Coronation Street star Charles Lawson has revealed to RadioTimes.com that Jim McDonald won’t get away with his attempt to scam ex-wife Liz and son Steve out of their savings. “You couldn’t print what I think of Jim’s plan,” the actor said. “But it’s clear that he’s not the instigator of all this. That’s the way I’m playing it anyway. He does get caught. And underneath it all, he’s aware that what he’s doing is wrong.”
Tonight’s double bill of the ITV soap saw it revealed that Jim and Liz’s dead daughter Katie hasn’t been miraculously resurrected, but is instead an imposter by the name of Hannah, who is romantically involved with a vengeful Jim. The Weatherfield hard man is secretly furious with his family for abandoning him to his fate in prison and plans to take them for every penny they’ve got. But Lawson said that Jim shouldn’t be seen as an out-and-out villain:
“There is redemption with Jim, as there has to be with all good characters. Jim has never been a bad person and he’s always loved Elizabeth. But once he starts with this plan, it becomes very hard for him to get out.”
Lawson is back on a temporary basis before heading off to star as Ian Rankin’s detective John Rebus in a play, a commitment that necessitated a quicker-than-expected curtailment of his current Corrie plotline. “For whatever reason, people forgot what I was doing and I think the backroom staff had a difficult time with this particular storyline – they wanted me to come back on a permanent basis, but I was busy and I couldn’t. And I know for a fact that this story had to come to an end quickly.
“Had circumstances been different, this storyline may have been different or extended. But my job is to be an actor. I’m not in a collaborative process with the writer. It’s my job to try to make it believable and that’s what I get paid for. Having said that, I never get a bad script. I may raise my eyebrows at certain things, but its never dull.”
Asked whether he’d like to see Jim return once his stage commitments are out of the way, Lawson said: “Well, I’ve spoken to Iain [MacLeod], who’s our new young producer and he’s a good lad, so he is. I was impressed by him. And for the first time in 30 years of doing this bloody programme, a producer actually asked me what I thought about the future!
“And I said that I thought that Jim has got a lot to offer. And that I want him to come back fit and well. But it’s all down to the writers – if they like what they see, they may very well decide to write for me again next year. If they think it’s rubbish, they probably won’t. That’s how it works!
“But I do think that there are a dearth of men like Jim on Coronation Street. It’s a fact of life, though, that there are plenty of men like Jim out there. He is an unreconstructed male and I love him for that. That’s why he was brought in originally and why he’s now been brought back. He is what he is. And he makes mistakes – like every man does.”