Les Battersby was a major character and anti-villain in Coronation Street from 1997 to 2007, formerly appearing as the patriarch of the infamous Battersby family, which originally consisted of his wife Janice, his daughter Leanne and stepdaughter Toyah. Although a thuggish and petty character from the get go, he slowly mellowed over the years and became a more comedic character, especially after his pairing with second wife Cilla Battersby-Brown in 2003, although he would still be antagonistic and aggressive towards his neighbours from time to time.
He was portrayed by Bruce Jones.
Les, along with wife Janice and their daughters Leanne and Toyah (with the former being his biological daughter) moved into Coronation Street in 1997. They were dubbed the family from hell as they made the lives of their neighbours a nightmare, such as playing loud music constantly and hanging their washing outside in the street. When their neighbour Curly Watts smashed Leanne and Toyah's CD player in rage, Les responded by headbutting Curly.
Despite their bad start, the Battersby's were eventually accepted into the community and toned down their aggressive behaviour, and Les began working at the cab company Street Cars after it was opened by Steve McDonald in 2000.
When it turned out that resident Hayley Cropper was born a man named Harold, Les began to taunt her several times. When finding out that Hayley was marrying her partner Roy Cropper at a church, Les tipped off the press, informing them that two blokes were marrying. Roy and Hayley later decided to have their unofficial wedding at their cafe with their family and friends, scuppering Les's attempts to ruin their happy day. Janice sussed out that Les was responsible for the tip off, and warned him to leave Roy and Hayley alone.
After Todd Grimshaw came out as gay in 2004, Les showed that he was homophobic and would regularly taunt Todd over his sexuality, even though Les was a colleague of Todd's mother Eileen at Street Cars. During one of his taunts in the Rovers Return, the regulars got fed up with Les' behaviour and stood by Todd, which forced Les to back down instead or risking being barred.
In 2005, Les and Cilla married during a sham wedding which was done just to get wedding presents from the neighbours.
In 2007, Les left the street off-screen to go touring with a band. The following year, he informed his stepson Chesney that he wouldn't be returning anytime soon.
In 2011, he contacted his daughter Leanne to inform her that he wouldn't be back for her thirith birthday. Around this time, his ex-girlfriend and Leanne's biological mother Stella Price arrived on the street and revealed her identity to Leanne.
- Les and his family were unpopular with long-term viewers after their introduction in 1997.
- Les was written out in 2007 after Bruce Jones was sacked from the show for selling stories to the newspapers. His abrupt departure meant that Les wasn't given an off-screen exit, with his departure only mentioned by other characters.
- The actor has been interested in a return to the show years following his departure, although this seems unlikely. In 2018, he slammed the show for its violent content (especially during the infamous Pat Phelan saga).