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Norris Benjamin Cole is the son of Eunice Cole, half-brother of Ramsay Clegg and husband of Mary, and a resident at 3 Coronation Street from 2000 to 2019.

After his mother's death in January 1961 Norris had grown into a bitter man. He held resentment towards his half-brother Ramsay - who he believed had caused their mother untold amounts of stress in her final days - and by 1994 he already had one failed marriage under his belt - to a woman named Myrtle. Eventually, Norris entered into another doomed relationship with Angela Hawthorne (which caused him to become rivals with her ex-husband Derek Wilton).

In December 1999, Norris began renting a room the Park Road B&B after separating from Angela. Over the course of the next year Norris found permanent accommodation as a lodger at 3 Coronation Street - with Emily Bishop as his landlady - before being recruited by Rita Sullivan as her assistant at The Kabin. While working at The Kabin, Norris became known as the local gossip who took pleasure in criticising his customers and neighbours from behind the counter. While his ramblings caused both Rita and his landlady Emily no end of despair, he maintained strong friendships with both women.

A turning point for Norris came in 2009 when he was paid a visit by Ramsay, who wanted to make amends, however Norris rejected his brother and later felt deep regret after learning that Ramsay had succumbed to a brain tumour. With money that had been left to him in Ramsay's will, Norris purchased The Kabin from Rita and then in 2013 as a mark of generosity, Emily signed her house over to him. In August 2017, Norris was wed once again - this time to his friend Mary Taylor. However, the wedding was actually a ploy for the pair to win a Mr & Mrs competition so that Mary could gain round-the-world tickets to visit her long-lost son Jude Appleton in South Africa.

In early 2018, Norris decided to visit Emily - who was now residing in Edinburgh. While his stay was originally thought to be temporary, doubts about his return began to crop up when he decided to sell The Kabin to Brian Packham - without consulting Rita first. Norris made another shock decision in May 2019, when he sent Emily's niece Freda Burgess down from Edinburgh to put No.3 on the market while he stayed at a silent retreat in Shepton Mallet. This horrified Mary who couldn't believe her friend and husband would betray her.

Biography

1940-1994: Early years

Norris was born on 15th March 1940 to Eunice Cole. In 1960, Norris learned that he had a half-brother named Ramsay Clegg, who was born five years prior to Norris himself but was given up by their mother due to her being single. Ramsay's arrival caused great stress to Eunice as it brought up a past she wanted to forget, and in January 1961 she suddenly passed away. Norris was devastated by his mother's passing and blamed it on the shock of seeing Ramsay, and during the funeral Norris got into a conflict with him. Norris wanted nothing to do with his brother and cut him off, subsequently leading to Ramsay to return to Australia.

At some point afterwards, he met a woman named Myrtle Hargreaves and the pair got married.

Episode 3670

Norris in 1994

In March 1994, Norris gave Derek Wilton a lift after he was stranded on a motorway. A grateful Derek told Norris that he would be welcome to visit him in Weatherfield anytime. Taking Derek's advice, Norris left Myrtle and suddenly turned up at Derek's home on Coronation Street unannounced, much to the displeasure of Derek's wife Mavis.

1994-1997: Norris' lucky years

Norris developed a friendly rivalry with Derek Wilton, as Norris was capable of success and luck, whereas Derek was at the bottom. Having divorced Myrtle, Norris set his eyes on Derek’s ex-wife Angela, and the pair married in 1995.

After Derek had passed away suddenly from a heart attack in 1997, Norris broke the news to Mavis. Angela didn’t attend the funeral, with only Norris going in order to represent the Hawthornes. He was late to the funeral service and barged past the coffin, and insensitive to Mavis’ feelings referred to Derek as “Dirk” and mentioned how Mavis had abandoned him on the motorway and forgot his birthday. After the funeral, Norris returned home.

Duckworths 1983
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2008-2009: Mary Taylor

Duckworths 1983
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2009: Ramsay's return

Norris and Ramsay 2009

2009: Norris comes face to face with his half-brother Ramsay for the first time in nearly five decades.

On the same day that Mary had set off to travel the world, Norris was thrown back by the return of his half-brother Ramsay, whom he hadn't seen in nearly 50 years. Ramsay turned up unexpected at the Rovers Return, and informed Norris that he wanted to catch up with him, although Norris wasn't too keen as he was still feeling raw over their last interaction. Later on in the day, Ramsay turned up at No.3, but Norris still rebuffed Ramsay's request for reconciliation, accusing him of having blood on his hands for what he had done to their mother.

Regardless of Norris' defiance, Ramsay was still determined to reconcile with his brother. Much to Norris' annoyance, Ramsay became popular with the neighbours and especially formed a close bond with Emily. The only person that was annoyed by Ramsay's do gooder nature was Emily's niece Freda, whom found Ramsay's try hard attempts at trying to please others annoying, especially after he tried to impress her with badly done sign language.

Two months following his return, Ramsay took Norris to look around a flat at the Victoria Court apartment block, and made clear that he was going to stay in Weatherfield and not return to Australia. This angered Norris to the core, and he wasn't best pleased that Emily was in on the plan also. Norris gave Ramsay an ultimatum, that either he left and returned to Australia, or Norris himself would move away. Not wanting Norris to leave his friends on his account, Ramsay finally gave in and decided to leave. He bid Norris and Emily farewell, and departed by taxi for the airport.

Episode7152

Following the news of Ramsay's death, a guilt ridden Norris visits his mother's grave.

A few days later, Norris was shocked when the police came to the door and informed him that Ramsay had died on route back to the Australia. He was further shaken when it was revealed that Ramsay had a brain tumour all this time, and specifically returned to make amends with Norris before passing on. An angry Emily lashed out at Norris for his treatment of Ramsay, which caused a distressed Norris to leave the house and visit his mother's grave, in which he broke down in tears.

2009-2013: Ruling the Kabin; Mad Mary's return

Using the inheritance that Ramsay left over, Norris bought Rita's share of the Kabin, which made him the sole owner of the newsagents. Following this, Rita retired and left for a cruise. In November 2009, Freda made another return visit and began joining Norris in on his competition hobby, which resulted in the pair of them winning a cash prize. The prize was split, which Freda put towards a flat in Edinburgh. Around this time, Mary made a surprise return having been away for over six months, although she was convinced that Freda was Norris' new fancy woman. Much to her relief, Norris informed Mary that he and Freda are just friends and that she was helping him to win a competition.

In March 2010, Rita returned to the Kabin after being away on her cruise for five months.

In May 2010, Norris joined Mary on a holiday to the countryside. Much to his horror, Mary appeared to show some sort of mental instability and delusions. Spooked, Norris attempted to flee the scene to a nearby phone box with Mary in pursuit in her camper van, only to fall down a ditch and sprain his ankle. Mary took Norris back to the cottage in which she planned to nurse him back to full health. Norris continued to be paranoid under Mary's care, especially after he believed she was plotting to poison him. And despite Mary claiming that she had no phone to contact help, Norris overheard her speaking on the phone, which was apparently to her deceased mother. Having had enough, Norris called out Mary on her behaviour and managed to gain access to the phone to contact the authorities. The police arrived and Norris fled the scene, and Mary was subsequently taken into custody for questioning. She was later released without charge due to lack of evidence, as it turned out that her mother was still alive, and not murdered like Norris had suspected.

Despite the incident, Norris reconciled his friendship with Mary and put the incident behind him.

2013-2016: No.3 ownership and Emily's departure

Duckworths 1983
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2016-2017: Supporting Mary and third marriage

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2018 onwards: New life in Edinburgh

When Emily returned to the United Kingdom in January 2018 to help take care of Freda in Edinburgh, Norris went to visit them and took an extended break. In February 2019, he decided to sell The Kabin in order to travel with Emily and Freda, the news of which was broken to Rita.

Episode 9789

2019: An emotional Norris leaves Coronation Street after over 20 years.

Three months later in May 2019, Freda returned from Edinburgh with news that Norris was staying at a silent retreat in Shepton Mallet. She also broke bigger news to Mary and Tracy McDonald that he intended to sell 3 Coronation Street and start a new life. Later in the day, Freda placed a large urn beside a picture of Norris but later revealed that it contained the ashes of her service dog.

Hysterical, thinking that Norris was dead, Mary ran out into the street branding Freda a murderer, only for Norris to arrive in the back of a black cab leaving her speechless.

Upon his return, Norris hurts Mary's feelings several times; firstly asking for a divorce so he can marry Freda, and later when several unopened letters are uncovered that were hidden by Norris, addressed to Mary from Brendan Finch who was asking for her hand in marriage.

In June 2019, no. 3 had eventually sold but Norris confessed to Rita that he was having second thoughts about moving away, feeling guilty about leaving his friends behind. After agreeing to a divorce and making amends, Mary organised a party in the Rovers, with Norris and Freda leaving for Edinburgh later that day.

Personality

Duckworths 1983
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Traits

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Other information

  • Norris became an unlikely midwife in 2001 when he helped deliver baby Ben Watts.
  • Mary Taylor bought Norris a wig for his seventieth birthday in 2010. However, he didn't wear it (only briefly trying it on in the Rovers' toilets).
  • In a continuity error, Norris celebrated his 70th birthday in 2010, having previously celebrated his 60th birthday in 2001.

Background information

Malcolm Hebden as Norris

Promotional Photo of Malcolm Hebden as Norris Cole.

  • Norris was introduced in 1994, and appeared on a recurring basis until 1997. This was mainly due to him not living on the Street and not much of a major character and was normally involved in storylines with rival Derek Wilton. The character was axed in 1997 by Brian Park and last appeared at Derek's funeral. However two years on, he was reintroduced in 1999 on a regular basis, working in The Kabin.
  • Norris wasn't Malcolm Hebden's first role in the series. Twenty years before taking the part of Norris, he played the character of Carlos in 1974. There is a touch of irony in this, as the character proposed to Mavis Riley and was close to marrying her. Mavis later married Derek who was Norris' rival and friend, and Norris also ended up working for Rita Sullivan, Mavis' friend, in The Kabin.
  • In December 2017, Hebden had suffered a heart attack which led to him to be put into an induced coma. Because of this, he was given an extended break from filming in order to recover, and his last appearance for the time being was Episode 9321 on 8th December 2017. News of his illness wasn't disclosed a month following his heart attack, and the circumstances were later publicised in July 2018. In November 2018, it was reported that Hebden would be resuming filming the following year, although the return was described as a cameo appearance, and that the door would be left open for a future return. His return scenes aired on 6th May 2019 - after a seventeen month absence. He departed again with an on-screen exit on 7th June.

First and last lines

"Might I be right in thinking this is Mr Wilton's residence?" (First line, to Mavis Wilton).

---

"Ah, I shall miss this street, people on it. Goodbye old friends, ay?" (final line)

Appendices

(To be completed)

List of addresses

Address Duration
Unknown Prior to March 1994
4 Coronation Street March 1994
Unknown April 1994 to December 1999
Park Road B&B December 1999 to July 2000
3 Coronation Street July 2000 to January 2003
5 Coronation Street January to February 2003
3 Coronation Street February 2003 to February 2006
10a Coronation Street February to May 2006
3 Coronation Street19th May 2006 to April 2018
16a Turnham Street, Edinburgh April 2018 to May 2019
3 Coronation StreetMay 2019 to 7th June 2019
16a Turnham Street, Edinburgh 7th June 2019 onwards


Employment history

Role Institution Duration
Assistant The Kabin 1999 to 2009
Owner The Kabin 2009 to 2017
OwnerThe Kabin22nd November 2017 to February 2019

See also

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