TV Legends: Nora Batty in Last of the Summer Wine

Nobody grouched like Nora Batty (played by Kathy Staff). In fact she could grump for England. When she wasn’t pulling up those stockings that seemed to have a permanent home around her ankles, her favourite pastime was beating off Compo’s amorous advances with a broom.

Described as ‘the best battleaxe on TV’, no other grouchy TV character comes close to Nora. Her appearances on the BBC comedy Last of the Summer Wine came to an end, when Bill Owen, who played Compo died. Actress Kathy Staff felt it was finally time to move on. Although it was a ‘wrench’ to leave, Staff felt without the frisson between her and Compo, the show didn’t work for her anymore.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder:
She needed loads of padding to play Nora Batty. This was topped off nicely by the infamous stockings and hairnet. The look turned her into an unlikely sex symbol – she was chosen as the official pin-up of HMS Battleaxe.

A rose by any other name:
She changed her name from Minnie Higginbottom because she didn’t think it would get her any acting work. She went on to marry actor John Staff when she was 22.

Astonishing fact:
Kathy played 10 different characters in Coronation Street.

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.