Compo And Nora’s Greatest Moments

Never mind Heathcliff and Cathy or Romeo and Juliet. It’s clearly Compo and Nora who gave us the greatest love story of all time. Sort of.

Last of the Summer Wine


One of Compo's earliest romantic gestures involved lugging a big fat piano into Sid's Café. Why? In order to provide the plinkety-plonk soundtrack to a farewell party in honour of Nora's neighbour who was emigrating to Australia. Not that Compo cared much about the neighbour - this was just the ideal excuse to get up close to Nora by dancing with her at the party. Amazingly, Nora actually let him get his grubby mitts on her, at least until he trod on her foot, and got several lashings with a handbag for his trouble.

Compo often fell short when it came to romancing ladies.

Compo often fell short when it came to romancing ladies.


When it came to romancing the ladies, it's fair to say Compo often fell short. "Oh Nora, come out of that woolly jumper and them baggy drawers!" was about as poetic as he got. But when Nora's hen-pecked husband decided to run away from home, Compo knew his time had come, and he actually managed to scrub up rather well, donning a natty suit, brushing his hair back, and coughing up half a quid for a Chinese takeaway meal with Nora. His two pals were shocked ("How did they get him out of those old trousers without an anaesthetic?"), and Nora even dolled herself up for the date. But sadly things didn't quite pan out how Compo imagined, and he was soon back in his usual hobo garb.


Over the years, Compo tried his hand at endless reckless stunts to get Nora to notice him. And wouldn't you know it, one time it actually worked. That was when he volunteered to test drive Wesley Pegden's vintage racing car, a ticking time bomb on four wheels. Looking dashing in his racing goggles, Compo actually had Nora swooning for once. "I never knew he had it in him. It's almost like knowing someone famous," she swooned, even letting him plant a big smacking smooch on her puckered lips. When the engine exploded in a black cloud of smoke, Nora rushed to Compo's side, reviving him with a flash of her legendary stockings. We never knew she had it in her...

Compo constantly loitered outside Nora Batty's door.

Compo constantly loitered outside Nora Batty's door.


Things went rather less well when Foggy concocted another plan for Compo to impress Nora. After restoring an old boat, Foggy decided it would be a good idea to invite Nora on for a gentle river cruise. The plan was that Foggy would then pretend to get very poorly, causing Nora to panic, only for Compo to "coincidentally" walk by the river bank and save the day. It all went wrong in rehearsals, though. For one thing, Clegg was forced to play the part of Nora. "You don't look like Nora," Compo complained. "That's the nicest thing anybody's said to me," Clegg replied. Later, when Compo practiced his heroic moment, he leapt onto the boat and right through the bottom of it, leaving it a dreadful wreck. It was like the Titanic all over again.


"Some people go to Elvis Presley's house, I go to Nora Batty's steps." That was Compo's excuse for constantly loitering outside her door, hoping for a glimpse of wrinkled stockings. But then he got it into his head that Nora was having an affair with Smiler - "the great long dollop" - and his loitering took on a new, anguished turn. Never mind the fact that Smiler was perhaps the one person in the village more sour and miserable than Nora herself. In fact, Compo saw that as more evidence for their secret passion, despairing at the idea that Nora and Smiler would live unhappily ever after. "They have so much in common," Compo moaned. It would have been news to Nora and Smiler, we can tell you.


It's heartwarming to know that, while Compo never made a dishonest woman of Nora, he died as he had lived: ogling Nora's stockings. Indeed, it was Nora who brought on his heart attack when she decided to tease him by turning up at his doorstep dressed up as a cabaret performer. So delighted was Compo that he expired on the spot, and with a big happy smile on his face too. Well, it's how he would have wanted to go...