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by Norman Warwick

Kevin Kennedy played Caractacus Potts in the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Singapore Tour, becoming the first actor to have played both Caractacus Potts and The Child Catcher. That says more than a little about his acting skills, especially when we add to his parts that of romantic, nerdy dreamy Curly Watts on Coronation. On the same weekend as I conducted a live audience with Jane Danson at the 2015 Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival I also interviewed Kevin Kennedy the following day in the same format before a live audience. For a number of reasons both actors were hugely impressive, so come follow your art down sidetracks and detours to learn more about the boy who loved Racquel! (see right, below).

Kevin Kennedy (born Kevin Patrick Williams, 4 September 1961) is an English actor and musician, best known for playing the character Curly Watts (left) for 20 years in ITV’s long-running television soap opera Coronation Street.

Kennedy was born in WythenshaweManchester. He attended St. Paul’s Catholic High School and was a keen member of Manchester Youth Theatre. Kennedy later studied drama at Manchester Polytechnic.

Kennedy was in the band the Paris Valentinos with Johnny Marr and Andy Rourke

Between 1983 and 2003, Kennedy played the character of Norman “Curly” Watts in the TV soap Coronation Street. Among other jobs, the character started as a paperboy, then became a dustman, and was later an assistant manager at a supermarket. The character had two marriages, producing two children; one from each wife. After a short break from acting whilst recovering from an alcohol addiction in 2000 he released a single, “Bulldog Nation”, with his band the Bunch of Thieves, on the RCA Records label. The single peaked at No. 70 on the UK Singles Chart.

He returned to Coronation Street a few months later, before being written out permanently in September 2003. In an interview in 2009, Kennedy said that he would consider a return to the show and it was later confirmed that he would film scenes for its fiftieth anniversary DVD. However, more than a decade after his departure, he has yet to make a return. Kennedy was the writer and producer of the 2005 television series Spanish Capers. A second series was recorded in 2006–2007 for BSkyB.

In 2009, Kennedy played the part of aging hippie “Pop” in the touring production of Queen & Ben Elton‘s We Will Rock You before joining the cast of the West End London production in 2010. In 2015, Kennedy was asked to be involved with the launch of the world’s third-largest cruise liner “RCI Anthem of the Seas” appearing in a West End production of “We Will Rock You”. He has appeared many times on board as Pop; most recently in the UK Seacation cruises from Southampton in summer 2021.

He also appeared in the 2009 “Scent from Heaven?” advert for Daz, as part of the company’s “Cleaner Close” campaign. In 2010, Kennedy, along with several other Coronation Street stars, contributed to Trisha Ward‘s album Rogues, Angels, Heroes and Fools, recorded for the fiftieth anniversary of the soap. In 2017, he played Graham Ollerinshaw, a David Bowie tribute act, in an episode of the BBC’s Holby City.

In 2019, he appeared in Cinderella at Cambridge Arts Theatre.

He played an angel in the Christmas episode of Mrs Brown’s Boys on 25 December 2019.

Kennedy is married and has three children. He serves as director of Kennedy Street recovery services, a social enterprise, with his wife Clare, the Brighton-based organisation’s CEO, offering free telephone advice, signposting to local recovery services, home-based detox, various recovery focused programmes and a professional advice and coaching service to the business sector.

Kevin trained at Manchester Polytechnic’s School of Theatre. His professional debut was at the Greenwich Theatre in 1982.

In 2019 Kevin had a special guest role in ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys Christmas Special’. He completed the UK tour of ‘Rock Of Ages’ 2018/2019 and was Baron Hardup in Cinderella (Cambridge Arts Theatre) 2019/2020. At the end of 2020, he played Detective Banks in the recent Billy Zane film ‘Rupture’. He most recently reprised the role of ‘Pop’ in We Will Rock You (RCCL).
West End Theatre work includes: Idle Hands (Shaw Theatre); Ducking Out (Duke of York’s); Amos in Chicago (Adelphi) and We Will Rock You (Dominion). 

Other theatre work includes Just Between Ourselves (Theatre Royal Windsor); Hamlet (Sheffield Crucible) and National Tours of No Sex Please We’re British; The Rocky Horror Show, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Commitments and Fat Friends.
Television work includes:  The Last Company Car, Keep On Running, Blue Murder, Doctors and Holby City. Kevin is probably best known for his portrayal of “sex symbol” Curly Watts, in Coronation Street from 1983 to 2003.  He also has written and presented two series of his own show, Kevin’s Spanish Capers.
Kevin has enjoyed a successful music career, starting as the bass player with the now legendary Smiths, later going on to form his own band, Bunch Of Thieves. After being signed by Simon Cowell to BMG Records, he went on to lead a successful tour of New Zealand with the gold- selling album Present Kennedy.  Kevin is currently signed to Warner Brothers.

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