Steve McDonald (Coronation Street)
Simon Gregson as Steve in 2011
|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Simon Gregson|
|First appearance||6 December 1989|
|Introduced by||Mervyn Watson|
|Book appearances||Coronation Street:
The Complete Saga
Fifty Years of
Taxi driver (2000–)
Barman (2006–11, 2013–)
Pub landlord (2006–11, 2013–)
|Home||Rovers Return Inn|
Simon Gregson began his time in Coronation Street at the age of fifteen in 1989, when he and Nicholas Cochrane were selected to play the teenage twin sons of a new family in The Street. Whilst filming with the soap opera he filmed a guest appearance for the comedy series Red Dwarf, alongside fellow actor Craig Charles (who plays the lead character in the comedy). Craig Charles has played Lloyd Mullaney in Coronation Street since 2007.
Steve McDonald arrived in Coronation Street at the age of 15 in December 1989, with twin brother Andy (Nicholas Cochrane) and parents Jim McDonald (Charles Lawson) and Liz McDonald (Beverly Callard). From the start, the lads were high-energy tearaways initially causing aggravation for Alf Roberts (Bryan Mosley). Steve and Andy got up to a lot of mischief, including a joyride in an industrial earth mover, breaking Alf's shop window. The lads were brought up mainly by their mother because their father Jim was in the army and away more than he was home. When he was home, the hot tempered Jim, whose tirades were often fuelled by whiskey and beer, had boys fearing and resenting him. Steve grew up with little respect for his father but a great deal for his mother. It didn't stop him from getting into scrapes, no matter how much it worried his mother. Schoolboy pranks turned into illegal activities when Steve was sure he could pull off a scam or two only to find out that the long arm of the law was only a few steps away. Steve was caught selling stolen car radios, and falling into a bad lot which got his brother, Andy, beaten up. Steve ran away with a teenage love to the Lake District and had to be retrieved and defended against Jim by his mother. The McDonalds didn't have a lot of money and this seemed to fuel Steve's ambitions, always looking for a way to make money. Steve started working with Jim in a building business but Jim was drinking a lot and during an argument and scuffle on scaffolding, Jim fell into a skip and was paralysed for a time. After Jim's recovery, things started to improve between father and son. They seemed to come to an acceptance of each other.
Steve was married to Karen McDonald (Suranne Jones) twice. During his separation from Karen in 2003, he had a one-night stand with Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford), consequently making her pregnant. Tracy gave birth to their daughter Amy Barlow (Elle Mulvaney), though she initially was named Patience by Roy Cropper (David Neilson) when he was deceived into believing Amy was his daughter. Tracy later decided she wanted to bring up her daughter herself, and revealed that Steve was the baby's father on Steve and Karen's second wedding day. Karen was horrified but later forgave him. Tracy was persistent in causing disruption for Steve and Karen which continued throughout 2004, until Steve ended his relationship with Karen on Christmas Day, admitting it was getting too much for him. In March 2005, he dated single mum Louise Hazel briefly but the dalliance soon fizzled out partly due to Tracy's presence. For a brief period shortly after, he dated Tracy, intending to get parental responsibility for Amy, rather than having feelings for Tracy. Tracy became aware of Steve's scheme and attempted to prevent Steve having access to Amy. The case went to court where Steve was granted legal rights to see his daughter.
Steve starts dating Street Cars employee Ronnie Clayton (Emma Stansfield), a local gangster's estranged wife. Ronnie tries to frame him when she accidentally ran down a pensioner in her taxi, but she was eventually caught. Steve's alibi for the crime was that he spent the night with his new business partner Lloyd's girlfriend Kelly Crabtree (Tupele Dorgu). This led to the temporary closure of Street Cars when Lloyd refused to work with Steve. Lloyd eventually forgave Steve for his deception and they reopened the business. Later that year, Steve bought the Rovers Return pub from Fred Elliott (John Savident) and installed his mother Liz Tomlin as landlady and stepfather Vernon (Ian Reddington) as cellarman. Steve takes Amy after Tracy is sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder of her boyfriend Charlie Stubbs (Bill Ward).
After proposing to Becky Granger (Katherine Kelly), he organises a quick wedding for them. Many people disapprove of them marrying because Becky had been engaged to Jason, just before she accepted Steve's proposal. Steve bans Liz and Lloyd from the wedding after they bet on whether the ceremony would go ahead. In the end, Becky turns up late for the ceremony drunk, rendering her unable to carry out the nuptials. Steve then brings her home in disgrace. The following day, Becky wakes up and, believing that she has been married, hunts for her ring; however, Michelle reveals all in the pub. She later leaves Steve after admitting that it would never work. They later reconcile, and begin plans for another wedding.
Steve and Becky have their second wedding. The ceremony goes off without a hitch, however, their happiness is short lived when The Rovers is searched for drugs, which are found in Becky's bag, having been planted by Becky's ex Slug (Marshall Lancaster). She is arrested and taken to the police cells, however, the charges are later dropped. Steve reveals that he wants another child with Becky, however, she doesn't want any children of her own. This leads to various arguments between the pair. Becky later falls pregnant, leaving the couple without much choice in the matter. She later suffers a miscarriage. After a second miscarriage, Steve and Becky discover that Becky cannot have children and later decide to adopt. Becky and Steve's ex-girlfriend, Tracy, fight at Blanche's funeral because Becky has become very close to Amy (Elle Mulvaney).
At an adoption panel meeting, Steve and Becky are told that they have been unsuccessful in their bid to adopt, following a bad reference from Becky's half-sister, Kylie Platt (Paula Lane). Steve is not impressed when Becky moves Kylie into the pub to live with them as she is homeless. On Christmas Eve, Steve and Becky were not happy when Tracy Barlow returned. When she entered the Rovers, she managed to insult people and Steve had to reprimand Gail Platt (Helen Worth) for starting a fight with Tracy where Steve had to restrain Gail. On Christmas Day, Steve very nearly had to remind Gail although it was OK as Tracy and Gail called a truce. Amy revealed to Tracy that Steve and Becky had bought Max, Kylie's son. This gave Tracy cause to literally pick Amy up and take her back to No.1 where she said that she was going to ring social services for buying Max.
Steve hires a new manager for the pub, Stella Price (Michelle Collins) who moves in there with her daughter Eva (Catherine Tyldesley) and her boyfriend Karl Munro (John Michie). Becky discovers this and is annoyed and goes round the pub to take charge and plays loud music and a fight breaks out resulting in the pub window being smashed. Steve returns and is furious to discover what Becky has done and tells his she does not own the pub any more.
Steve and Becky split up and he begins a relationship with Tracy, after she announces that she is pregnant with his child, who later turn out to be twins. After Lloyd leaves the area, Steve and Becky go into business and decide to extend the business when they meet hotel manager Danny Stratton (Jeremy Sheffield). Tracy assumes that they were having an affair and while searching the hotel for them, she collapses at the hotel and miscarries the babies. However, Steve is told that Becky pushed her down the stairs and caused the miscarriage. Steve is very bitter towards Becky and repeatedly accuses her of killing his unborn children, which she strongly denies. He proposes to Tracy on Christmas Day and he buys No. 13 from Lloyd and they move in and he and Becky get divorced. Steve and Tracy marry but, at the wedding reception in the Rovers, Becky gives Steve a copy of Tracy's medical records, proving that she lied about Becky causing her miscarriage. Steve is disgusted with Tracy and tries to stop Becky leaving with Danny for Barbados but fails and he watches as they board the plane. Steve angrily tells Tracy he wants their marriage annulled and that he loves Becky, not her. Steve's attempts to get the annulment fail as he needs her co-operation and cannot file for divorce for a year. Worse still, he finds himself unable to kick her out of No. 13 as the deeds are in joint names. Unwilling to move out of his own house, Steve remains and tries to persuade Tracy to move out but she won't either so Steve has the house converted into two flats but Tracy threatens to call the council as he didn't apply for planning permission so that is reversed. However, Steve then allows Beth Tinker and her son, Craig, to move in with Tracy and Amy. He thought this would make Tracy move out but she ends up becoming friends with Beth so he sells the house to Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell) who is looking for somewhere for him and his son after splitting from his wife a few months before. When Steve mentions he needs the house cleaned, Kevin's daughter Sophie (Brooke Vincent) offers and Steve accepts her offer. While Sophie is cleaning, her old friend Ryan Connor (Sol Heras) helps her and while having a cigarette, Steve's curtains are set on fire. Steve and Ryan's mother Michelle (Kym Marsh) catch them trying to put out the fire. Afterwards, Kevin tells Steve he isn't interested in buying the house as Steve refused to pay for them.
Steve begins to develop feelings for ex-girlfriend Michelle and doesn't believe Tracy when she complains that she's ill until she is hospitalised after collapsing from kidney failure. She tells Steve she still loves him and begs him to stay by her bedside until she wakes up from her sleep. Steve reluctantly does but after helping Michelle deal with Ryan, they share a kiss, unaware that Amy has seen them. Michelle urges Steve to tell Tracy the truth, but he only tells her that he wants to live life on his own. Deirdre came out and furiously told Tracy everything: the kiss and making Amy promise not to say anything. Tracy is heartbroken. The next day, Steve explained everything to Tracy, saying that nothing has changed between them and he loves Michelle. Tracy tells Steve he's being a fool, but all she got back was an apology for not being honest with her earlier.
In September 2013, Stella puts The Rovers up for sale and Steve decides to put an offer in to cheer up Michelle, who is down in the dumps at the moment. Although she is angry that he kept it a secret, she eventually comes round to the idea of being the landlady.
Steve McDonald has proven to be one of the most popular characters on the Street in recent years due to high profile storylines such as his dodgy dealings with Jez Quigley and his explosive relationships with Karen McDonald and Tracy Barlow. At the 2004 Inside Soap Awards, the Tracy/Steve baby secret won the 'Best Storyline' gong. The presence of the McDonald family on Coronation Street and Steve in particular have been singled out for praise. In a 2008 interview with The Sun, Simon Gregson expressed his delight with the character's "bad-boy" image, saying that the producers were of the same opinion. Critic Tony Stewart praised the episodes in which Steve discovered that Lloyd and Liz were having a fling, calling it "pure comedy gold, full of wicked laugh-out-loud one-liners..." Ian Wylie has been very impressed with Simon Gregson's performance as Steve saying, "his on screen performance remains as fresh as the day he started".
Over the years, storylines involving Steve McDonald have received some negative backlash. In 2002, the Broadcasting Standards Commission criticised Coronation Street for being "unacceptably menacing" in regard to the hospital scene where Steve was threatened by Jez Quigley, broadcast two years previously. A spokeswoman for the soap defended the controversial storyline saying; "We are a realistic drama and we did flag up the fact there was going to be violence in the Steve McDonald episode. We are mindful that Coronation Street has a large family audience and endeavour to appeal to young and old at all times." In 2008, a leading policeman blamed Coronation Street for glamorising drink driving. He pointed out that Street's cab driver McDonald was regularly seen drinking in the Rovers Return – setting a bad example to drivers.
In February 2009, Steve McDonald was voted the nation's favourite soap character in a poll conducted by The People newspaper. Talking about the victory Gregson stated; "Oh my God, I am chuffed. I'm delighted people enjoy watching Steve and the scrapes he gets into. And I'm pleased people like to watch him as much as I love playing him."
- Webmaster (2007). "Coronation Street – Cast & Characters – Steve McDonald". ITV. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- Sara Nathan (2 February 2009). "Street's on red alert for aliens". The Sun. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- Lisa O'Carroll (28 September 2004). "EastEnders not in trouble, says defiant BBC". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- "Great to be back so it is". Off The Telly. Retrieved 10 June 2009.[dead link]
- Keeley Bolger (28 May 2008). "Corrie Steve's bad, bad, bad!". The Sun. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- Tony Stewart (3 January 2009). "Coronation Street: Push and Becks". The Mirror. Retrieved 10 June 2009.[dead link]
- Ian Wylie (8 April 2007). "The Life of Wylie – Corrie's Styal Counsel". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- Claire Cozens (9 May 2002). "Watchdog urges soaps to clean up". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- Soaps Editor (4 April 2008). "Police chief slams Coronation Street for 'glamorising drink driving' – and wants soap characters arrested". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- Daniel Kilkelly (15 February 2009). "Steve McDonald is 'top soap character'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 10 June 2009.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (7 March 2011). "British Soap Awards 2011 voting opens". Digital Spy (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 7 March 2011.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (21 October 2013). "Inside Soap Awards 2013 – winners list in full". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 21 October 2013.