The daughter of a Bradford-born mother, Philippa made a living doing beauty contests, planning to give them up once she got married. She was introduced to Billy in the spring of 1962 by her London agent Dennis Tanner and by early May she'd agreed to marry him. Philippa was sufficiently famous that the story was picked up by the Sunday papers in Billy's native Weatherfield, resulting in Jack and Annie Walker reading about their son's engagement in the tabloids before he'd informed them. Annie was greatly disturbed by the reports of fun-loving Philippa, who was quoted as being mad about the Twist, which Annie considered suggestive.
Once the cat was out of the bag, Billy brought Philippa to Weatherfield to meet his parents. While Jack gave her the nod of approval straightaway, Annie found her prejudice difficult to overcome, and had to be prompted by Billy to congratulate the couple. Philippa started to make headway with her the following day when she opined that the Rovers Return Inn should be more cocktail bar-ish - an opinion Annie shared. Her progress was later undone when Annie caught Philippa in Ken Barlow's arms in the Rovers living room and assumed the worst. The situation was innocent; the tablecloth had been burned by Philippa's sunlamp and Ken was helping her down after she stood on a chair to turn the machine off. Sceptical of this explanation, Annie was cool towards Philippa for the remainder of her visit.
In the weeks she spent in Coronation Street, Philippa made an impression on many of the residents. The male contingent of the street was especially enamoured, with Len Fairclough flirting heavily with the leggy blonde while doing building work at the Rovers and Ken Barlow taking an interest in how she saw herself and her profession. Philippa didn't mind this, being experienced enough with men to know which ones to worry about. Even Ena Sharples liked her, commenting that she had a look of herself at that age - though she went off the girl when Philippa recommended face cream to stop wrinkles. Philippa's greatest admirer was 13-year-old Lucille Hewitt, who started hero-worshipping her after she let Lucille borrow her scrapbook. Harry Hewitt ended up barring Lucille from seeing Philippa after his daughter was caught experimenting with make-up.
Philippa described herself as a compulsive eater and her behaviour in Coronation Street bore that out. While collecting Annie's order from the Corner Shop, Philippa added a load of her own foodstuffs, and she was constantly snacking, even when Billy was trying to cuddle her. To get a break from the environs of Weatherfield, Billy took Philippa out to the country in Harry Hewitt's car, but ended up stranding the couple in the middle of nowhere after the car broke down. They didn't return home until 3.00am.
Philippa started having doubts about quitting the business when her former rival Marlene Frazer won a competition and landed a part in a film. Talking through her future with Billy, Philippa realised that she wasn't ready to give up her old life and broke the engagement. The couple announced their split to the Walkers in the morning, with Philippa getting the teatime train back to London in order to compete in that evening's Southend show. Leaving Lucille with a few of her glamour photos, Philippa was escorted by Billy to Manchester Central Station. It was there that Billy made a plea to Philippa to stay, vowing not to stop her from competing, but Philippa knew it was a promise he couldn't keep and walked out of his life.