Jim McDonald (Coronation Street)
Jim in 2007
|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Charles Lawson|
|Duration||1989–2000, 2003–05, 2007 , 2009–11,|
|First appearance||27 October 1989|
|Last appearance||15 April 2011|
|Introduced by||Mervyn Watson (1989)
Kieran Roberts (2003)
Tony Wood (2004, 2005)
Steve Frost (2007)
Kim Crowther (2009)
Phil Collinson (2010)
|Book appearances||Coronation Street:
The Complete Saga
|Occupation||Army soldier, barman, builder, mechanic, security guard, bank robber|
|Home||Rovers Return Inn|
James "Jim" McDonald is a fictional character in the British television ITV soap opera, Coronation Street. Portrayed by actor Charles Lawson, the character first appeared onscreen during the episode airing on 27 October 1989. The character is noted for his alcoholism, violent nature, and his passionate love for his wife Liz (Beverley Callard).
He was a regular character for a period of eleven years from 1989 until 2000. He has since made a number of brief returns since 2003 the most recent being in spring 2011.
Creation and development
He made his first appearance on 27 October 1989, with Liz McDonald (his wife since 1974) and his 15-year-old twin sons Steven and Andrew. Jim, from Northern Ireland, had been in the army for more than a decade prior to his arrival in Weatherfield. He then found work as a security guard but left after a violent encounter with two intruders led to him feeling concerned that he could kill someone if such a situation arose again.
Actor Charles Lawson was approached to play the part of Jim McDonald, the father of the new family unit that was to be introduced to the series. At the time Lawson had previously been offered a role in the series by producers but turned the role down, which he regretted and took the second role they offered him. Of the casting Lawson said: "I was working at the National Theatre when Street producers first approached me, I was a little bit up my own arse at the time and said 'no' – which was very silly. The following year they were introducing a new family – the McDonalds – into the Street and asked me again. I didn't know anything about the show. I never watched it because it was on TV at the wrong time of night for me – I was usually in the pub.".
Lawson decided to quit the show in the year 2000 because he felt that script writers had run out of ideas for his character. He then returned for certain storylines in 2003 and 2005 and a one episode appearance in 2004. Lawson agreed to return to portray his character during a storyline which saw his wife Liz marry Vernon Tomlin. Lawson later reprised his role as the character once more in 2009 for a storyline which saw the character's on screen son marry Becky Granger. Lawson has said that he is happy to return any time there are 'juicy storylines' available.
Jim first arrives as new mechanic for Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell) at MVB Motors, after his own business failed. Jim suffers a personal tragedy in January 1992 with the death of his one-day-old daughter, Katie. He splits from Liz soon afterwards after she berates him for punching Steve (Simon Gregson) during an argument. Liz goes to manage a nearby pub for a while but they soon reconcile and give their marriage another chance.
During 1994, Jim suffered increasing alcohol problems and his angry nature developed rapidly. He found himself arguing repeatedly with family and friends and his marriage hits new depths in 1996 when he hits her at a service station in Birkenhead after she admits having an affair with a former army colleague of his. Jim is arrested soon afterwards for trying to break into their house and after further breaching the conditions of a restraining order, he spends several weeks in prison for burglary and damage to private property.
In 1997, Jim has a one-night-stand with his son Steve's ex-girlfriend, Fiona Middleton (Angela Griffin). This results in Jim stopping her wedding to Alan McKenna (Glen Hugill) and confessing what had happened between them. As a result, Alan dumps Fiona as he now doubts that the child she is carrying is his. Steve is disgusted with Jim and reconciles with Fiona, helping her to raise her son, Morgan. Tests show that Jim's vasectomy hasn't failed and therefore Alan is Morgan's father but he still refuses to have any contact with Fiona or Morgan.
Jim is badly injured after falling from scaffolding after a fight with Steve on a building site in 1998, and needs physiotherapy to regain his ability to walk. Jim then catches Liz in bed with Michael, his physiotherapist, and throws her out. Jim and Liz soon agree to a divorce, and Liz leaves Coronation Street with Michael to start a new life in Milton Keynes.
In September 2000, Steve is badly beaten by drug dealer Jez Quigley (Lee Boardman). Jim gets revenge by viciously beating Jez but Jez dies in hospital from a ruptured Spleen. Jim gives himself up to the police and is remanded in prison to await trial. He re-marries Liz on 30 November 2000 and is sentenced to eight years imprisonment for manslaughter.
In November 2003, three years into his sentence and a year before his scheduled release on licence, Jim escapes from prison as he fears that Liz is having an affair with her manager at a pub in Blackpool. They try to flee to Ireland but stop to rescue Ashley (Steven Arnold) and Claire Peacock (Julia Haworth) who are adrift in a boat. Jim is soon recaptured and returns to prison. In June 2005, Jim fights with another inmate, cancelling his parole as a result, and he is ordered to stay in prison until September 2008. Liz gives up waiting for Jim and divorces him again.
Jim returns to the Street in November 2007 after being released early for good behaviour. On his return to the street, Jim seems to have changed for the better – a reformed character, teetotal and friendly to all. Steve gives him a job valeting cars at the cab firm and lets him see his granddaughter, Amy (Amber Chadwick). However, Jim is upset about Liz's upcoming wedding to drummer, Vernon Tomlin (Ian Reddington), and eventually it gets the better of him. On Liz and Vernon's wedding day, Jim gives Vernon a severe beating after Vernon launches at him and hits Dev Alahan (Jimmi Harkishin) in the process. Steve breaks up the fight, and in no uncertain terms tells his father he is no longer welcome, forcing Jim to leave the Street.
In August 2009, Jim returns for Steve's wedding to Becky Granger (Katherine Kelly) along with Andy (Nicholas Cochrane), Steve's twin brother. When Becky is arrested and accused of dealing drugs, Jim finds out about Slug (Marshall Lancaster), the person who planted the drugs, and suggests to Steve that he give copies of Slug's photos to taxi businesses around Weatherfield, in the hope someone will recognise him and leaves again with Andy.
Jim returns again in November 2010, to celebrate his 55th birthday with Steve. He meets Becky's nephew, Max, and catches up with Kevin in the Rovers. He also attends the funeral of old friend, Jack Duckworth (Bill Tarmey). The next day, Jim sends Liz some flowers which are intercepted by her new boyfriend, Owen Armstrong (Ian Puleston-Davies), who goes to 'The Flying Horse' and warns Jim to stay away. Jim later goes to the Rovers and bumps into Owen again, goading him about the flowers and telling Steve what Owen has done. On 1 December 2010, Jim returns again and is disappointed that Liz is not there. He clashes with Owen again and then later phones Steve and tells him that he is in hospital after getting into a fight in a pub. Steve visits him, along with Owen and after Steve had gone, Owen hints to Jim that he is behind the attack. When Steve goes to collect Jim from the hospital on 2 December 2010, Jim warns Steve that Owen was behind the beating and asked him to watch out for his and Liz's safety.
In March 2011, Jim meets Liz in the bar of a hotel. They have a drink and Liz tells him about Steve and Becky; he suggests that she buy the pub from Steve. Jim later walks Liz to her room and it is revealed that they had a one night stand whilst in Spain. The next day, he goes to the Rovers to speak to Steve and Becky and they tell him that they have had a fallout with Liz. Jim later meets up with Liz in the Cafe and tells her that he thinks Becky is controlling Steve. In April, Jim agrees to buy the Rovers, which costs £120,000 in total. After asking Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell), who has just won the lottery, but he refuses so Jim feels he has no other choice than to rob a bank. He goes into the bank, and pulls out a gun to the receptionist, and she gets the money but also hits the panic button, which automatically alerts police something is wrong. He holds everyone in the bank hostage after being hit over the head with a chair. As the police arrive, Jim tells the policeman over the phone to get Liz to come down, to which they agree. After much talking, Liz manages to convince Jim to let the hostages go and come out. The police promptly arrest Jim and he shouts 'Elizabeth, I'm sorry!' to Liz as he is handcuffed in a police car. The following day, Liz visits Jim and tells him she'll be there when he comes out and joins Andy in Spain. Steve visits Jim to inform him Liz has left but will attend the trial. Steve visits Jim in custody and tells him that Liz has gone back to Spain. In October, Jim is sentenced to seven years imprisonment. Since his sentence ruling, Jim has been mentioned on different occasions by his family and friends in brief conversations.