Coronation Street fans have been handed a big mystery tonight thanks to the sight of returnee Jim McDonald being seen in the company of a mystery 20-something woman who picked him up in a car outside the Rovers Return.
Hard man Jim made his comeback in Friday’s double bill when he surprised son Steve at his stag do, only to get a bad reception from both him and former cellmate Peter Barlow. Then in the closing minutes of the episode, Jim was glimpsed exiting the pub, climbing into a car and telling the female driver that the time wasn’t yet right for him to reveal his big news. But what is the bombshell that Jim wants to deliver?
Well, next week’s episodes of Corrie find Jim taking ex-wife Liz out to dinner and revealing that their daughter Katie – who passed away as a baby after being born prematurely in 1992 – is actually alive and well, going by the name of Hannah and sitting at the next table!
“When Jim breaks the news that Katie is alive, Liz just thinks it’s ridiculous and she can’t accept it,” says actress Beverley Callard. “She thinks he’s deluded and that maybe Jim is being conned into believing something that isn’t true.”
But Jim will then go on to explain that Hannah (played by actress Hannah Ellis Ryan) was brought up in Australia following a mix-up at the hospital, but DNA results prove that she is actually his and Liz’s child. So how does Liz react to what’s happening?
“Liz just wants to hit her because she thinks the situation is ridiculous. She’s very angry and confused. So Jim ends up sending Hannah away and taking Liz to sit in the urban garden, where he tells her that she’s not being conned. This girl has been looking for them because she has the same illness as Jim. This is what has led her to look for her biological parents.”
As fans know Jim has been diagnosed with the hereditary muscle-wasting disease myotonic dystrophy and was seen tonight walking with the aid of a stick. And it’s the news of Hannah’s same health problems that makes Liz start to realise that Jim is telling the truth about the sudden reappearance of their daughter.
Continues Callard: “Liz can see that all this has been as big a shock to Jim as it has been for her. And seeing Jim walking with a stick has been a shock too. Seeing him like that has wounded her. She might not want to get back with him. But she she doesn’t wish him any harm and she can now see that he’s ill. So that begins to set the seed in her head that this is true.
“Then it just takes her over – she wants it to be true. She meets the girl and sees those big brown eyes and she really knows that this is her daughter.”
And because she has such feelings of euphoria, will Liz now be hoping that all the McDonalds can get reunited and be a family again? “It’s very early days and Liz’s emotions are all over the place. Obviously, she’s drawn to Jim and there’s something there between them that never goes away.
“They’re not right for each other – but maybe this will change things.”