Corrie star Simon Gregson has been speaking of his joy he feels at having screen mum Beverley Callard back behind the bar of the Rovers Return.
“Bev is very funny, witty and bubbly, so she’s great to have around on set,” says the 38-year-old actor, who plays Steve McDonald. “When Liz comes back, she and Michelle immediately join forces against Steve, which is great fun. Steve’s not allowed to be a grown-up around his mum or any other woman – he’s still a kid in their eyes.”
But this perceived lack of maturity could well bode well for Steve, who will soon be contending with running both the pub and the Streetcars taxi firm.
“He likes an easy life,” laughs Gregson. “Steve’s very lazy and he can’t be bothered with confrontation. His heart’s in the right place but he’s just lazy. The whole situation makes for some great comedy because half the time Lloyd thinks Steve is in the pub, while Liz and Michelle think he’s in the cab office. In reality, Steve is off somewhere else and skiving from both jobs.”
In the coming weeks, viewers will see Steve agree to buy the Rovers from Stella (Michelle Collins) in a move that brings about the return of Liz after an absence of more than two years. And it seems that having the McDonalds back at the helm meets with Gregson’s approval:
“It’s nice to have the McDonalds partly back together. Owning the Rovers is quite cool and it’s the first time I’ve seen my name above the door, so I had a little moment there. Steve could never be the licensee before, he can now as any criminal record has lapsed.”
Steve’s main aim in taking back control is to put some pep into the step of Michelle (Kym Lomas), who’s taken on some shifts at the Weatherfield boozer after quitting her job at Underworld. But the fact that he embarks on the negotiations in secret looks likely to set him on a collision with his girlfriend.
“Steve thinks he’s being romantic,” he says. “He thinks it’s better than buying her a diamond ring. Stella tries to warn him, but he doesn’t want to listen. He just thinks Michelle would love it.”
Yet despite such altruistic intentions, is there a small part of Steve that is really buying back the Rovers for himself? “On face value, he’s buying it for Michelle, but there’s no doubt that Steve likes the idea of standing behind the bar and being at the centre of the community.
“However, he hasn’t really thought about the work aspect of it. Usually, he hides away in his little cab office and does as little as possible. So there is a mixture of both – owning the pub is a good thing for him, yet he is genuinely trying to do something nice for his girlfriend.
“But not only has he bought the Rovers secretly, he’s also enlisted his mum’s help and kept that a secret too. Steve and Michelle are the licensees and he thinks Liz will be a silent partner. But then she arrives back…”