Steve McDonald – the man who buys wedding rings like the rest of us purchase bread and milk – is heading up the aisle for the seventh time on tonight’s Coronation Street. But will bride-to-be Tracy discover all about his recent one-night stand with Leanne? With secrets never staying buried for long in soapland, there’s a real possibility of Steve’s latest nuptials ending in ruin and recrimination. Here’s actor Simon Gregson with his take on Steve’s big day – and why, after 30 years, he still gets a big kick out of playing the Street’s most-married male character:
First of all – what is it with Steve and Leanne?
I don’t know – I think they just have good sex when they’re drunk. It’s friends with benefits.
Do you think on the day of the wedding that marrying Tracy is what he really wants?
He does – sleeping with Leanne confirmed to him that he does love Tracy and when he thought she might find out about Leanne and that he might lose her he realised that he didn’t have doubts any more. She’s the woman he wants to marry. Steve does everything the wrong way to get to the right way!
Does he think he can get away with it?
He genuinely believes that if Leanne keeps her mouth shut then yes he can. Tim would never say anything and even Peter thinks Tracy is a bit bonkers. And Although Peter is Tracy’s brother, he has more loyalty to Steve.
Why does he fall in love so often and so easily?
He needs a bit of drama in his life – I can’t imagine why! He likes the ladies and he wants to be with someone. He’s attracted to strong women, he likes the challenge and he weirdly enjoys being told off.
Does he just like to accept the role of village idiot and class clown?
He can be extremely sensible, but the path he chooses is the one that takes the least effort – if he just lets everyone think he is an idiot then he doesn’t have to work hard at anything and won’t get hassle. His motto is ‘anything for an easy life’, but he has anything other than an easy life because of it! If he used some energy to try and do the right thing then he might not have so many problems and always end up doing the wrong thing. He is basically a beach bum – he should be on a beach somewhere.
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Amy is one of the reasons he is getting married to Tracy. Do you think he is a good dad?
He does dote on Amy and on Oliver. I think he is a good dad, he never does anything wong to the children, it’s always the mothers that he messes about.
What is it like filming weddings? You are a bit of a past master at it now!
Well, this is his seventh wedding but only his fifth wife as he married Karen and Tracy twice. The irony is I hate filming weddings! It is a nightmare as they take days out on location and have a cast of thousands. Fortunately for this one they built the hotel set on site so it made things a bit easier – it was fun to film and as you can imagine it doesn’t go quite to plan.
Do you think he has finally met the woman he should be with?
I think so, yes – it does work with Tracy and Steve because she just won’t take any of his nonsense. There is a change in Tracy as well; she’s settling down, so in a very mad way they keep each other sorted. That’s not to say they couldn’t end up killing each other.
Is he a good businessman?
I don’t think he is that bad a businessman, he did keep on top of everything at the Rovers and he has had many business partners at the cab firm and it keeps on going. He’s never going to be a millionaire, but he’s doing OK. It is the women in his life that cause him the problems. Imagine what he could achieve if he didn’t have all the issues with the women in his life?
Do you like Steve? Are you anything like him?
Yes, I think I would get on with him – I’d need a couple of beers to go out with him though! I don’t know anybody like him, but maybe there are aspects of me – his sense of humour a little bit, but it’s a toned down version of my sense of humour. You wouldn’t get away with the things that make me laugh at the time Corrie goes out! The daftness and the happy-go-lucky side of me is what I interjected into Steve. Much like Steve, I also like anything for an easy life and I do tend to mess around on set and make people laugh.
Did you think almost 30 years ago when you went to that first audition at school that you would still be here now?
No I don’t know what I would have said if I’d walked in and they’d said, “OK, this is an audition for the next 30 years of your life. The job has flipped my life upside down, but it’s also provided a very nice life. It’s taken me a long time to get grounded, but I guess if they’d shown me what was to come I would still have taken the job. It doesn’t feel like 30 years – if someone said it has been 15 years I’d think, ‘yes that sounds about right’.
What are your favourite times on the show?
The dafter it is and the more silly it is, the better a day at work it is for me. The crew get on board with it and the atmosphere is great. So Steve and Lloyd’s scenes were great to do. Craig Charles is a fantastic comedy actor but he would let me run with it and was happy to play the straight man and we slotted into that very easily. Now it has taken on a different type of dynamic with Joe Duttine, as Tim and Steve are both as daft as each other. I always look at Tim and Steve and think they should be in shorts with a conker each and getting up to no good, so I love working with him aswell. I also love working with Chris Gascoyne and Ben Price – I’ve seen Ben use a toothpick to stick in his hand to stop himself from laughing in a scene.
Have you enjoyed the recent scenes with Charlie Lawson and Bev Callard?
I love working with Bev because we have a such a great time. With Steve and Liz there is always that air of comedy and as Charlie has got older he’s got worse, and once Bev starts laughing she can’t stop. Charlie is always about making me laugh, but I tell him I have learned from the master, so I can get him back.
How will Steve feel when he finds out about Hannah and Jim’s deception?
Steve won’t be surprised about Hannah’s part in it – he always thought there was something dodgy going on and he doesn’t trust anything that Jim says. The DNA results threw him a bit, but he won’t be shocked that it was all a con. However, he will be sad for Liz that this has happened and that Jim was involved.
Could you imagine being here with Steve on his 10th wedding in 20 years’ time?
Yes, I can’t see why not – the first 30 years have gone in a flash, so I would be very happy to stay and see Steve through to old age!
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