|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Marc Baylis|
|First appearance||Episode 7902
9 July 2012
|Last appearance||Episode 8810
4 January 2016
|Introduced by||Phil Collinson (2012)
Stuart Blackburn (2015)
Robert Darren "Rob" Donovan is a fictional character in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street, portrayed by Marc Baylis He was introduced as the brother of Carla Connor (Alison King). He made his first screen appearance during the episode broadcast on 9 July 2012. In June 2014 it was announced that Baylis would be leaving the role after two years after being involved in a storyline where Rob was responsible for murdering Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan). Rob departed on 5 November 2014. In August 2015 it was reported that Baylis would be reprising the role as Rob and he returned to filming in October for a short storyline. His return aired on 4 December 2015 and he departed a month later on 4 January 2016.
Rob arrives in Weatherfield after being in prison and he seeks Carla's help to make a fresh start. When Carla and Peter leave Weatherfield for Los Angeles, Rob steps in to help Michelle (Kym Marsh) run the factory. Shortly after Carla and Peter return for Christmas, Carla announces that she is going back to LA and selling the factory to the highest bidder. Knowing that he cannot find the money to make a bid, Rob decides to cook the books so the broker gives them a low valuation. When Carla returns for good, Rob and Michelle worry they will be caught out. Carla does find out and sacks Rob, threatening to report him for fraud. Rob goes into business for himself, stealing clients and orders from Underworld. Realising that she cannot beat Rob at his tricks, Carla offers Rob 30% share in the factory, much to Michelle's disliking. Rob begins dating Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford). Rob and Tracy currently stay at Number 1 Coronation Street with Deirdre Barlow (Anne Kirkbride) and own a shop, Barlow's Buys. The shop is where Barlow's Bookies used to be. After becoming engaged, Rob and Tracy embark on a series of illegal schemes, which are witnessed by Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan). Rob also discovers that Tina is having an affair with Peter behind a pregnant Carla's back. On the night of his engagement party, Rob visits Tina and asks her not to tell Carla about the affair, as it will ruin her happiness. Tina refuses and threatens to call the police and expose his scams. Rob chases her up to the balcony of the building yard and pushes her, causing her to lose her balance and fall onto the cobbles below. To Rob's horror, Tina survives the fall, however after Tina threatens to go to the police, Rob beats her with a metal pipe and she dies in hospital the following week.
Feeling guilty and angry at Peter for having an affair with Tina and breaking Carla's heart, he put a plan in action on framing Peter for Tina's murder. It seemed to work when he was sentenced to life, but after Carla told the police the truth, Rob fled Weatherfield. He asked Tracy to run away with him, but unbeknownst to him, she called the police herself and told them to come and arrest Rob. A devastated Rob disowned both Carla and Tracy, and gave himself up to the police. A month later, he was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.
Rob requests a visit from Tracy and tells his unnamed prison cellmate that he plans for revenge on Tracy and Carla of how they disowned him and how they called the police and had him jailed. After Tracy's visit, Rob requests a visit from Johnny Connor (Richard Hawley), and reveals that he is the father of Carla, as his mother shared the secret with him years ago.
Creation and development
Rob is the estranged brother of Carla Connor (Alison King). Rob was originally named "Darren" and had previously been mentioned in the series and by cast and crew members during interviews. He was not in Carla's life as he was serving an eight-year stint in Strangeways prison for armed robbery. In 2008, the serial's executive producer Kim Crowther told Kris Green from Digital Spy that her team had discussed the character. She said that there were no plans to introduce him, but it was likely that he would appear in the future. While King told Green that she imagined Carla's brother to be "stunningly charming, but a complete minger inside". She explained that he was likely to be "rough as old boots" because they are from a "really rough family". She added that Carla would have "a brother who's absolutely brilliant with her". Coronation Street fans later got the wrong impression that Luke Strong (Craig Kelly) was Carla's brother. In 2010, King told Green that she always expressed her interest in him joining the series but nothing came of it. She said that she would like him to come and live with Carla and "get off with" Michelle Connor (Kym Marsh).
In March 2012, the serial announced that their intention to introduce Rob and started the casting process. A Coronation Street representative said that they were going to see "lots of different actors" audition for the role. They also planned "exciting storylines" because fans had "been keen to meet [Rob] for some time". A writer from itv.com said that Rob will "turn heads and break hearts as the new moody bad lad of the Street". Rob will "ruffle a few feathers" and "waste no time in setting his sights on some of Coronation Street's most eligible women". Among those who auditioned for the role was Jamie Lomas; while actor Marc Bannerman also expressed his interest in the part. However, Baylis was cast in the role and his casting was announced on 3 May 2012. Of joining the soap, Baylis said "I feel incredibly honoured to be joining the very talented cast of Coronation Street. Rob is an exciting character to play and I am hoping he is going to ruffle a few Weatherfield feathers." Coronation Street's producer Phil Collinson added that he was pleased to welcome Baylis to the cast and branded him "the latest in a long line of handsome Corrie charmers." Collinson said Rob would "set hearts fluttering" and he soon develops a reputation as a ladies man, especially when he sets his sights on Eva Price (Catherine Tyldesley). A writer for itv.com's official Coronation Street website described Rob as "a bit of a rogue with a twinkle in his eye", while Collinson called him a "handsome bad boy". When asked by Digital Spy's Daniel Kilkelly about the character's name, Collinson revealed that Darren is Rob's middle name and that Carla does not have another brother.
Departure and return
On 16 June 2014, it was announced that Baylis would be leaving his role as Rob towards the end of year and won't be being killed off. He will be leaving at the same time as Carla's husband, Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) so fans will be left wondering which man is punished for the murder of Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan) - the crime that Rob committed. Baylis spoke about his exit, "Chris and I are both leaving at the end of the year, around the same time. This is why we can't talk openly about it because it doesn't give anything away. It entices everyone a little bit more. We're trying to keep it as open as possible so it's fortunate that we are both moving on to pastures new." Talking about his departure from the soap, he said, "It is with a heavy heart that I move on, but it is an experience that I will treasure forever."
In August 2015, it was revealed that Baylis would reprise the role of Rob later this year, his return is set to 'rumble' the cobbles residents even though he's in prison.
- "Two new bad boys". Coronation Street. itv.com. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "Who's in? Who's out?". Inside Soap. Hearst Magazines UK (23): 28. 9–15 June 2012.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (3 May 2012). "'Coronation Street' unveils Carla's brother Rob". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
- "The hunt for Carla's brother". itv.com. (ITV Plc). 27 March 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
- Green, Kris (25 May 2010). "Corrie's Carla on men, exits and Daisy Mae". Digital Spy. (Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved 5 May 2012.
- Green, Kris (13 October 2008). "Exclusive: Corrie's Producer Kim Crowther". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 5 May 2012.
- Green, Kris. "Poll: Is Luke the secret brother of Carla?". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 5 May 2012.
- Green, Kris (25 November 2008). "Corrie's Alison King talks Carla's brother". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 5 May 2012.
- Millar, Paul (23 April 2012). "Marc Bannerman wants 'Coronation Street' Carla brother role". Digital Spy. (Hearst Magazines UK). Retrieved 5 May 2012.
- "Meet Carla's brother Rob". itv.com. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (9 August 2012). "Exclusive: 'Coronation Street' producer Phil Collinson shares gossip and teasers". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 12 September 2012.