Created 13th October 2004
Updated 19th July 2007

Norris Cole

Played by & IMDB entry for Malcolm Hebden

Appeared: 1994 - 1997, 1 December 1999 -

Born: 5th March 1940

Married 1st: Myrtle
Married 2nd: 29 December 1995 Angela Hawthorne divorced 1999

The Following Profile was submitted by Patricia Dempsey and is ©2004 to Patricia Dempsey &

Norris Cole first arrived in 1994 by giving Derek Wilton a lift home from the service station he had become stranded at after the coach left without him. He paid a visit to the Wiltons and constantly irritated Derek by referring to him as Dirk. He told Derek he had left his wife after becoming impressed by his dominance. He soon moved in as a lodger and introduced Derek to selling pyramids. Derek invested £2000 into stock but was a failure compared to Norris who made enough money to move into a flat and sold Derek his car which promptly fell apart.

He reappeared in 1995 after selling a treadmill to the Wiltons. Derek was shocked to learn Norris was dating his ex-wife, Angela Hawthorne and more when Norris became chairman at Hawthorne's. Derek and Mavis were caught up in gnome-napping when their beloved Arthur was stolen one night, leaving Guinevere alone. Postcards arrived signed Arthur and Derek at first accused Des Barnes. Norris eventually confessed the night before his wedding to Angela. As his best man, Derek was entrusted to delivering the groom to the church safely but decided to make Norris late by taking him to the wrong church. Angela was not amused when they finally turned up.

The Wiltons found they couldn't get rid of Norris. He turned up again the following year and told them he wanted to kill Angela. Derek became suspicious as Norris spent more and more time alone at the allotment and convinced himself Angela was buried there. He and Mavis dug away only to discover Angela's golf clubs.


Norris emerged from the wilderness in 1999 despite an appearance at Derek 's funeral two years earlier, down on his luck and divorced from Angela. Rita Sullivan took him on as her assistant to replace the annoying Blanche Hunt. Norris was full of big plans for The Kabin to increase profit which Rita thought about then agreed to. He also moved in as Emily Bishop's lodger. Things were going well until Richard Hillman arrived on the scene in 2001 and suggested Emily release equity on her house to help her nephew Spider buy his juice bar. Norris became suspicious of Richard and let him know in no uncertain terms he was watching him. All his publicly expressed fears for Emily's well-being fell on deaf ears, although at Christmas he delivered Curly and Emma Watts son, Ben, in their living room and became his godfather. Things came to a head in 2002 after Rita informed Richard she had changed her mind about investing her money. Richard blamed Norris and followed him one day as he was jogging around the streets while training for his stewardship at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games. He pulled up in front on Norris, bundled him into the car and drove to his new luxury flats development. Norris was terrified and wanted to be let out. He promised Richard he wouldn't hassle him again and everyone was surprised to see them on friendly terms. However, as Christmas approached, Richard's concern for Emily began to worry Norris again. Hospitalised after a Christmas pudding accident where he slipped in the kitchen knocking himself out, he felt helpless and asked Rita to check Emily was all right. Emily was getting increasingly frustrated at Norris's attention and jumped at the chance of babysitting baby Joshua Peacock on the 13th January 2003 while Ashley and Maxine went over the road to celebrate her mother Doreen's birthday. The pub was crowded and, despite his best efforts, Norris couldn't keep his eye on Richard all the time so didn't notice him slip out. He and Ashley left the pub together. When Norris got home, he discovered the house was empty so went across the road to the Peacock's and was shocked when Ashley opened the door covered in blood. He entered the house and saw Maxine lying dead on the floor while Emily was lying on the sofa, her head smashed in. He called for an ambulance then went to fetch Doreen and Fred. When the ambulance arrived he told them Emily was still alive. Once she was home, Emily was at breaking point with Norris and his accusations and ordered him to leave. Reluctantly he was forced to move in with Les Battersby and Kirk Sutherland and got the wrong end of the stick when he overheard Rita saying to Emily on the phone about missing him and staying. They had, in fact, been discussing the return of Spider. Norris felt foolish and was forced to grovel to Les in order to get a roof over his head. Richard's confession to Gail caused Emily and Norris to be reconciled and he refused to say he told her so. Les was gald to get rid of Doris, as he called him, despite enjoying the extra rent. After Richard's death, it was discovered he had massive debts and Norris and Emily worried about the house being sold. Norris looked into taking out a mortgage. Emily was relieved she wouldn't have to become his lodger when she heard the house was safe.

Norris was one of the first people to have doubts about Richard Hillman

2002 was not a good year for Norris. Rita decided to take a Shi-tzu formerly owned by a late customer. But the dog arrived the day she was due to leave on a cruise with Mavis. Emily volunteered to look after the dog for those three weeks. Norris hated it and it didn't help his allergy. The dog kept growling at him making him nervous. But a few chocolates won the dog round until one day, about a week before Rita returned, he discovered the dog was dead in the stock room. After a long and expensive search, he managed, with Kirk's help, to find one that looked identical at a cost of £450. Rita was pleased to see Mr Woo when she walked into the shop, but was distressed he didn't want to know her. Later at a party over at the Webster's, she casually informed Emily she had sold the dog. In the Rovers Emily and Norris's hearts sank as Rita told them she had got £300 for the dog after meeting a breeder on the cruise, and she was too old to take on a dog anyway. Norris immediately went to Kirk about the price he had quoted and he said he had told him he was willing to pay anything.

Norris was Rita's rock during the business with Cilla Brown in 2004. As she became increasingly reclusive, he took care of the shop for her. He even decided to buy it when she announced she was selling up. He tried not to let his disappointment show when she changed her mind.

In June, he was convinced The Kabin was haunted and even bought a book about the paranormal after saying the back room was cold. He really got the bit between his teeth when he was told by Emily that Vera Lomax, the daughter of Ena Sharples, died there of a brain tumour when the Glad Tidings Mission stood on the site. He decided to hold a seance to contact her spirit, with Rita, Blanche and Betty in attendance. When a box fell off the shelf, he accused Rita of trickery. It turned out to be damp causing the walls to crack and he felt foolish while Rita mocked him.

Norris falls in love with Rula

Norris found himself in love in September when Rita's old friend Rula Romanoff waltzed into the shop looking for her. He was delighted when they were invited for dinner but crestfallen when she introduced her husband. He still looked forward to the weekend at Rula's house though and made out to everyone it was a theatrical soiree. After dinner, he went to bed but was curious at the noises her heard. He looked around his door and saw people going into various rooms. He decided to find out what was going on from Rula but she was ready for him wearing sexy lingerie. His enjoyment was interrupted when Rita burst into the room, demanding he got dressed as they were going home.

Norris and Rula

In the car when they had pulled up outside Emily's, he told her he thought she knew that was why they were invited. Rita denied it and they decided never to mention it again. Norris told people the reason they were home early was because Rita hadn't been feeling well. She wasn't happy at being dragged into it but went along with it as she explained to Audrey while they made knowing remarks to each other.

Rita interupts Norris and Rula

On Christmas Day at Claire and Ashley's wedding, Norris was roped in to replace the organist who fell ill at the last minute. As Claire walked down the aisle, Norris played Cliff Richard's, Summer Holiday which, according to Rita, was either that or Devil Woman. At the Rover's New Year's Eve party, she got really annoyed with Norris after he rattled off a list of everyone famous and customers who died over the past year, which clearly had upset Audrey. He seemed oblivious to the fact he'd upset her even though Rita pointed out it was the anniversary of Alf's death. When he said he'd shut up, Rita told him that was the most sensible thing he'd said all year. He also danced to Status Quo at the Rover's New Year's Eve private party.

Norris was part of the book club story

As 2005 dawned, Norris got heavily in the novel, Hard Grinding and, despite much criticism of his choice of book from Ken, started a book club, which Rita only agreed to join if it was over a drink in the pub. In May, much to his surprise, the suthor, Mel Hutchwright, turned up at the cafe brandishing a letter from Blanche. He was delighted when Mel dubbed him, 'Alpha Male' of the book group, and insisted he move in with him and Emily. After spending a lot of money buying him cigars, booze, paper and various other things, discovering the sound of typing in the front room was nothing more than a tape recorder but was won round, as well as being encouraged to write a novel himself, Norris persuaded everyone to chip in to pay for Mel's latest novel. He was devasted to learn he'd been used after Ken revealed Mel Hutchwright was a pen-name and he was a con man, having done this numerous time in the past. At the end of the month, he accompanied Rita, Blanche and Blanche's friend Lena to speed dating at the Weathefield Arms. Although he told Rita he was there to protect her, he really wanted to have a go without making himself look like he approved. He got talking to one woman who was very knowlegable about literature and claimed he was a writer. When the lady discovered from Blanche he wasn't, she slapped him.

As June draw to a close, he was hard at it writing his novel. He was furious to walk into the Kabin to the sight of Rita reading out passages to Emily. Despite Rita's unconvincing protests, he decided to get his own back on them both. So he created a menage a trois for his hero, Naurice, between a mild-mannered church-goer called Emilia and a racy, titian temptress called Riba, knowing they'd read it. In the pub later that day, he asked if they minded him joining them, saying it could be like a threesome, which made Rita choke on her drink. Emily pressed him about writing being either from real life experience or fantasies and she and Rita looked at each other a few times as he explained a lot was some of his fantasies. Knowing they'd continue to read his novel, he decided to really play dirty and wrote about his hero proposing to both, being rejected and getting out his old service revolver. He shut the shop and first proposed to Rita, who was shocked but said no. He was taken aback when Emily agreed. Later in the pub, he grinned after they'd read the part in his book about getting his own back on two nosy parkers but began to worry when Emily revealed she was looking forward to marrying him and felt unhappy he was now rejecting her. He was relieved when she confessed she was joking.

Mid-August and Norris was faffing around Emily as he was worried a niece who was coming to stay was another like Spider, if indeed she really was related. He at first thought Freda, who was related to Ernest, was ignoring him when he talked to her on the doorstep but it turned out she was deaf. Emily ended up having an accident and spraining her accident so Norris wasted no time in telling Freda she should leave as Emily wasn't as strong as she made out. Emily was livid he'd driven Freda away and told him what she thought of him in no uncertain terms. Egged on by Rita, she did his best to apologise in the Rovers. A couple of days later he managed to get on the nerves of Rita again. After he drove her potty, she told him she was going upstairs for forty winks. She was not amused when he called her selfish by disappearing while he stayed in the shop so she told him she'd be back down in 20 minutes. Nearly two hours later there was still no sign of her and he asked Blanche to hold the fort while he went to the toilet. Upon going upstairs through a door in the back which miraculously appeared overnight, he noticed Rita on the sofa. As he got closer, he thought she was dead and he arm dangled off the arm of the settee when he reached for a pulse. He went downstairs, telling Sally, Blanche and Jack she was dead and even turned to Blanche in comfort. They all went upstairs and after a while she woke up and screamed when she was confronted by foursome and laughed when she found out they thought she was dead. She then had a horrible thought and asked rather nervously if he'd tried giving her the kiss off life. Back in the shop afterwards, she and Norris had another disagreement. He wanted a partnership to give him some security and she made it clear it was HER shop and she desperately tried to change the subject. He was trying to reassess his life and said she didn't care, which was correct. The next day, he told her he was going to look for another job since she was still refusing to even a partnership to give him some security in the event of her death. She didn't believe for a second he really would and even played it at his own game by suggesting she start advertising for his replacement. Norris wasn't keen on that idea and made excuses so she agreed to advertise after he'd found a position and started his two weeks notice. Much to his surprise, she even wrote him a reference but wasn't best please to find it sealed. That didn't stop him opening it though and telling her later in the pub it was accidental. He wasn't impressed by what she'd written, which was the truth, so wrote his own, telling her she could sign it. He surprised Emily and Rita by informing them he had received 3 replies to his job applications. He was given the job at Ream Team, his second interview but told Emily, Rita and Blanche later in the pub he was going to turn them down, omitting to mention they wanted £15,000 for the franchise. He tried to make out to Rita the job was more than it was in the hope she'd change her mind about the partnership but she didn't care less. After he accidentally left the letter at the shop, she returned it and gave him a piece of her mind. He went for an another interview at a new firm and was shocked, after giving one young applicant tips on staying calm, to discover the interviewers was the son of his former wife Angela Hawthorne, Neville. It turned out the company had just changed the name. The writers were on a roll and gave Norris and Neville amnesia when Neville mentioned Christmas 1992 when Norris hadn't even met Derek Wilton, let alone been introduced to Angela through him and again when Neville brought up not getting a Scalextric for his 32nd birthday in May 1992 when again, Norris didn't even know his mother. Neville offered him a job though as teaboy, which he was reluctant to tell Rita and Emily for fear of more derision he was past it. He got a shock when his ex-wife Angela walked into the shop offering him a job. Memory played tricks on the writers again though when she said it must have been 10 years. Norris agreed to meet her for lunch at The Clock but soon she went back to her old ways and bossed him around at the table. He snapped and walked out. When she turned up again the following day, she made derogatory comments about the shop and implied he only stayed because he fancied Rita. That caused a frosty atmosphere between him and his boss until later in the pub he made it clear he didn't have any feelings for her except platonic ones. She was relieved and offered him a partnership, emphasising the junior part of it. He began to get carried away, even suggesting, The Cole Hole for a name to which Rita told him she wasn't dead yet. After Audrey had accused Rita of having an affair with Alf after finding that dreadful superimposed photo, surprisingly, although Norris was the only one wearing glasses, he never noticed how fake it was. He accompanied Rita and Emily to Shelley and Charlie's wedding and after Shelley ran out the church, he told Rita he had plans for increasing their margins as they made their way out. He was put firmly in his place when she stressed her was a junior partner and told him not to forget it. The next month, Norris annoyed Rita even more by having their names painted on the shop's fascia, his first. Rita grabbed him by the lapels and ordered him to change it. He wasn't best pleased when he discovered she had it done herself but took to measuring the size of the letters to make sure they were equal to her amusement. She went on her cruise at the end of October leaving him with plans for the shop going around in his head but by the time she returned at the start of December having forgotten she'd even been on a cruise, none of them had been done so it must have been forgotten.

Norris accompanied Rita to the Weatherfield Trader's Association Christmas party the day she reappeared, supposedly on her cruise all those weeks. Rita got increasingly drunk and irritated with him as he was implying they were more than business partners. During dancing, she hit him over the head and pushed him away.

Due to the ordeal Rita went through in February 2006, he agreed to swap homes with her, he moving into her flat and removing her things, while she moved in with Emily. She kept stressing it was only temporary but it didn't stop him spending as much time at number 3 as he could despite the bravado he loved having his own space. After finding Rita in the cupboard when he was getting rid of a date, they decided to revert back to their usual homes.

Later in the year Norris and Rita bickered over freebies. He felt he ought to have pens and steak knives being a partner and wasn't at all amused when she won a weekend to Budapest. Rita reluctantly allowed him to go with her only due to him dashing for a bread roll at the hotel, she ended up in hospital having treatment for DVT while he returned home. When she hobbled back with a stick three weeks later she chased him despite supposedly being in so much pain.

2007 and yet another Internet storyline, this time involving Norris wanting to get him touch with old friends on Classmates Reunited, an obvious plug of Friends Reunited which ITV own. He got nowhere as usual but managed to track down an old friend of Rita's called Doreen Fenwick then soon regretted it when Rita was out, drunk or hungover all the time. He didn't like Doreen so it was surprising when he turned peacemaker after Rita threw her out of the flat.

DISCLAIMER: All photos are © Granada Television & ITV Network. Any used throughout this site are done so for the benefit of fans. The Pictures have either come from ITV or from the internet where they are in the public domain and freely available. We acknowledge that they are still the property of Granada Television and its parent company and we make no profiit from their use. If however you find a photo that isn't please let us know and apprpriate action will be taken. All material remains the property of the copyright holder; no deliberate copyright violation is intended. This site is produced by fans for fans and no profit is made.

Go to Current Cast

Return To Coronation Street - A Tribute To Britain's Longest Running Soap!