Percy became a widower upon the passing of his wife Mary in 1978. They had no children together. In Coronation Street, he was generally seen as opinionated and nosy; many sympathised with Emily for putting up with him for so long. He frequently lectured the younger residents of the Street, often making reference to his years in the Royal Army Catering Corps during the Second World War, when he drove a mobile canteen across the Western Desert. Even in his advancing years, Percy was a soldier, applying military precision to all aspects of his life.
While Percy was undeniably overbearing at times, he was very loyal to Emily and was a great help to her when she had a nervous breakdown in 1992. He left the Street in 1997 to get away from noisy neighbours the Battersbys, preferring the calm of Mayfield Court old folks' home.
Percy's friends in the Street were Maud Grimes, to whom he was briefly engaged, and Phyllis Pearce, his long-time admirer who Percy spent much of his time avoiding. His greatest companion though was Randy, his faithful budgie.
Percy Sugden arrived in the Street in 1983 as the new caretaker at the Community Centre. Old soldier Percy had been a cook in the Army and his proudest boast was: "When you've made gravy under shell fire, you can do anything!" Percy briefly knew fellow war veteran Albert Tatlock upon his arrival in the Street.
In 1983, Percy suggested to Mavis Riley that his pet budgie, Randy, should mate with her pet budgie, Harriet. However, Mavis was not happy with the idea. In 1984 Percy set up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme but was arrested after being accused of being a peeping tom, however this was proven to be a mistake as his neighbours said he was running a Neighbourhood Watch scheme.
In 1987, Percy formed the Percy Sugden Formation Dancers, containing such local notables as Hilda Ogden and Phyllis Pearce. He groomed them to an enter a local dance contest. Fed up with his bossiness, the dancers finally ousted Percy and elected a new chairman. Percy reacted by cancelling the group's entry in the dance contest, and informing them that new entries were no longer being accepted!
Also in 1987, Percy decided to be a good neighbour, making regular visits to Alf Roberts, who was recovering from a heart attack. Alf was horrified when insensitive Percy told him stories of other heart attack victims who had not been so lucky to survive!
Upon reaching retirement age in 1988, Percy was forced to leave his flat at the Community Centre and move out of the Street. Miserable at being away from the neighbourhood, he slumped into lethargy until Emily Bishop took pity on him and moved him in as her lodger at No 3.
Percy was delighted, but Mavis Riley, an old friend of Emily's, initially reacted with some jealousy.
When Mavis married Derek Wilton later in 1988, Percy was thrilled to act as best man (although nobody had actually asked him!) and took it upon himself to see that Derek made it to the wedding this time.
Like Albert Tatlock and Ena Sharples before him, Percy was disappointed by many of the "doings" of the younger generation. When Brian Tilsley was stabbed and killed outside a nightclub in 1989, Percy blamed it on "Acid Drops" (Acid House), stating that in his day people attending George Formby concerts hadn't come dashing out stabbing folk!
Percy had unwanted female attention thanks to Phyllis Pearce and Maud Grimes. Phyllis pursued him for most of the 1980s and into the 1990s, and sought to make him jealous by being seen around with other local pensioners, including Sam Tindall and Arnold Swift. But Percy was quite unmoved.
In 1997, Percy's happy life in the Street was shattered when the Battersbys moved in next-door. Percy couldn't stand his boisterous new neighbours, so he decided to move into a retirement complex at Mayfield Court, where Maud Grimes had moved two weeks earlier. Emily visited him the day after his move and reported back that he was settling in well and already busy helping other residents. At Christmas 1997 Maud commented to Emily that Percy had taken charge of the Mayfield Court Christmas dinner, giving regular advice to the cook on the preparation of the turkey.
Hobbies and interests
First and last lines
"Alright, you do. Bye now. Right, Kenneth." (Final lines)