Jim McDonald (Coronation Street)

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Jim McDonald
Coronation Street character
Portrayed by Charles Lawson
Duration 1989–2000, 2003–2005, 2007–2011, 2014
First appearance 27 October 1989
Last appearance 22 October 2014
Introduced by Mervyn Watson (1989)
Kieran Roberts (2003)
Tony Wood (2004)
Steve Frost (2007)
Kim Crowther (2009)
Phil Collinson (2010)
Stuart Blackburn (2014)
Book appearances Coronation Street:The Complete Saga
Classification Former; regular
Occupation Soldier

James "Jim" McDonald is a fictional character from the British soap opera Coronation Street, played by Charles Lawson. He made his first screen appearance during the episode broadcast on 27 October 1989. He appeared as a regular character from 1989-2000, returning as a guest character in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007 and returned again in 2009 and 2010. Jim made another brief return in 2014. Jim has not appeared on our tv screens since.

Many of Jim's storylines have included him and his wife Liz (Beverly Callard) losing their new born baby daughter Katie when she was a day old, developing a drink problem, beating Liz up after finding out she had a fling with his best friend and then been sent to prison later being divorced by Liz, sleeping with his son Steve (Simon Gregson)'s ex-girlfriend Fiona (Angela Griffin) and then stopping her wedding to Alan McKenna (Glenn Hugill), ending up paralysed after being accidentally pushed of a scaffolding by Steve and then discovering that Liz is having an affair with his physiotherapist Michael Wall (Dominic Rickhards), a brief relationship with Gwen Davies (Annie Hulley), remarrying Liz and being sent down for the manslaughter of Jez Quigley (Lee Boardman). Other storylines have included Jim escaping from prison and then trying to escape to Ireland with Liz but is caught by the police and sent back to prison, Liz divorcing him again, beating up her new husband Vernon Tomlin (Ian Reddington), moving to Spain with son Andy (Nicholas Cochrane), being sent back to prison for a bank robbery, illegally selling Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) alcohol in prison and having his sentence extended for using a mobile phone to harass Liz.


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 finds 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.

On 18 July 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) on 7 November 1997 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.

On 24 April 1998 Jim is badly injured after falling from scaffolding after a fight with Steve on a building site, and needs physiotherapy to regain his ability to walk. Jim then catches Liz in bed with Michael Wall (Dominic Rickhards), 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 after trying to suffocate Steve with a pillow while they are both in hospital. Jim gives himself up to the police and is remanded in prison to await trial. He remarries 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. Jim makes an appearance in December 2004, phoning from prison to wish his family a happy Christmas. In June 2005, off-screen, Jim fights with another inmate, cancelling his parole, as a result and he is ordered to stay in prison. 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 Turner (Harry McDermott), 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 a hotel bar. 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. They agree to give their complicated marriage another go. 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, 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.

In August 2014, Jim returns once again when he is tracked down in prison by fellow inmate Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne). Jim has the nickname "The Landlord" in prison due to his reputation of illegally selling alcohol to other prisoners. Jim then blackmails Peter in a bid to get in contact with his son Steve in order to repair their relationship. Jim also wants to reconcile with Liz and be a part of granddaughter Amy's life. Liz later visits Jim in prison. She tells Jim that she and Steve want nothing more to do with him and that he lost his family years ago. A few weeks later, Steve visits Jim inside. Eventually, they reconcile as father and son. However Peter reveals to Tracy that Jim had given him the booze, which in turn Tracy reveals to Steve. Steve refuses to visit Jim or bring Amy and cuts off contact. In revenge, Jim has Peter beaten up.

On the request of Deirdre, Liz goes to visit Jim in order to stop him from harming Peter further. Jim turns to blackmail as he tells Liz that he will lay off Peter as long as she continues to see him. Liz complies, although when her boyfriend Tony breaks off with her, she tells Jim that it is over and leaves the prison. When Liz tells Jim it will be her last visit, Jim said that he might be transferred to an open prison so that Liz could visit him more and that he can visit the Rovers Return. She was disgusted and told Steve about how he was using him to try to get back with Liz. An angry Steve confronts Jim and grasses him to the police. Jim is restrained by the police, and threatens Steve with revenge, but Steve is not fazed by this. It is to be believed that his sentence was extended because of his illegal actions.


Lawson was offered a role in Coronation Street but turned it down. In 2009, recalled to Billy Sloan of the Daily Record that his behaviour was arrogant. The following year producers planned to introduce the McDonald family and the casting department approached Lawson again and he accepted the part of Jim.[1]

In 1999, Lawson announced his intention to leave the show. He later revealed that his decision was based on Jim's "improbable plot lines". He believed that writers were struggling to find stories for him and feared his character may have been killed off had he not left.[1]

Lawson returned to film guest appearances in 2003. The storyline played Jim escaping from prison to confront Liz over a supposed affair. The duo decide to run away to Ireland but the police manage to rearrest him before they are able to escape.[2] In July 2007, it was publicised that Lawson had agreed to return to filming in October that year for a special Christmas storyline.[2] Lawson again reprised the role so Jim could attend Steve's wedding to Becky McDonald (Katherine Kelly).[3] Lawson has said that he is happy to return any time there are 'juicy storylines' available.[1][4]

On 11 April 2014, it was announced that Lawson had again agreed to reprise the role. He was signed to an initial three-month contract with the possibility of an extension. Halina Watts from the Daily Mirror reported that Jim would still be in prison serving out his sentence for committing armed robbery - but would still "cause havoc" upon his screen return.[5]


Jim has earned a reputation as being a "bad boy" character in the media.[5][6][7] David Brown of Radio Times branded him a "fiery hard man".[8] In 2011, Jaci Stephen, writing for the Daily Mail, said it was an "easy week for the scriptwriters" having Jim back.[9] In explaining this she stated that his "irritating habit of calling everyone by their full names – Steven, Elizabeth, Rebecca – and finishing off every sentence with a ‘so there is’, ‘so I did’, ‘so you are’, et al., meant there were far fewer sentences to write."[9] Claire Hodgson of the Daily Mirror said that setting fire to Gwen's furniture, threatening Liz, hangovers, fights in the Rovers Return and robbing the bank were some of Jim's "most outrageous" moments on the show.[10] Lorna Cooper writing for MSN said that she wanted Jim back in Coronation Street full-time and brand him and Liz a "knock-off version of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton."[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Billy Slaon (1 February 2009). "It's a dream come true to perform at the Citizen's Theatre, says ex-Corrie star Charles Lawson". Daily Record. (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Green, Kris (28 July 2007). "'Jim McDonald' returns to Corrie". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  3. ^ Kris Green (1 June 2009). "Exclusive: Jim, Andy McDonald return to Corrie". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 2 July 2009. 
  4. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (6 August 2010). "Charles Lawson announces Corrie return". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. 
  5. ^ a b Watts, Halina (11 April 2014). "Coronation Street bad boy Jim McDonald to return to Weatherfield to wreak havoc". Daily Mirror. (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  6. ^ "Corrie's Jim McDonald to make Street return". RTÉ Television. (Raidió Teilifís Éireann). 12 April 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Corrie bad boy Jim McDonald to return to the Street in bid to boost well-known faces in soap". Daily Record. (Trinity Mirror). 12 April 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Brown, David (12 April 2014). "Coronation Street: Jim McDonald to return later this year". Radio Times. (Immediate Media Company). Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Stephen, Jaci (25 March 2011). "Jaci Stephen: The ultimate insight into this week's soaps". Daily Mail. (Associated Newspapers). Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  10. ^ Hodgson, Claire (11 April 2014). "Coronation Street: Watch Jim McDonald's 7 most outrageous moments from bank robberies to furniture fires". Daily Mirror. (Trinity Mirror). Retrieved 12 April 2014. 
  11. ^ Cooper, Lorna (25 April 2013). "EastEnders' Peggy Mitchell and soap characters we want back". MSN. (Microsoft). Retrieved 12 April 2014. 

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