Monday 10 August 2009

Character Study: Steven James McDonald

To celebrate Steve McDonald's wedding this week, Here's a character study of the groom.

The McDonald family arrived in Coronation Street at the end of 1989. Ex-army Sargeant Jim and Liz, a couple in their thirties, were parents to 14 year old fraternal twins, Steve and Andy. From the start, the lads were high-energy tearaways initially causing aggravation for Alf Roberts. Steve and Andy got up to a lot of mischief, including a joyride in an industrial earth mover, breaking Alf's shop window (not for the first time, either!). Steve tended to be the one that came up with the ideas but Andy wasn't short of one or two himself.

Thus, it was established that Steve and trouble were no strangers.

The lads were brought up mainly by their mother because Jim was in the army and away more than he was home. When he was home, the hot tempered Jim, who's tirades were often fueled 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. Perhaps the excitement and challenge of that was part of the attraction.

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 Lakes 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 a quick pound. Or maybe it was just that money schemes were more thrilling than those that didn't involve it. Steve was always one to go for a thrill and a challenge.

He married young, the granddaughter of Alec Gilroy, who had come into a bit of money when her parents died. This seemed to be nothing more than another scam to get his hands on the cash, something Alec could never convince Vicky of, but, as predicted, it didn't last long. He got caught in possession of stolen booze and this time, he went to jail. Vicky divorced him and left town. Did Steve learn a lesson from his sojourn? Well, yes and no. He did try harder to avoid the illegal but didn't always manage it. Jim's drinking, jealousy and temper often caused great upheaval in his marriage and later, in his divorce with Liz. This didn't help Jim and Steve's continually rocky relationship. Steve usually took his mother's side but he was never a "mama's" boy. He still went his own way but was always there for her when needed.

Steve never seemed to have that many regrets about his checkered past but three things did give him a guilty conscience. Steve always felt responsible for the death of his baby sister, Kathleen, to whom Liz gave birth to prematurely after worrying about Steve's latest scheme. Later, 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 paralyzed 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. The last incident that Steve will always have regrets over is his involvement with Jez Quigley, from whom he borrowed money to invest in a mini cab firm with mate Vikram Desai. When he couldn't pay it back when Jez demanded it, Jez had him beaten up very badly. Jim went after Jez and gave him such a pounding that Jez later died from his injuries. Jim confessed and went to jail where he is still serving time. This seemed to be the point where Steve really started to turn his life around.

He had taken over the building business and made a fair success of it, being involved in the reconstruction of Victoria Street and later, a renovation of a block of flats that Richard Hillman bought. (but that's another story!) The taxi firm, Streetcars, although it's had a few bumps along the way, has been a success too. He now owns the Rovers Return Inn as well, with his mother as the licensed landlady (he can't own the license because of his criminal record).

He still hasn't been any luckier in love, though. He had a volatile relationship with sexy factory worker Karen, whom he married on a bet, divorced and remarried. He had a one night stand with Tracy Barlow which resulted in a daughter, Amy. After initially rejecting the baby, Steve has come around and become a very good dad when Tracy had allowed him to be. Now that Tracy is in prison, he's a single father but fatherhood has added another new side to Steve and it looks like he's going to cope ok.

Steve McDonald has grown from a scallywag to a troubled young man to a responsible businessman and father in his 30's. He almost seems to be as sensible as his twin, Andy, always was, the (dare I say it?) Voice of Reason when all around him seem to have run amuck. Well, sometimes. Witness how he just couldn't help messing up his relationship to Michelle! He'd mess up and lie about it compulsively and it always makes things worse in the end. He hasn't learned that lesson yet. Michelle's own personal problems seemed to drag Steve down and now he's with live wire, Becky, who has brightened him up. He had a bit more fun with Becky at the start but it all went pear shaped after she found out she couldn't have children.

Her sister turned up and Becky met her nephew Max and the whole child-buying business ended up blowing their marraige sky high, with a little help from out-of-prison Tracy Barlow who couldn't help poking the bear with a big stick.

Steve jumps from one volatile woman to the next and before long, Tracy has him manipulated back into her life. You've heard how a lot of men end up with women like their mothers. I don't think that's too far off the mark with our Steve. Liz was fiery and tempermental and most of the women Steve has been with have been trouble with a capital T.

It's been an interesting ride watching Steve grow up. I hope he's around for a long time to come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yes sure been good to watch all these years congratulations on your wedding good luck .

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