dennis Stringer. Les was so devastated that he attempted suicide by poisoning himself with carbon monoxide. He was saved by Dennis, though Dennis himself was killed in a car crash whilst driving Les to the hospital. Staying on at No.5, Les took in a lodger, Kirk Sutherland, and eventually his future wife Cilla Brown and her young son Chesney. Cilla was even more brash and devilish than Les, and so they were well suited. In 2007, Les walked out on his family go to on tour with tribute band ZZ Top O' the Morning, and never returned to Weatherfield.

Les also had a son, Greg Kelly, who was born in 1972 following a holiday romance between Les and Moira Kelly when he was seventeen. Greg and Les didn't find out about each other until later in life and were never close.

Biography

1955-1996:Background

Leslie Nelson Battersby was born on 28th August 1955 to Betty Battersby and grew up in Weatherfield with his sister, Josie. In 1971, Les was working for a travelling fairground and enjoyed a holiday romance with Moira Kelly while in Warrington. Les moved on and remained unaware for the next 28 years that he had fathered a child, Greg. Les later began a relationship with Stella Price and she fell pregnant, giving birth to daughter Leanne in July 1981. This time, Les stuck around and intended to raise Leanne with Stella but the novelty soon wore off and Les continued drinking heavily and neglecting his wife and daughter. Struggling to cope with Les's behaviour and a baby to look after, Stella walked out. Les returned to live with his mother with Leanne and when Stella returned to get Leanne, Betty refused to let her take the child. At some point after this Les had a significant relationship with a woman named Davina.

Later he met Janice Lee, a single mother to daughter Toyah and the pair were married in 1994, at which point Toyah took Les's surname and formed a family unit with Leanne- the Battersbys. On his wedding night to Janice, Les snogged her sister Janet in the ladies toilet. Les, at one point; spent six months in Strangeways Jail for breaking and entering. The family were rehoused several times by the council due to problems with neighbours before arriving in Coronation Street.

1997-2003: Early years in Coronation Street

The Battersbys arrived when No 5 was repossessed and bought by the Council, and a problem family was given the space. Their loud music, loutish behaviour and criminal tendancies soon rubbed several of their new neigbours up the wrong way and before they had even moved in Toyah and Leanne had stolen a drill from Bill Webster to give to Les. Les immediately clashed Curly Watts and Des Barnes. After Curly reached the end of his tether, breaking into No.5 and throwing Leanne’s CD player out of the window, Les headbutted him in the street and promptly acquired a replacement. Samantha Failsworth had better luck convincing Les to turn the volume down by utilising the fact that Les clearly fancied her.

Later, Les enjoyed wandering the interconnected loft spaces to have a look around the homes of other residents. Les moved objects around in the neighbouring houses and engaged in minor vandalism, scaring Emily Bishop and his own wife into believing that something more sinister was going on, although Ken Barlow was more sceptical and Les was eventually discovered as the culprit. Ken chased Les back through the loft space but ended up falling through and into Leanne's bedroom, on top of her and Nick. Nevertheless, these antics scared the elderly Percy Sugden so much that he moved away.

Les' first big mistake was on 22nd December 1997. He got a turkey, a live one though. After naming it Theresa, Les said he'd slit the turkey's throat. But Toyah and her vegetarian boyfriend Spider Nugent decided to set the turkey free. When Les swore he'd find it, he took stepdaughter Toyah in his car - but he didn't notice the turkey walk right into the path of the car. After mowing down Theresa, Les later remarked; "This is champion turkey, this!", with Leanne saying, "I can't eat this, look, it's even got tyre marks on it!"

In 1998, Les' long-lost son Greg Kelly turned up on his doorstep. Greg was born from an affair between Les and wealthy Moira Kelly, and Janice feared Les would want to hook up again with Moira. She was right, but Moira resisted Les' brand of charm and asked him to leave her home. He did, but he was arrested for drink-driving and banned from being behind the wheel for eighteen months. Janice threw him out of the house and forced him to live in a camper van until he eventually won her round again. Greg, meanwhile, was run out of town after using Sally Webster for her money and then beating her.

Les heard that cash was being offered for cobbles, but when he dug one up, he dropped it on his toe. He made life hell for nurse Martin Platt during his hospital visit, and stole drugs from the unlocked trolley. He overdosed and had to have his stomach pumped. He insisted Martin was to blame, and Martin resigned when the hospital believed Les' lies over his own verdict. After Janice learned that Les was planning to spend the compensation money on a holiday with Jackie Dobbs, she told the hospital board that Les had taken the medication of his own accord.

Toyah began to take English lessons from Ken Barlow, as she wanted to become a writer. Les thought Ken was making a move on Toyah and headbutted him. Toyah, sickened by Les, ran away to London to find who she thought was her real father, Neil Flynn; who tied her up in his flat. Janice and Les followed the trail and found her after she'd run away from Flynn.

Les continued to alienate Toyah, as he beat up her boyfriend Spider and Toyah left home. Les continued to be a problem until Spider, who had started working for DSS, discovered Les was claiming benefits whilst working on the canal. Les was forced to leave Toyah and Spider alone. The DSS ultimately discovered Les' duplicity without Spider's help and Les was sentenced to 150 days community service scrubbing graffiti. He teased Tyrone Dobbs for being illiterate, so Tyrone got his own back by spraying more graffiti each time Les cleaned a wall, and when Les helped out at a local park, removing Les' rowing boat so that he was marooned on an island overnight.

Janice was disgusted with Les when he drank the money she'd saved for their electricity bill, and the power was cut off. During a holiday in Wales, a young man named Owen Williams made a pass at Janice. She considered his offer, but when Les was electrocuted, she realised she couldn't cheat on him. Owen followed the family back to Weatherfield and asked Janice to join him in Wales. Les beat him up.

Janice eventually had enough of Les; the final straw being when he gave her a deep fryer as a present for their anniversary and his liaison with Janet on their wedding day was revealed when Les was hypnotised in the Rovers. She began an affair with Eileen Grimshaw's partner Dennis Stringer, and ultimately left Les for him. Les was devastated by Janice walking out on him and became depressed, even holding Janice hostage on Christmas Eve in an attempt to convince her to come back to him.

Ironically, when Les tried to gas himself on New Years' Night, it was Dennis who came to his rescue. When Dennis tried to get Les to hospital, the car he was driving flipped over on a hill and crashed into the field below. Dennis died in the ICU of the Weatherfield General on 2nd January 2002. Les was relatively unhurt but Janice was heartbroken by the loss of Dennis and vowed never to forgive Les, telling him that he should have died in the car instead.

In 2003, Janice began dating policeman Mick Hopwood. Les was furious with this and would take every opportunity to goad Mick. In one heated argument Mick brutally beat Les up and falsely claimed Les attacked him. Les was sentenced to six months in jail. When he left jail, Les was obsessed with revenge and went over to Mick's house, threatening to beat him to death with a crowbar. When the truth came out about Mick's beating of Les Janice left Mick.

2004-2007: Relationship with Cilla

When Les came back, he found out that he'd lost his job at Street Cars. This was around the time young Chesney Brown came into his life - and his mother. Les met falsely named "Lulu" at a pub. He slept with her, but in the end, he found that this was Chesney and Fiz Brown's tart of a mum, Cilla.

In 2004, after an ugly fight, Cilla left for six weeks. Les was left alone with Chesney and took the opportunity to rekindle his relationship with Janice. They had almost reconciled until Cilla returned, and, using her sex appeal and false claims of coming into money, won Les back. In spite of Cilla's shrewish ways, the two schemers had some affection for each other, and even planned on getting married; mainly for the wedding presents!

On Friday 23rd September 2005, he met his idols Status Quo - who battered him for a grave incident twenty years previously. They settled a deal to rock at his wedding, which they did. When they got married, she adopted his surname and he took hers to become "Battersby-Brown". Wedded bliss didn't last long though, as an overexcited Les, trying to be a rockstar, smashed all the presents he and Cilla had received. Cilla left Les behind and went on the honeymoon with her best friend Yana Lumb.

In March 2006, Les jumped into bed again with Janice. She was drunk and depressed and he helped her home. Janice was disgusted with herself and the only pleasure she had was in rubbing Cilla's nose in the one-night stand. Cilla only took Les back when he offered to crawl over the Street cobbles.

Les regretted his mistakes with his daughters and tried to be more of a father to Chesney. Chesney adored him and in 2006, asked a delighted Les to officially become his father. After some initial haggling, and resentment from Cilla, he was recommended by the social worker.

In mid-2006, Cilla began keeping secrets. No one knew the real reason was treatments for skin cancer. Les, believing Cilla was having an affair, had a one-night stand with Yana, who was upset with Cilla for not confiding in her. Chesney saw them, and told Cilla. A furious Cilla pretended her cancer was terminal, and guilted Les and Yana into sitting in a bathtub of mushy peas in freezing temperatures, all because she wanted money to "swim with the dolphins." When she got the money, she told everyone she was fine, and left a furious Les to go on holiday in Florida. When she returned, they reconciled and Cilla, Les and Chesney all lived together.

2007 onwards: Departure and aftermath

Les battersby final scene

Les in 2007

Les disappeared in May 2007. He was last seen in the Street Cars office, talking to Steve McDonald and Jamie Baldwin. He initially left to become a roadie for tribute band ZZ Top o'the Morning.

By late-2007, Cilla had also left the Street, and Chesney was being raised by Fiz and Kirk. Les contacted Chesney in March 2008 to say he was still not returning home. Chesney began to sense Les was not coming back, and became angry. In November 2008, Cilla sent Chesney and Kirk plane tickets to South Africa, telling them she was with Les. Later, they showed up only to learn that Cilla was with a South African man named "Lesedi", and that Cilla had not heard from Les in quite some time.

In May 2009, when Chesney wanted to learn where cabbie Eddie Windass had been taking Fiz, he found an old Status Quo button which had once belonged to Les, and gave it to Eddie, implying that he had finally accepted Les was no longer a part of his life. In June 2011, Les' ex-girlfriend Stella Price turned up in Weatherfield and told Leanne that she was her birth mother. Initially, Leanne could not come to terms with this as she saw Janice as her mum, but eventually came round to accept this.

In October 2014, Cilla revealed that she was no longer in contact with Les.

In January 2018, Chesney mentioned that neither Les or his mother could make his wedding to Sinead Tinker.

Personality

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Relationships

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Hobbies and interests

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Background information

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  • In 1997, new producer Brian Park wanted to bring a tougher group into what he saw as a staid programme. The Battersbys were dubbed "the family from hell", and their bitter clashes with the established characters alienated a number of longtime fans. In the Battersby Family Album special, Bruce Jones recounted being in a pub after the episode where Les headbutted Curly Watts, and being seriously threatened if Les ever went near Curly again.
  • In March 2007, actor Bruce Jones was suspended from the show after selling stories to newspapers. [1] Later that year, Bruce and the show parted ways. As a result Les left abruptly without an on-screen exit storyline. [2]

First and last lines

"Did yer do the shopping?" (First line, to daughter Leanne)

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"I'll tell you who's a man's man... Graham Norton!" (Final line, to Jamie Baldwin and Steve McDonald)

Appendices

Duckworths 1983
"If you've owt to say, spit it out before it flamin' well chokes yer"
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See also

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