The Coronation Street Icons programme looks at Norris, played by actor Malcolm Hebden.
Former Rovers Return landlady Sally Lindsay narrates a tribute to Coronation Street legend Norris Cole and Malcolm Hebden, the actor who plays him, as they both bid farewell to the cobbles after 26 years.
The show features interviews with co-stars past and present, classic moments from the archives, and an honest and emotional interview with the man behind Norris.
Coronation Street Icons: Norris Cole celebrates the most memorable moments and classic storylines of the Street’s nosey newsagent from over the last 26 years – the programme reveals that Malcolm’s first-ever appearance on Coronation Street was actually way back in 1974 when he landed a role as a love interest for Mavis Riley.
Malcolm reveals that he was pleased to get the role as he thought that he could use his own Burnley accent, only to be then told his character was called Carlos and was from Spain, which Malcolm says was a bit of a shock. Malcolm reveals how he learnt the Spanish accent by taking the scripts to a Spanish friend at Burnley college and getting him to read them before copying him – Carlos only made a fleeting appearance on the Street, and it would take nearly two decades before we saw Malcolm return as the character we are all now so familiar with – Norris Cole.
Thelma Barlow recalls the dynamic between Mavis, Derek and Norris, and how Norris was always a thorn in the couple’s side – the programme also pays homage to a notorious Norris scene during a drag singing competition in the Rovers. Dressed as singer Eartha Kitt, Norris belts out ‘Old Fashioned Girl’, but Malcolm was unhappy with his performance and says, ‘The costume was great and the legs, apparently were wonderful, but when the piano played, I just fell apart, I was totally flat.’
In another classic comedy scene, Malcolm reveals the behind-the-scenes secrets of his Blackpool Ballroom success whilst partnering Vera Duckworth: ‘The director wanted me to fall to my knees like John Travolta and slide across the ballroom floor, so what they did was put a duvet down and I laid on the duvet and they just pulled it across the ballroom. So you see me whizzing across the ballroom, but there are two people pulling a single bed’
Malcolm reveals he had never heard of Patti Clare, who plays Mary, before she started in the show, but the pair share how over the years their real-life relationship has developed into the best of friends. The programme shares how Patti looked after Malcolm when he was taken ill in late 2017, and Malcolm reveals that he actually died while in the A&E Department.
After recovering from his illness, Malcolm did decide to return to the Street having a short return stint – however later felt that it was the right time to retire. His final episode as Norris was broadcast on the 24th of June 2020.