Steve McDonald (Coronation Street)
|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Simon Gregson|
|First appearance||Episode 3001
6 December 1989
|Introduced by||Mervyn Watson|
|Book appearances||Coronation Street:
The Complete Saga
Fifty Years of
|Streetcar Stories (2014)|
|Home||Rovers Return Inn|
Steven James "Steve" McDonald is a fictional character from the British ITV soap opera, Coronation Street, played by Simon Gregson. The character first appeared on-screen during the episode airing on 6 December 1989. He arrived as part of the McDonald family introduced by producer Mervyn Watson along with his twin brother Andy (Nicholas Cochrane) and parents Liz (Beverley Callard) and Jim McDonald (Charles Lawson).
Steve's storylines include his many marriages to Vicky Arden (Chloe Newsome), Karen Phillips (Suranne Jones) twice, Becky McDonald (Katherine Kelly), Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford) and Michelle Connor (Kym Marsh), as well as Tracy giving birth to his daughter Amy (Elle Mulvaney) and also depression. In September 2015 Gregson announced a break due to personal reasons, and Steve was off-screen from November 2015 after going to Spain to visit Andy but returned on 22 April 2016, however just a few weeks after returning Gregson announced another hiatus, but Steve still remained on-screen onwards.
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 the 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 Phillips (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 (Holly Bowyer and Rebecca Pike), 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 (now played by Amber Chadwick) 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 (now played by 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, 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, and 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. Steve and Michelle move into 4b Victoria Court.In September 2013, Stella puts The Rovers up for sale, and Steve decides to put an offer down 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, and is given a 50% share of the place. When Liz returns, she is given the role of assistant manager and is seen behind the bar more often than Steve and Michelle. The reason for this is that Steve still has his taxi-firm business, Street Cars and is struggling to cope with running two businesses. Michelle advise Steve to sell his share of the taxi-firm to his friend and current business partner, Lloyd, which he agrees to.
In December 2013, when Michelle's friend, Carla Connor (Alison King), marries Steve's friend, Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne), Steve and Michelle help plan the wedding, which prompts them to begin a party planning business together. However, a few months later, Steve is shocked to discover that Peter is having an affair with Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan). When the truth is revealed, Carla says that she is going to kill Tina and is prime suspect in her murder investigation when she is found lying dead on the pavement. When Michelle discovers that Steve knew about Tina and Peter's affair, she dumps him, packs her bags and moves in with Carla. However, they get back together within a week and begin to save up for a holiday home in Spain.
In January 2015, Steve is diagnosed with clinical depression and not wanting Michelle to have to cope with him, he decides to end their relationship without giving her any explanation. This leads Michelle to believe that he does not love her anymore. Whilst driving the Underworld staff to an awards' ceremony for Carla to accept an award, Steve is chased by some boy racers who eventually cut him up and cause him to swerve. Steve crashes the minibus, leaving the staff trapped in the wreckage. Steve is the first person to awaken from unconsciousness, and wanders off to leave the others to deal with the traumatic situation. Whilst at the hospital, Steve tells Michelle that he has depression and that this is the reason why he ended their relationship. Michelle promises to help him recover.
In March 2015, Michelle discovers that Steve owes £10,000 in tax which Steve had been ignoring for the past few months. Liz's boyfriend, Tony Stewart (Terence Maynard) offers to lend him the money to clear his debt, but after starting an affair with Tracy, the couple plan to take the Rovers from the McDonald's so Tony lies to Steve and tells him that he needs his money back to pay off some loan sharks. Subsequently, Steve proposes to Michelle in the back room of the Rovers. However, Steve is convinced that Michelle doesn't really want to marry him, and only said yes out of pity, so he calls off the engagement. Later, Steve finds a candlelight dinner prepared in the back of the Rovers, and he assumes that Tony has prepared the meal for his mother, Liz, and calls Tony out in front of the entire Rovers at the Butler Auction. Michelle then confesses that it was actually her who had prepared it for both of them, and calls Steve up onto the stage to explain that she had said yes to him because she loves him. Michelle then proposes to Steve, getting the engagement back on track.
In May 2015, after some persuasion from Liz, a reluctant Steve agrees to sell his share of the Rovers to a company called "Travis Limited", who, unbeknownst to everyone, is actually Tony. Tony then persuades Liz into selling her share of the pub to Travis Ltd, in order to start a new life in Spain. However, Michelle's best friend Carla steps in and offers to buy Liz's share of the pub, which not only settles Michelle's worries about being kicked out of their home, but Liz accepts asking Tony why it would be better to sell to a stranger rather to someone that they know and trust. Carla then promises to keep Steve and Michelle as the pub managers. On 26 May 2015, after a total of seven years of an on-and-off relationship, Steve and Michelle finally marry.
Steve leaves to stay with Andy for a while in Spain, he later returns for Michelle's birthday. Steve is furious with Michelle when he learns that she kissed an ex-boyfriend, Will Chatterton (Leon Ockenden). Michelle plans to leave for a job on a cruise ship when her attempts to get Steve to forgive her fail. Steve and Michelle later reconcile. Steve sleeps with Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) and she becomes pregnant. Steve told Liz that he got Leanne pregnant and explain it was one night stand that he thought Michelle had gone to cruise ship. Leanne informs Steve of her intention to keep the unborn child. Steve decides to keep his involvement a secret and having nothing to do with the unborn child. Michelle then expresses an interest of having children of their own. Steve agrees to have a baby after speaking to Dev.
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 2005. In September 2015, it was announced that Gregson had taken an extended break from the show for "personal reasons" and that Steve would be off-screen for several months. He would also not appear in the upcoming live episode, but would feature in the episodes either sides of it. Steve departed in November 2015, but returned in April 2016.
Relationship with Karen Phillips
Steve began a relationship with Karen Phillips played by Suranne Jones. Rick Fulton of the Daily Record noted that Karen vows to be more "wily" with her romantic interests after seeing her friend Bobbi "wrapping boyfriend Vikram around her little finger". Her friend and colleague Janice makes a series of bets with Karen regarding how new boyfriend Steve treats her: this culminates in Janice betting Karen that she can get Steve to propose to her. Of the storyline, Suranne Jones stated that: "Karen can't believe she's on the verge of getting married for a bet". She characterises Karen as "not the type of girl to back out of a tricky situation" and states that she and Steve find themselves "in a game of bluff" with each "waiting for the other to pull out." Simon Gregson, felt the marriage was "quite fitting" and that his character "thinks it's a bit of a laugh". The wedding scenes were filmed on 6 May 2001 and screened on 30 May 2001. Billy Sloan of the Sunday Mail stated that the scenes were "guaranteed to provide a bit of light relief" after serious storylines such as the rape of Toyah Battersby and Alma Halliwell's cancer diagnosis. Suranne Jones felt that Steve was "definitely the man for Karen" as the two characters had "similar personalities". She stated that Karen had dumped her previous boyfriend, Vikram, because he "wasn't racy enough and doesn't have the edge Steve has".
In September 2001 Suranne Jones stated that she "[feels] sorry for Steve sometimes" in regard to Karen's negative characteristics. She indicated that she'd "love to see Steve and Karen having the same impact on viewers as Dirty Den and Angie did". In November 2001 the two characters fall out because Karen insults Steve's mother Liz, though they later end up back together. Discussing the success of the pairing, Simon Gregson compared Steve and Karen to "a mini Jack and Vera" with "the shouting and the arguments" and "the feistiness of the characters". He added that Steve and Karen "can't live with each other and can't live without each other". Gregson also remarked that the relationship was "going back to what Coronation Street set out to be" which he felt to be "hen-pecked husbands and very strong women".
Relationship with Becky Granger
Steve embarked on an affair with fellow resident Becky Granger portrayed by (Katherine Kelly). Kelly revealed that she felt Steve was the best man for Becky over her previous lover Jason, stating: "Both boys bring out different things in Becky. With Jason, they liked going clubbing, and it was no strings attached, I think Becky needs more than that, even though she wouldn't admit it. I think, long-term, Steve's better for her." When Gregson was interviewed by entertainment website Digital Spy, he was asked if he thought that Steve has had a positive impact on Becky's life. In reply he stated: "I think he's turned it around. She was all over the place getting into trouble all the time but he's made her grow up. And having a little girl there in Amy, that's made her grow a bit, too. She's got responsibilities now. She's besotted with him. She's still a total pisshead, though!" Steve and Becky attempted to marry twice in 2009, their first wedding was given a promotional push from ITV who aired adverts for the first wedding episodes. Their relationship was featured in a serious of romanctic plots in which ITV dubbed the "Summer of Love" season of the soap, with advertisements airing.
Depression and reunion with Michelle Connor
In 2014, Producer Stuart Blackburn revealed that Steve's depression storyline was going to be a big storyline, stating: "It's going to run through the autumn and build up from there. On Christmas Day and beyond, we'll see a real challenge to Steve and Michelle's relationship. I absolutely know that Simon Gregson and Kym Marsh are very good actors. I hope that the great comedy that Steve brings will absolutely be on screen for the next decade and onwards, but I also wanted to explore a story where Steve looked in the mirror on his 40th birthday and started to wonder whether he was really good enough for Michelle. He also blamed himself for Lloyd's heart attack and he feels guilty for his role in what happened to Tina. Steve is taking a long, hard look at himself and he's not liking what he sees. It's going to run from there, and there will still be comedy in the lead-up as Steve tries to hide away from the demons in his head. Fundamentally what I wanted to do is tell what will hopefully be a really positive, uplifting love story between Michelle and Steve."
In January 2015, it was revealed that Steve would reunite Michelle Connor (Kym Marsh) in the aftermath of the upcoming mini bus crash storyline. It was also confirmed that Steve and Michelle would be the next Weatherfield couple to tie the knot. Speaking of this Marsh said; "I'm delighted, absolutely delighted. It'll be weird after being Michelle Connor for nearly nine years, but it totally makes sense for us as characters. Simon and I love working together, and nobody likes to see us broken up." It was also revealed that Michelle would get "feisty" again when her Steve is blamed for the mini-bus crash.
Kym Marsh also revealed that Michelle and Steve's mum Liz would clash over the best course of action for Steve. With Michelle now focused solely on helping Steve to get better with his depression following their reconciliation, she faces opposition from his mum Liz as it becomes apparent that they have very different approaches. While Liz adopts a "tough love" approach with her son, Michelle thinks they should tread more carefully around him, worried about his vulnerable state. Marsh said: "They both obviously want to help Steve but because both of them are so worried about him and love him so much - they both want to help him in their own way. Understandably they clash as they're both so concerned about him. They both have different approaches - Liz is more of the tough love approach and tries to get Steve up and doing things, whereas Michelle is much more trying the softly-softly approach." Marsh added: "Liz doesn't think it's the best way because Michelle is so protective of Steve and doesn't want to hurt or upset him. After everything that's happened with the crash, Michelle thinks they should go easy on him." Despite the disagreement, Marsh believed that the pair would be able to put their differences aside eventually in order to work together to help Steve.
Leanne and Michelle's pregnancies
In June 2016, it was announced Leanne would fall pregnant following a one-night stand. The father was revealed as Steve. Gregson said that his character may have gone "a step too far" and that "he has to keep Michelle". Marsh added that her character would "make Steve's life hell" if she found out. Danson said Leanne and Michelle will also be "forced" to be friends after Michelle finds out she is pregnant with Steve's child, and that "it's just really awkward". Danson also stated that Leanne wants to forget the McDonalds and raise the child with Nick. Liz also finds out, and Gail is "thrilled when she finds out" and that the situation, "It's like a little pressure cooker, it's all waiting to blow". Danson also says the storyline "provokes a lot of stories for a lot of other characters and it's how they will deal with the repercussions". Steve being the father will have implications on Leanne and Nick's relationship and a spark a rivalry between Steve and Nick. Producer Kate Oates said "Nick is persistent and Nick adores her" and the storyline will see if they can overcome Leanne being pregnant with another man's child.
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."
Gregson was nominated in the category of "Best Actor" at The British Soap Awards 2011. He won the "Funniest Male" award at the 2013 Inside Soap Awards. He also won "Best Comedy Performance" at The British Soap Awards 2014.
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