Carole Burns was a divorcee who moved into 41 Oakwood Road, Weatherfield in 1988. The house was part of Carole's settlement in the divorce, which occurred after her husband of ten years left her for a 19-year-old.
Soon after moving in, Carole hired Bradley Securities to install a burglar alarm at the property. While doing the work at the house, Alan Bradley brazenly flirted with Carole, telling her she'd be secure by putting herself "in the hands of Alan Bradley". Martin Platt ended up doing the lion's share of the work while Alan had tea with Carole in the house. Alan continued to visit to Carole on the pretext of working, and the couple started an affair.
In October, one of Carole's neighbours, Joanne Cresswell, reported to Alan's daughter Jenny Bradley that she'd seen Alan and Carole kissing. Through Jenny, Rita Fairclough found out the truth, which was confirmed when she saw Alan's van parked outside Carole's house. When Rita confronted him with the truth, Alan offered no apologies or justification for his actions, blaming Rita for being cold to him and forcing him to look elsewhere for affection. Carole was delighted when Alan turned up at her doorstep, pleased that she now had him to herself.
While separated from Rita, Alan's top priority was to hold onto his security business. When Carole found out that he'd met with Rita, she feared that Rita wanted him back but Alan told her that "all-business" Rita had ordered him out of the Builder's Yard. He also confided in her how his relationship with Jenny had been affected by events but assured her that Jenny wasn't the type to turn up at the house baying for Carole's blood. However, painting Rita as a manipulative money-grabber, Alan moved out of Carole's house and into digs, telling Carole that it was to stop Rita using her to get back at him. With the goal of setting up his own shop, with the position of Head of Sales (ie. counter assistant) promised to Carole, Alan tried to secure a loan but the bank turned him down due to him not owning his own house. Alan broached the idea of moving back in with Carole and applying for the loan jointly, but Carole dismissed the idea as a financial risk. Immediately thereafter, Alan returned to Rita, explaining his decision to Carole as being entirely for Jenny's sake, and promising to keep on seeing her. However, the affair was effectively over at that point and Alan avoided Carole's calls thereafter.
In February 1989, two months after leaving Carole, Alan was preparing to open his new shop in Curzon Street, having succeeded in obtaining funding for the operation by borrowing against 7 Coronation Street in Len Fairclough's name, without Rita's knowledge. Stung by Alan dropping her, Carole began phoning the shop, but kept getting Martin Platt, who covered for his boss. Seeing the grand opening advertised in the Weatherfield Recorder, Carole turned up at the event, where she told Alan what she thought of him for taking her money and making her look like a mug. Finally meeting the infamous Rita, Carole informed her counterpart that Alan had only returned to her for her money. However, Alan having got the loan by nefarious means, Rita protected him, telling Carole that the shop had nothing to do with her. A dejected Carole called Alan a bastard and slapped him, after which she left the shop and his life.