Norma was born on 3rd July 1945. As she grew up, Norma became used to her father Jacko Ford being in and out of prison on burglary charges and her relationship with him was subsequently strained as she spent lots of time with her Aunty Doris. Her mother died when she was 14. She still matured into a well-adjusted, law-abiding person who sought a stable life, away from her father who she had lost faith in. One difficult area was men, with Norma learning the hard way that openness or dishonesty about her dad being in prison were equally destructive to her relationships. One boyfriend in particular, named John, was remembered with sadness in this regard.
In May 1972, Norma applied for a job at the Corner Shop in Coronation Street, Weatherfield when owner Maggie Clegg advertisied for an assistant. When Norma saw off a fellow applicant by pretending to be Maggie's niece, Maggie was impressed and took her on, with Norma also moving into the shop accommodation.
Norma intended the move as a fresh start, and hoped that Jacko wouldn't find her there but upon his release from prison he immediately went to see her. Having heard the truth about Jacko from Norma, Maggie tried to reconcile the pair and let Jacko stay at the shop over Norma's objections, but when Norma refused to believe that he had reformed, Jacko agreed to stay away. Norma was so set against her father that she shopped him to the police over his suspected participation in a break-in at a jewellers, but he was released when the real culprit was caught and arrested. Norma then began to accept Jacko being in her life and agreed to him staying at the shop, and even convinced Annie Walker to reinstate Jacko as Rovers potman when she sacked him upon learning about his criminal record.
In October, Jacko was in the frame for a burglary at Benny Lewis's flat and the theft of £5,000. Norma decided to stand by her father as she thought the crime was too big for him, although she doubted his story that he won money in a card game. The real culprit, Franny Slater, and his accomplices were arrested for the crime in January 1973, and a vindicated Jacko left for a job in Oakhill.
Late in 1972, Norma took a shine to teacher Ken Barlow and hoped to get closer to him when he agreed to give her English Literature lessons. She didn't like it when Jerry Booth joined the lessons, with similar hopes of spending time with Norma, although he quit when he realised Norma had no interest in him. Norma and Ken did eventually date but Ken wasn't interested in a serious relationship and dumped Norma when he thought she wanted to tie him down.
Norma remained hopeful that Ken would change his mind but as he had no real interest in her he only used her at his convenience, such as when he was on the rebound from Elaine Perkins. Norma knew that he would soon dump her again but was still heartbroken when he quickly moved on to Rita Littlewood. When Ken tried to apologise, Norma refused to accept it and called him selfish. When she learned that he had married Janet Reid only a short time later, Norma decided she couldn't take any more humiliation or heartbreak and, after passing up an invitation to the Barlows' wedding reception, left the area. She returned briefly in July 1974 for Maggie's wedding to Ron Cooke, with a man in tow.
- In the Rovers Christmas 40s show in 1972, Norma, Bet Lynch and Betty Turpin performed as the Andrew Sisters.
- Norma impersonated Ken Dodd at a Rovers cabaret in August 1973.
- Norma first appeared in Episode 1186 on 29th May 1972 and appeared in 121 episodes. The character was conceived by Producer Eric Prytherch as a means to introduce more younger characters to counterbalance the established older cast.
- When writers were looking for a new wife for Ken Barlow in 1973, William Roache suggested that they marry Ken and Norma, but was told that Norma was "too common for Ken".
- Diana Davies also played Joyce in Episode 746, and was heard as the Control Voice in Episode 923.
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