Full name: Raquel Catherine Watts (née Wolstenholme)
Parents: Larry & Eileen Wolstenhulme
Born: 26 May 1966, Eccles Lancashire
Married: Norman Watts (8 December 1995)
Children: Alice Diana Watts (b: 23 July 1997, London, 6lb 4.5oz; f: Curly Watts)
Played by: Sarah Lancashire
Appeared: 25 January 1991 - 15 November 1996; 1 - 2 January 2000
Raquel was brought up in a Catholic household, ruled with a rod of iron by her father. This drove her mother to drink and her younger sister Bernice into a disasterous early marriage. Raquel however remained the apple of her father's eye until he found some photographs of her in a semi-nude modelling session and threw her out of the house. They were only reconciled in 1995 after she married Curly.
Raquel first appeared on the Street early in 1991 as an assistant at the Bettabuys supermarket where Reg Holdsworth and Curly Watts worked. Curly turned to her for the comfort she freely offered him after Kimberley Taylor broke off their engagement. Raquel has always thought of herself as a model, and was delighted to represent the Weatherfield branch in the regional Miss Bettabuys beauty contest. When the competition was held in a large hotel in Buxton, Raquel was at first delighted that the third and second places went to other girls, and then distraught when she failed to win. Area Manager Brendan Scott attempted to offer her solice, but Curly came to her aid and comfort, rescued her from Brendan, and they spent the night together. However, the relationship failed to blossom as Curly was still obsessed with Miss Taylor.
Afer a modelling session with some of Angie Freeman's designs, she fell for a smooth-talking photographers promises, dumped Curly (telling him they now moved in different circles !) and in May 1991 upped sticks to London where she aimed to become a top fashion model. Sadly, Raquel couldn't see the truth behind the promises, ended up in Croydon and was horrified at the work she was offered. She returned to Weatherfield at the very end of 1991, knowing she would never be a supermodel.
She landed a job as barmaid at The Rovers, and was offered accommodation by Des Barnes, whose wife had recently walked out on him. Within 6 weeks they were sharing a bed, to the mutual annoyance of Curly (who fancied Raquel), and Angie (who fancied Des). But Des wasn't looking for love, only a shoulder to cry on, and in May, when Steph returned, albeit temporarily, Raquel was immediately evicted. Bet Gilroy took pity on her and let her stay at The Rovers.
Raquel soon took up with County Football Club press secretary Gordon Blinkhorn, and through him met and started going out with County's 'star' striker, Wayne Farrell. Everyone but Raquel realised what Wayne was actually doing when he was 'playing away', and it took Wayne, with his other woman, Serena Black semi-naked on his doorstep, to spell the situation out to her. She regained some dignity by pushing him into the canal. She went back to Gordon, and they went as far as arranging to go to France together, so Raquel took French lessons from Ken Barlow. However, a combination of Gordon's first love - cricket and his jealousy ensured the romance didn't last.
In February 1993, Des's live-in lover, Lisa Duckworth, was killed. He took it very badly, but Raquel was on hand to help heel the scars. By December, the friendship had grown into mutual strong feelings for each other, and Raquel had again moved into Nº6, but this time things seemed permanent. Raquel started building a home around her, and was truely happy. Little did she know that behind her back, Des was having an affair with her workmate, the bitchy Tanya Pooley. It all came to a climax in March 1994 with Raquel watching helplessly as Des ordered his boss, Alex Christie (who was also having an affair with Tanya) out of "his girl's bed". Tanya made things even worse by then convincing the distraught and gullible Raquel that Des was beating Tanya up and forcing her to sleep with him - so much so that Raquel felt sorry for Tanya.
Raquel was deeply upset by the whole affair, and started to mistrust all men. All her hopes and dreams had been smashed. She found Bet Gilroy was the only person who truely understood how devastated she was. By October, she had renewed her friendship with Curly Watts, and love, of a sort, grew. In December Curly proposed to her, and she accepted. However, at their engagement party, Des forced Raquel to admit that, although she though he was her best friend, she didn't love Curly and still loved Des. She fled in tears, breaking off the engagement and Curly's heart.
In September 1995, after some persuading, Raquel went out on a date with Curly's boss at Firman's Freezers - Leo Firman. After dinner, Leo took her back to the shop's store room, where he attempted to rape her. Raquel fought back and escaped. Leo was later very disparaging about Raquel to Curly "she has the mind of a 10 year-old", and after Raquel had recounted her ordeal to Curly, he laid Leo out in the store. However, the ordeal made Raquel stronger, and she agreed to give evidence of sexual harrasment against Leo. He was sacked and came to confront Raquel in The Rovers, calling her a "walking Wonderbra" and mocking Curly. Rather than backing away, Raquel snapped, and Leo retreated under a hail of ashtrays, peanuts and anything else she could lay her hands on, venting her spleen on him, telling him he was just like all the rest and spitting venomously "That's for Des !, and that's for Tanya !".
After this incident, Raquel and Curly grew closer. Des Barnes was leading a wayward life, spending some nights with Maxine Heavey, but chasing after Liz McDonald who was working with him at his betting shop. After being rejected by Liz with the comment "get yourself a girl", Des turned his attention back to Raquel. In December 1995 he invited her back to Nº6 for supper, just as a friend, but before long they were kissing and she spent the night there. In the morning Raquel again settled into her 'wife' role, but Des made it perfectly plain she was just a one-night stand. The spell was broken, and Raquel realised she would never mean as much to Des as he had meant to her.
The same day Raquel called round to Curly's with the question "You remember when we got engaged? Do you still want to marry me?". Of course he did - but hadn't realised she meant in 48 hours ! They had a hole-in-the-wall service at the Registry Office, and it wasn't until halfway through an 'Alec Gilroy Sunliners special' cruise honeymoon that Raquel confessed to Curly what had happened with Des, and why she wanted to get married so quickly. Curly forgave her, and on their return both Raquel and Curly rapidly realised they had made the right choice.
The Watts have now settled down to married life, with Curly becoming manager of Firmans and a pillar of the business community by joining the Square Dealers, whilst Raquel has stopped working part-time at The Rovers - Terry Duckworth returned and convined his mother that Raquel was unreliable !, With time on her hands she is now taking her second course in Aromatherapy, this time in Maidenhead, and possibly still anticipating the arrival of small Wattses. As Raquel says: "I want two children, a boy and a girl. Blake for the boy and Tiffany for the girl."
At the turn of the Millenium, at 2am, a rather changed Raquel appeared on Curly's doostep. She explained to Curly that he was a father - Alice Diana was born on 23 July 1997 in the London teaching hospital where Raquel's sister Bernice worked on a cancer ward. It was here that Raquel was introduced to Eleday deBeaux, a French woman being treated for cancer. Raquel agreed to return to the Loire Valley with Eleday and her husband Armand to act as housekeeper and nanny for their two daughters Madelaine (born in 1996) and the recently born Helene. Eleday died in early 1998, but Raquel stayed on to look after wine grower Armand and his daughters in their chateau. Raquel had gradually settled into her new life, becoming more sophisticated, learning French and eventually falling in love with Armand, even though he was 14 years older than her.
She had returned to ask Curly for a divorce as she found she had recently become pregnant again, and French inheritance laws were complex to a child born out of wedlock. Curly gave his blessing on the union.