Coronation Street‘s Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) has had more exes than the Rovers has served up hot pots, and there’s a stark reminder of his romantic past in the shape of ditzy stylist Emma Brooker (Alexandra Mardell) who turns out to be the child old flame Fiona Middleton (Angela Griffin) was secretly pregnant with when she left Weatherfield in 1998.
Talk of Fiona has got fans thinking about what exactly went on between the pair back in the day – although she’s just one of the numerous notches on the randy Romeo’s bedpost (Mr McDonald marks 30 years on the show in 2019, he’s been a busy boy) recent revelations have upped the impact she made on his life.
Ahead of her cameo on Wednesday 21st August via video call from Australia where she admits all to her daughter, here’s a guide to the bad romance endured by the couple back in the day…
Get all the latest soaps news and views direct to your inbox
When did Steve and Fiona get together?
Steve, then around 18, was seeking a new love interest after splitting from his first serious girlfriend, minty heiress Vicky Arden, and the spark between him and feisty, flirtatious Fi was palpable.
Glamorous Ms Middleton arrived on the street in 1992 to work in the hair salon alongside Denise Osbourne – future mother of Daniel – and epitomised 1990s girl power, Weatherfield style: a go-getting but hard-partying career woman who treated men mean to keep them keen, giving cocky Steve a taste of his own medicine.
Their no-strings fling slowly developed into something more serious but when vivacious Vicky came back into his life in 1995, gambling addict Steve sniffed her hefty inheritance and married her for money, despite the fact him and Fiona had just moved in together.
Heartbroken Fi found comfort in the arms of cheeky chappy neighbour Des Barnes, breaking the girl code with BFF Maxine Heavey who fancied Des herself.
Steve then did a stint behind bars for getting embroiled with local gangsters and begged Fiona to visit him in prison, making her realise she still had feelings for him. By this time, she’d hooked up with nice guy mechanic Tony Horrocks, but they split up when he figured out she was still sweet on her bad boy ex.
Why did Fiona sleep with Steve’s dad Jim?
Good question. Fiona soon settled down with uptight, and slightly older, copper Alan McKenna. His controlling streak caused problems, as did her lingering affection for convicted con Steve, but they got engaged, things got very serious very quickly. Their relationship became volatile and Alan unpredictable, driving Fiona to seek comfort from Steve’s dad Jim, who she’d always had a soft spot for.
In a moment of madness, they slept together, leading to an obsessed Jim storming Fiona and Alan’s 1997 wedding and revealed their one-night stand to the shocked congregation – causing the groom to jilt his bride and leave town, despite Fiona being pregnant with his child.
How were things left between Steve and Fiona?
Steve stepped up and supported Fiona when she faced being a single mum to baby son Morgan, and the pair defied the odds to give things another go as a happy family of three.
But in a sign of things to come, Steve couldn’t keep it in his pants and cheated on Fiona with Maxine. They kept it quiet and were full of remorse, and Steve even accepted Fiona’s surprise proposal of marriage, but finally in September 1998, having discovered the betrayal between her boyfriend and bestie Fiona sold the salon, having taken it over when Denise left, and that was that.
Angela Griffin went on to be a big star in hit shows like Cutting It and Holby City, but Fiona was barely mentioned again until recently, when it turned out Emma, who’d been working in the same salon as her mum did more than two decades earlier, was her daughter all along – and it turns out the man who raised Ms Brooker was not her biological father either.
Considering the bad blood between Fiona and Stevie boy, it’s no wonder she doesn’t bother coming back from Australia – where she relocated after divorcing Emma’s stepdad – as it probably wouldn’t be pretty if the old flames were in the same room again and she admitted they had a grown-up child he knew nothing about. But it would be highly entertaining…