Jim McDonald is an anti-hero in the British Soap Opera Coronation Street, appearing originally as a regular character from 1989 to 2000 (before ending up in prison), and followed by guest stints in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 to 2008, 2009, 2010 to 2011, 2014 and 2018. Jim was a major antagonist in the 2014 series and enemy to Peter Barlow. Despite doing some bad deeds (which goes for any other character in Coronation Street) he can still be protective towards his family, mostly his son Steve McDonald. Although in 2018, he had developed extreme bitterness towards them, and planned to con his family. Despite his change of heart and remorse, his betrayal was discovered and he ended up leaving yet again.
Jim is widely considered to be one of the toughest soap characters of all time, and by far the toughest Coronation Street character, due to his great physical strength and fighting ability.
He was played by Charles Lawson.
Jim and his wife Liz first arrived in Coronation Street in October 1989 in interest of buying a house from Alf and Audrey Roberts. They moved in with their two twin sons Steve and Andy and the McDonalds settled into Coronation Street.
Sometime in the mid-90s when Jim discovered Liz had an affair with his best friend whilst he was in the army, he hit her and chucked her out the car and left Liz at an abandoned petrol station. When she arrived home she locked him out of the house and Jim tried to break in and was arrested and Liz put a court order out against Jim. She left the street eventually in 1998 and the pair were divorced.
Murder of Jez Quigley and Imprisonment
In 2000 when Steve was beaten up by a gang led by drug dealer Jez Quigley, Jim beat the thug up and hospitalised him. Jez died from a ruptured spleen and Jim was arrested for manslaughter. Liz returned and reunited with Jim and they remarried a second time. Jim was sentenced to 8 years for manslaughter and was imprisoned.
In 2003 Jim believed Liz was having an affair and broke out of prison and headed to Blackpool. This was a misunderstanding and the pair planned to flee the country but Jim gave himself up when the police caught up and decided not to take the risk. In 2005 Liz divorced Jim a second time after he was denied parole for beating up a fellow cellmate.
In November 2007 Jim was released early for good behaviour and reunited with Steve and also met his granddaughter Amy. Jim wasn't pleased that Liz was marrying a man named Vernon and attempted to win her back on her wedding day to him. When Vernon intervened in Jim's attempts, Jim beat Vernon up badly. Steve banished Jim from his pub the Rovers Return and Jim left again shortly after Liz married Vernon after all.
Jim returned in August 2009 for Steve's wedding to Becky McDonald. By this point Liz was divorced from Vernon and it was clear there was still strong feelings between them, but Jim departed along with his son Andy. A year later Jim resurfaced to celebrate his birthday. He took an interest in Liz again much to the annoyance of her builder boyfriend Owen Armstrong, who then hired a gang of builders to beat Jim up as a warning. Jim warned Steve about Owen before leaving.
Return to prison
Three-months later Jim and Liz reunited. When Steve and Becky planned to flee for Spain with Amy and Becky's nephew Max from Tracy Barlow Jim and Liz offered to buy the pub from them. Jim however didn't have the money, so out of desperation and not wanting to let down Liz attempted to rob a building society. It turned into a hostage situation and Jim planned to commit suicide by shooting himself. Liz however talked him out of killing himself, and Jim surrendered himself to the police. He was sentenced to seven-years in prison, and he cut off contact with his family.
Three-years later resident Peter Barlow was falsely imprisoned for the murder of Tina McIntyre. Craving for booze, he was told about a smuggler nicknamed "The Landlord" who turned out to be Jim. Jim complied with giving Peter booze to ease his addiction, although was expecting payment for the offer. Their relationship began to grow bitter, especially as Jim took to lightly teasing Peter over his intense need to drink. When Peter couldn't make payments in anyway towards Jim for the booze, Jim wanted Peter to talk to Steve about coming to visit him. Steve wasn't really up for seeing his dad again, as the last time he interacted with him, Jim told Steve not to communicate again.
Growing angry over not getting to see his family, Jim refused to supply Peter with anymore booze. A desperate Peter found Jim's supply and drank most of the contents, which caused him to suffer from alcohol poisoning and collapse. Jim found Peter and got help, and Peter was sent to hospital, where he made a full recovery. Peter returned to prison, where Jim informed him that many of his customers were not happy at Peter for drinking most of the stock, and warned him to watch his back.
Jim saving Peter gained him admiration in Steve's eyes, who wanted to reconcile with his dad.