Paul Stokes was a young businessman who was a potential client of Underworld. Nick Tilsley had got him interested in doing a deal and arranged for him to visit the factory. At the last minute, Nick did a runner to the Lake District, agreeing after some argument to go along with his brother David Platt’s plan to bribe a cleaner in the holiday cottage on the scene of the death of Joe McIntyre some months before - an incident for which their mother Gail now stood on trial for murder.

Nick’s business partner, Carla Connor had to step in for Nick, and luckily for her, she caught the roving eye of Paul Stokes. However Carla’s boyfriend Trevor Dean was in the factory at the same time and Paul misunderstood the relationship, thinking Trevor was a manager and Carla reported to him. Paul, Carla and Trevor went to the Rovers to hammer out the deal. Unfortunately, while taking a mobile phone call, Paul overheard Trevor and Carla talking about their true relationship to each other and was annoyed for being taken for a mug.

When he heard that Trevor was a binman and not even a part of the company, he pulled out of the deal altogether and walked out on the pair, cancelling his order, however a couple of weeks later he contacted Nick to say that his alternative had let him down and that if he could fulfil the order in a week, their deal was back on. However the destruction of the factory after Tony Gordon's siege meant that Paul as swiftly cancelled the order when he heard that Nick had no premises to work in. Nick quickly arranged to rent the empty Turners Joinery business unit in Viaduct Street and informed Paul that Underworld could be up and running before the end of the day, despite Carla's absence. Paul was impressed by his determination and decided to give the company the contract after all.

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