Who’s Jim McDonald, Why is He In Jail and How Bad Will the Vern Hurtin’ Be?

Last night’s episode (update to follow) saw our Steve receive a call from his dad, everyone’s favourite ethnic stereotype, Jim McDonald the Blast from Belfast, an Irishman with a penchant for getting drunk and punching things.   So for those of you not familiar with our Jim I offer you this quick Corrie history lesson.

I’m going to hold myself down to the facts and the facts only because I think Jim is one of those few characters that people either really love or really hate. Myself and Ms. Debbie have come down to wicked blows involving feathers and Jell-O discussing if Jim is a hard luck story with a bad temper or serious freaking evil head case.

Whatever your opinion of Jim is, we can all agree with one thing…if it wasn’t for Mr. McDonald elder, an entire generation of Brits would have been kept ignorant of the Toronto Blue Jays.

The McDonald clan arrived on the scene close to 19 years ago on October 27, 1989. Jim had been in the army, a life he had adored but Liz had wanted a more stable existence, so he hung up his uniform and moved the family (twin boys Andy and Steve) to Weatherfield. Once in town he worked various jobs such as a mechanic in the garage and being Bill Webster’s right hand man.

He even held down a job as Mike Baldwin’s chauffer but this fell apart after an attempt by Liz and he to buy the Rovers. During the bid Liz called Jim to urgently sign some papers at the bank (or some such thing) in order to get the bid in before the Duckworths. He drove off, abandoning Mike in the middle of nowhere without a ride; but unfortunately he was too late and they lost the Rovers to Jack and Vera. Needless to say Mike also canned his ass.

Jim and Liz’s relationship has never been spectacular and when they lost their baby daughter only a few days after she was born it truly began to go down the crapper with her looking for love in all the wrong places and he well, getting drunk and punching people.

A Quick History Jim Punching People

 Liz leaves Jim after he punches a young Steve.

Jim punches Liz’s new boyfriend Colin.

Liz and Jim go to his army reunion and he notices that she’s being overly friendly with one of his mates. On the ride home, he badgers her and she finally tells him that she slept with his friend. Jim stops the car, punches Liz and leaves her on the side of the road.

A remorseful Jim feels bad and tries to reconcile with Liz. He does this by breaking into the house by punching the back window – he’s arrested shortly after and slapped with a restraining order.

After Steve is beat up by gangster Jez Quigley, Jim pays Jez a visit and well, punches him. Except he keeps punching and Jez ends up dying from internal bleeding. Jim confesses to this crime and is sent up the river for 8 years.

Jim’s Best Line Ever
After stumbling upon Liz in bed with his physiotherapist, Jim tosses her ass out and (quoting Wikipedia) in his strong northern Irish accent says, ‘Get out. Just get out Liz, you slapper. Sleeping with my physiotherapist.’ (Glacia is going to get drunk tonight and re-enact this line for her husband, complete with accent.). Divorce quickly follows. (The McDonald’s, not the Glacia’s.)

Life Behind Bars
Jim and Liz get re-married before he goes to prison and at some point he escapes from prison because he thinks Liz is having an affair. His plan was to run Northern Ireland but on his way out of town he sees Ashley and Claire adrift on a boat. So he stops to take time to punch them. No, just kidding, he rescues them and in the process gets arrested and sent back up the river.

The last time we saw Jim was when he was about to be paroled, but as Liz waited for her husband to return she received the news that he had his parole revoked after an argument over toothpaste with his cellmate which ended in Jim punching the cellmate.

Liz decides that she can’t spend her whole life waiting for a man who can’t control his anger long enough to get paroled. She decides to divorce him and goes to the prison to let him know. Our last vision of Jim was the rather pathetic vision of him calling out ‘Elizabeth! Elizabeth!’ as the prison guards haul him back to his cell.

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16 Responses to Who’s Jim McDonald, Why is He In Jail and How Bad Will the Vern Hurtin’ Be?

  1. Yanyan says:

    I. Heart. Jim. After he pounds the snot out of Vernon and Liz leaves him hanging yet again, I hope to marry him.

  2. Mrs. D says:

    Would it have been so bad if Jim really had punched Ashley and Claire? I kinda think that I would like to see that happen…

  3. kunzie says:

    Cheers Glacia! Jim was before my time as a viewer, so update much appreciated :).

  4. Glacia says:

    Sleeping with my physiotherapist. I just can’t stop saying that….

    Glacia amuses herself all afternoon.

  5. geenee says:

    I wish he’d come back to stay!

  6. barb says:

    I always liked Jim, too. Why, I’m not sure. IIRC, didn’t Jez die because of a broken rib puncturing something vital and said broken rib wasn’t from Jim hitting him ie. he would have died anyway? And I remember the scene where he slapped (and I don’t think it was a punch) Liz; I was ready to slap her as well. Anyway, bring him on. (although the last few things I’ve seen him in, he’s aging like me – not great)

  7. lovethestreet says:

    I’ve been checking out this site for ages now — and enjoying it almost as much as watching Coronation Street itself…however, I’ve never before jumped into the conversation.

    BUT, I’ve got to add my two cents worth about Jim McDonald. I can’t wait for his return! Do you think he still has the Blue Jays shirt?

    (My dream is still a reunion between Emily and Mis-ter SUG-den…)

  8. missusmac says:

    Jez had a broken rib that Jim gave him because Jez had kidnapped/terrorized Steve. But Jez died while he was trying to smother Steve while Steve was lying in a hospital bed.

    This was one of the few times I was appalled at the holes in the plot line. Jez dies attempting to murder Steve, having risen from his own hospital bed and obviously overexerted himself — and JIM GOES TO JAIL?!?! For a really, really long time, too.

    Lovethestreet, I agree! I love Jim, so I do. Not sure why, like Barb says. He’s a pretty unlikeable guy sometimes.

  9. pip says:

    His eyes are definitely too close together. A sure sign of evil. Still not as creepy as Vern’s eyes, though. My goodness Liz has poor taste in men. Jim, Vern, Derek. When will it end?

  10. geenee says:

    Now if Liz could have kept her knickers up, she and Jim would have got along fine and he was much more interesting than Vernon or Derek. Well, there was that little digression with Steve’s ex-girlfriend and the scene he made at her wedding, but nobody’s perfect!

  11. Corrie Quebec says:

    I hope he comes back with the Jays shirt.

  12. beanie says:

    I love Jim McD. I think it’s the accent. I love how he calls the Rovers the local boozer.

  13. debbie says:

    Jez did die from that broken rib, but it was Jim who broke the man’s rib and he was hospitalized because of Jim’s violence. If Jim didn’t break his rib and put him in the hospital he wouldn’t have died trying to kill Steve. So, yes, Jim is responsible for Jez’s death, no matter how convoluted. I just thought it was ridiculous that Jez and Steve would be in the same hospital and Jez would so easily find Steve, like they were sharing a room or something.

    Regarding Jim. He is a good and complex character, but you can’t forget that he was menacing. His jealousy was totally out of hand. He used to leave work and follow her around like a stalker. Of course she had an affair, it would be like being married to a perpetually angry prison guard. There were several incidents of Liz stepping between him and his sons. I always got the feeling that there were hints to a much more violent Jim than we saw.

    Although, I do love that he calls Liz “Elizabeth.” It’s dead classy.

  14. Glacia says:

    I think Liz and Jim were one of the most toxic couples ever.

    There’s no doubt he had anger/jealousy issues although I think they really played that up the last year or so he was on.

    I guess what bugged me, but also I found kind of interesting was the slapping of Liz. (and you’re right Barb it wasn’t a punch. I just said punch to be consistent in the write up.)

    While domestic violence is always bad, it always bugged me that Liz turned the whole thing into battered wife syndrome. Jim was dead wrong to hit her and I’m not excusing him…but there’s really a difference between slapping someone who’s just admitted to sleeping with your buddy and beating and terrorizing someone on a regular basis. Even the boys admitted that Jim had never laid a hand on her before that. But then of course Jim goes off the deep end and starts the stalking, etc.

    I don’t know, their marriage was a train wreck and there were a lot of times I could see both sides…and the baby’s death explains a lot of Liz’s behaviour. Still, she’d really piss me off sometime, especially when she went after Jim’s inheritence after having left him.

  15. Leah says:

    SPOILERS PEOPLE! Come on. Maybe I didn’t know he was coming back?

    Also that bit about him punching Ashley and Claire was so funny. Thanks for the history!

  16. Glacia says:


    Sorry if this was a spoiler, I’m assuming that you watch Corrie on the weekends. Jim actually came back the same day that I posted this so for the weekday viewers it wasn’t a spoiler.

    I do recognize that there are some Corrie Canucks that wait until the weekend to see the show, but it would be tricky for us to wait until after Sunday to post the updates, etc.

    A while back we agreed to attach the word ‘Update’ to any update posting so that those who watched on the weekend would know to skip it. However, it’s hard to restrict discussion regarding what is currently happening until after the Sunday omnibus.

    As much as we don’t want upcoming spoilers listed, I think that we have to allow discussion of anything that has been aired already during the week.

    I know this is a bit unfair to the weekend viewers who may have to wait until Sunday to read the blog but it’s really tricky the other way too.

    Please accept my apologies if this ruined your Sunday viewing and I hope this won’t dissuade you from continuing to read Corrie Canuck. It’s rare that postings like this happen outside of the updates.

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