spoiler alert: this post makes reference to the October 20 episode on CBC
Friends, Romans & Corrie-watchers, lend me your e-ars, I come to praise Norris, not to slag him. Well, maybe that's overstating the case a bit. I wouldn't say that Mr. Cole is my favourite Corrie citizen but I don't dislike him with the same intensity as some Corrie-watchers or indeed the inhabitants of the Street (Les Battersby in particular is very hostile to 'Doris' as he calls him).
You may say that Norris is nothing more than a gossip, a pest, a busybody and a curmudgeon. You'd be right, but the role of busybody is an important one on the Street. What's the point of salacious gossip, if there is no-one around to do the proverbial 'nudge nudge, wink wink', pass comments and promulgate the info (with relish) to all and sundry.
Street gossips go way back to the beginning of Coronation Street. Hilda Ogden was a skilled practitioner (although one could argue that she had many more redeeming qualities than Mr Cole and I would agree). And, the role of the gossip itself, can be traced back many centuries. I'm sure there were several Norris-types sitting around during the French revolution watching the guillotine and making snarky comments ("look at the size of that king's neck; they're going to need a bigger blade").
Norris is often the counterpoint in different situations. He is scandalized and appalled by everything from Jed Stone to Polish cooking. When Maria spray paints the word 'Muder' on the factory, Norris is upset by the spelling mistake. When Emily finds Sunny Jim, it's Norris who is at odds with the cat. He's always been an irritating presence (ever since he came on the show as a colleague of Derek Wilton) but he's an original and serves a useful (if annoying) purpose. Here's to Doris.