Tag Archives: Jim McDonald

Corrie Street Sept. 14/14

Hello Elizabeth

“Never work with animals or children,” W. C. Fields said. They always steal the show. Tony-watches-Liz-do-make-upCorrie actors might add so too do the words ‘Hello Elizabeth’.

There were many good moments this week. Michelle with some laugh out loud funny lines. Jason’s distress over his unwitting part in Tyrone’s injuries. Tony’s brooding presence at the breakfast table. He worries about the worksite accident and about Liz going to see her volatile ex-husband. He’s also perplexed about the ways women craft a message through make-up and apparel.

Jim says hello ElizabethWar paint in place and a different top on, Liz waits in the prison visitors’ room. Jim files in with the other prisoners, expecting to see Steven. I didn’t even realize I was waiting for it – until he said it. “Hello, Elizabeth”. Delight and memories washed over me at hearing those words that are unique to Jim, and to Liz in relationship to him. (And, oh yes, he noticed the change in lipstick shade.)

Something as simple as that manifests what Jim says he hoped to see Stevecreator Tony Warren said about the appeal of Coronation Street for its audience. It is “something warm, something friendly and something familiar, and they return to it” (Other Worlds, pg. 128). Aye, Tony, so they do.

Following soon after that was Jim back in his cell, despondent. In comes Peter, whining for more booze please Jim, I did my part Jim, you owe me. Big Jim is so not in the mood for Peter says Jim how did it goit. It looks like Peter will end up in hospital, at the receiving end of Jim’s fists. But no, not yet.

Pairing up actors Charles Lawson and Chris Gascoyne is brilliant. I have had trouble with accepting Peter’s sudden and dramatic descent into the DTs. When he first was in prison, he showed no ill effects from alcohol withdrawal at all. Then all of a sudden, he looked he looked like he’d just crawled out of Jim says he wants to give someone a dig in the mouthReefer Madness. Was this written for him because he does drunk and disorderly and desperate so well? When he, and we, met The Landlord it all made sense. That’s why: it gives a reason for Peter and Jim to interact. It worked. The two are absolutely fabulous together.

photo on mantelIt’s a nice touch having photos of Jim on the mantel in the Rovers’ back room. If I were Tony, though, I’d add that to my list of things to brood about.

Corrie Street Aug. 24/14

Shut Up

“Shut up shut up shut up!” Deirdre screamed at Ken as he continued to badger her about oh shut upnot having told him what was up with Peter. He is right, she ought to have told him. But, in the way that arguments do, it spiraled way past the actual issue to everything in their relationship.

She felt he was making it all her fault, and he felt she was making it all his fault. Her fault for not believing in Peter’s innocence and for not doing more to help him. His fault for not being there when his son needed him and when she needed him. And for never listening to her ever. And for always turning because-i-was-scaredthings around, in his clever way, to put her in the wrong. Just shut up. And he did.

He didn’t apologize to her, or acknowledge that he was often too quick to blame her. But he switched topics and altered the tenor of his voice from an accusatory screech to a reasonable tone for discussion. So they sat and talked about the circumstances of Peter’s arrest and what they could do, separately and together, for him.

even-then-you-did-not-callIt hasn’t been easy for Deirdre this past year, coping with everything on her own. It’s not easy for Ken, finding out how much he has not been kept in the loop. It hasn’t been easy for the writers either, not knowing for a long time when, indeed if, Ken would be returning. It is difficult to mesh storyline needs with real life exigencies and, overall, the writers have done a good job with Ken’s absence and return. But in the age of social media and online access to everything in the world all the time, there is quibble room.

deirdre and ken silentEven if we accept that neither his daughter nor grandchildren have thought about phoning or skyping Granddad in Canada and if we accept that Ken is not on Facebook or Twitter, wouldn’t he want to keep up on the UK news? He’s a newspaper junkie and I am sure he knows his way around a website. It’s a bit too much of a stretch to accept that the Weatherfield Gazette does not have an online edition and that former Ace Reporter Barlow would not check it just to get a sense of home.

We heard “shut up shut up shut up” again at the end of the week. It was directed to Peter, Jim-says-listen-to-me-peterto stop his whining and get on with getting a defence. No, it wasn’t Ken, although I suspect he’d have liked to. It was from Peter’s new best friend, purveyor of prison booze, The Landlord. It was Jim McDonald, so it was, talking sense in the big house.

Tales from The Street

The big Corrie bus has rolled into Canada:  McDonald father and son and the Peacocks.  Poster for Tales from The StreetCharles Lawson (Jim McDonald), Nicholas Cochrane (Andy McDonald), Stephen Arnold (Ashley Peacock) and Julia Howarth (Claire Peacock) started a tour of Ontario and Alberta last weekend.  They come to my area – Southwestern Ontario – at the end of March.  Yippee!

While none of the four are on the show now, Stephen is the only one for whom the door is closed with Ashley having died in the tram crash.  So we can hope we’ll see the others on the cobbles again.

Nicholas Cochrane, or Andy McDonald

I had the pleasure of meeting Nicholas Cochrane years ago when I was researching Other Worlds.  His character, Andy, was still a student and we talked at the school then used as Weatherfield Comp.  Nicholas got the part of Andy right out of school and had no training other than high school drama class.  Working on Coronation Street McDonald family Coronation Street 1989every day with actors who had a wide range of experience, he said, provided a great education.

Nicholas worked closely with Charles Lawson.  Jim McDonald is maybe my favourite Corrie character and that is due to his portrayal by Charles Lawson.  When you look at the parts of Jim, there really isn’t much to like.  He isn’t a great father, you can hardly call him a good husband. He probably was a good soldier but he never found success or happiness in any other endeavour.  He’s quick-tempered, even violent.  But.  He’s also witty, warm-hearted, generous with his time and love, and a guy you’d like as a friend.  Charles Lawson plays the whole man, in all his complexity.  Jim is kind of a Janus, so he is, and you see his good face and his bad face, sometimes at the same time.

McDonalds on the street – literally

Jim hauling Liz out of car 1996The Jim and Liz story I have never forgotten is when she told him about a long-ago affair she had with his Army buddy.  He exploded, hauled her out of the car, hit her and left her on the pavement.  It was shocking, as was the aftermath when she and he continued to deal with it.  The violence was delved into, with his sons confronting him and also examining their own relationship with him, pre- and post-beating.  It also showed Jim’s examination of himself and his relationship with his family.

Liz on ground after Jim drives awayI had those episodes on tape.  I showed scenes to my Popular Culture class to illustrate how a “social issue” story can be presented effectively.  Then I contrasted it to a wife abuse story on the soap The Young and The Restless.

Y&R’s story involved a character, back after many years away, and her husband and daughter who hadn’t been seen before.  It said the right things and gave information about what a woman should do in a situation of domestic violence.  But, while you were horrified, it didn’t really connect.  These weren’t people you knew.  And then they disappeared so you didn’t have to think about them, or the issue, again.  With the McDonalds, all aspects of family violence were looked at without preaching, through the vehicle of a family you knew well and continued to see.  You couldn’t help but care.

The Peacocks, I say, the Peacocks

Canada AM with Corrie stars CTVAnd the Peacocks – I look forward to seeing them.  I’m so sorry that Ashley will never grow old on the Street and become the next Fred Elliot, I say, the next Fred Elliot.

The book below is not about Coronation Street, but the people it talks about could well live on the Street.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Sept. 11/11)

Our Jim

With our CBC episodes doubled as of this week, and a lot going on in the Street, it’s hard Jim listening to Steve and Becky in Roversto pick just one scene.  So my pick is every scene with Jim McDonald who returns for Jack’s funeral.  Seeing Jim McDonald makes everything seem brighter.  Every time he comes back for a visit, I realize how much I miss him.   Yes, he’s a hard case, but he’s so vibrant.

Jim raises a glass to Gary and QuinnyIt was especially nice to have him in the Rovers when Roy made the sad announcement that Gary Windass had been wounded in Afghanistan and three men of his unit killed, including his friend Quinny.  Jim is a British Army veteran.  During The Troubles, he was posted in Northern Ireland so he knows combat situations.  He has lost mates and, in his case, he’s from where he was posted.  He was the enemy in his own land.  Of everybody on the Street, he knows what Gary is going through.  When he raises a glass to the soldiers, it’s heartfelt and with knowledge and memory behind it.

It’s ironic that these episodes about Gary air in Canada in the week before September 11th, the reason that the war in Afghanistan began.

I’d like to see Jim with Ciaran.  They are two different Irelands, both with a lilt but one honed with a steel edge and one softer.  Thank heavens we did see him with Owen!  When Jim and Owen Flying HorseOwen walked up to Jim at the Flying Horse I thought they were identical twins separated by some years.  Same looks, same way of carrying themselves, same way of speaking.  They are two alpha dogs after the same b… – um, bone.  I want to see more of them together and with Elizabeth, and I don’t want to.  That’s the effect Jim McDonald always has on me, and he and Owen together!  In a battle of words, Jim can take Owen hands down.  In a physical confrontation, I don’t know.  Look into Owen’s eyes when he’s annoyed.  The smart money, I fear, would be on Owen.  Jim’s a hard man, but I think Owen is merciless.

Jack’s Funeral

Tyrone giving eulogy, Jack's photo beside himJack’s funeral was lovely.  Shorter than I expected, but I’m kind of glad.  It was so emotionally draining that I was relieved when I realized it was over and I could stop crying.  The knees-up in the Rover’s was perfect.  Everyone raising a glass to Jack, some of them appearing to learn the lessons he was trying to teach them in his last days.  Claire and Ashley talking seriously about their future together, as he’d wanted.  Kevin no longer being a total jackass.  Jack, in the crematorium, did some mending that continued back at home.Kevin talking about Jack at Rovers

Even Molly started thinking – then thought a bit too much.  She somehow interpreted Jack’s message to straighten up her life and not mess up Tyrone’s as she and Kevin should raise “their” baby together.  Kevin shot her down.  Tyrone, uncharacteristically (plot-driven writing), started badgering her to have another baby.  She agreed.  I don’t know what Jack Duckworth would say, but I’d be rolling in my grave if I were in one.