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Elizabeth Jayne "Liz" McDonald (née Greenwood) is the ex-wife of Jim, mother of twins Steve and Andy, and grandmother of Amy Barlow and Oliver Battersby. Her only daughter, Katie, was born prematurely and died at one day old in 1992.

Liz was already pregnant with the twins when she married Jim at sixteen in 1974. She first moved to Coronation Street with the family when Jim was demobbed fifteen years later. Before that, they'd lived in army housing but with Jim abroad a lot of the time, Liz raised the boys virtually on her own. During this period, Liz had a fling with Jim's army buddy Johnny Johnson, which they managed to keep secret until 1996. When Jim found out, he assaulted Liz and the couple divorced. Liz married Jim again in 2000 when he was awaiting trial for manslaughter, before getting a second divorce when his parole was cancelled on account of him beating his cellmate in 2005.

Aside from Jim, Liz has had many lovers, including Harry Mason, Michael Wall and Vernon Tomlin, who became her second husband in 2007. The marriage lasted less than a year as Liz didn't find Vernon exciting enough, preferring strong, alpha-male types. She reconciled with Jim a final time in 2011 until he held up a building society as part of a plan to buy the Rovers Return Inn with her, and went back to prison.

Liz became a barmaid at the Rovers in 1990 and ascended to landlady and licensee in 2006 when Steve bought the pub, with experience managing several bars including The Queens and The Hour Glass in between. After originally leaving Weatherfield for a life in Spain in 2011, she returned in 2013 as co-owner of the Rovers with Steve, remaining there until 2017 when she sold her share to Peter Barlow and Toyah Battersby.

After selling her share of the Rovers, Liz began working as a part-time receptionist at Rosamund Street Medical Centre and moved into 15a Victoria Street. In 2020, she left She left Weatherfield once again and returned to Spain.

Biography

The McDonalds on arrival (1989)

Arrival

Liz first appeared in 1989 with her husband, ex-army sergeant Jim, and their twin sons Steve and Andy. Liz and Jim, who wed on 5th January 1974, had a stormy marriage, caused by his hot temper and jealous rages. Soon after arriving on Coronation Street, Liz made friends with Deirdre Barlow, whose daughter Tracy was slightly younger than the twins.

Working as a barmaid

Liz McDonald worked as a barmaid at the Rovers Return Inn for some time, and was delighted to be offered her own pub, The Queens, by Newton & Ridley. She did really well there, and was in her element. At this time, she was going through a bad patch with Jim and eventually left him, moving into the flat above the pub. She took up with Des Barnes's brother Colin, who was also working at the pub. It always seemed that the relationship meant more to him than her.

Relationship with Colin Barnes

Jim found out and came round and hit Colin, getting barred by the brewery. But Liz went back to him in the end, and they started to make a go of things, wanting to buy the Rovers. This seemed as if it would really get their lives together, as until then, they'd always been trying to keep things going.

Unfortunately, they didn't get the Rovers and Jim lost his job at MVB Motors as well.

Working at the bookies

Liz got a job at Skinner's Bookies, because the owner, Sean Skinner, fancied her. He thought it was a pity the punters couldn't see her legs when she was working behind the counter. She left there after she and Des Barnes were becoming attracted to each other. It didn't go further than a few kisses, but they both recognised the danger, and Liz wanted to stay with Jim.

However, Jim didn't believe her story of being sacked because they were over-staffed, especially when someone else was hired a few weeks later. She eventually admitted the real reason and Jim flew into one of his rages. They were still trying to put this together when she revealed another incident on the way back from Jim's army reunion. This time, she'd slept with one of Jim's friends, way back in the days when he was in the army and she was left alone for long periods with just the twins for company. She'd found it too much and had finally given in to this guy who had been assiduously trying to seduce her for months.

Jim's temper

Jim beat her and abandoned her at the service station. She was left with nothing, and had to hitch a lift back home. The family were in uproar with Jim, and Liz went to stay with Deirdre for a few days. Liz went back to the house and changed the locks. Jim tried to get in to see her and had to be physically restrained by Curly Watts and Kevin Webster when he started smashing the back windows of the house. Liz took out a restraining order on Jim, and called the police when he insisted on speaking to her another time and followed her into the Rovers.

Everyone else thought she'd been too harsh, as this time Jim was very rational. From then on, the rest of the family started to feel a bit more for Jim, having been unanimously against him at the beginning.

No sooner was Jim out of prison than Steve was in. Liz then often spent her time seeing him, and trying to persuade Fiona Middleton (his ex-girlfriend) to see him too.

Single life

Liz, now single and on her own, and was working for Sean Skinner in the bookie's shop. She had a flirtation with Sean but it was thwarted by a criminal called Fraser Henderson. He had noticed her when she was visiting Jim in the nick and contacted her when he was released. He had Sean beaten but Liz got involved with him anyway and he gave her a job in a wine bar he owned. Fiona's fiancé, police detective Alan McKenna persuaded Liz to get some inside info on Fraser who skipped town when he found out. But his henchman captured Liz and held her and her sons captive in No. 11 Liz managed to use her stiletto on the thug and the police arrested him.

Departure

After Jim had a bad accident on a building site, he became temporarily paralysed and Liz, taking pity on him, moved back in to help take care of him. They grew closer but Liz soon became distracted by Jim's physiotherapist, Michael Wall and started an affair with him. Jim was going to propose and found out, breaking his heart. Liz and Michael left Weatherfield.

The murder of Jez Quigley

Liz returned some years later when Jim was in prison, having confessed to beating Jez Quigley which resulted later in Jez's death. She was no longer with Michael. During this time she and Jim got back together and remarried in the prison chapel. Liz left the street again, following Jim around as he was transferred from one to another prison, getting jobs nearby so she could visit.

Return

Liz reappeared in 2003 when she was living in Blackpool and regretting a fling with her latest boss, the owner of a pub. Jim got wind of her affair and broke out of prison to find her. They nearly escaped to Ireland on a boat but stopped to help Ashley and Claire Peacock who were in a boat and having trouble. Back on the dock, Jim was apprehended and sent back to prison. Liz went to Brighton with Bet Lynch.

Later life

Liz reappeared again for son Steve and girlfriend Karen Phillips's wedding in February 2004. She stayed for a while, causing trouble because she was spending time with Tracy and her baby granddaughter, Amy, whom Tracy and Steve had conceived through a one-night stand. She went back to Brighton but returned when Fred Elliott hired her to work in the Rovers. Still wearing short skirts, high heels and plunging necklines, she incurred unwanted attention from builder Charlie Stubbs, who was seeing pub manager Shelley Unwin at the time. Charlie made sure it looked like it was Liz doing the chasing, and forced Liz out of the pub, both home and job. Liz later got a job at the Weatherfield Arms, and flat shared with Maria Sutherland in the flat over the cab office. She continued to encourage Tracy's attentions towards Steve, even though Steve wanted nothing to do with Tracy.

When Jim's temper got the better of him and had his time in prison extended again, Liz said 'enough was enough' and she was divorcing him.

Relationship with Vernon Tomlin

After several doomed romantic encounters, Liz met Vernon Tomlin, a workshy drummer in a band. He was very laid-back and totally unlike Jim, but the couple had fun and Liz felt like a teenager once more. The pair eventually split when Liz, tired of him taking her for granted and of his roving eye for the ladies, threw him out. He later returned and begged her to take him back and they became engaged in 2007.

Liz was not completely happy with her relationship with Vernon and sought excitement in the form of a fling with brewery delivery man Derek. When Derek's wife, Linda, confessed to Liz that she knew he was having an affair but was unsure with whom, Liz told Derek that they would have to stop seeing each other for the time being. Regardless, Liz went on to resume her meetings with Derek, but when she found herself in her underwear, trapped on a balcony in an apartment block overlooking Weatherfield, she realised she couldn't continue the affair. She ended her relationship with Derek and confessed to his wife on the day of Sally Webster's fortieth birthday party.

When Jim was released from prison in November 2007, Liz was wary of allowing him back into her life again. But she was impressed by the change in his temperament and allowed their relationship to continue on friendly terms. However, when Jim cornered her on the morning of her New Year's Eve wedding to Vernon, her initial fears were proven justified. He told her that he loved her and would not allow the marriage to take place and when Vernon intervened, Jim launched a violent attack on him.

Liz suppressed her own doubts about marrying Vernon and - determined not to allow Jim to have his own way - went ahead with the ceremony. The couple went on their honeymoon to Nashville, but only after Vernon discovered that Liz had nearly called off the wedding.

On returning from her honeymoon Liz revealed that she would be keeping her surname as McDonald as this is the name she was known in the licence trade.

In June 2008, Vernon and Liz went to view a bar with the intention of possibly buying it. It was at this point that Liz admitted to Vernon that she would not be happy there and that she no longer loved him, she said that their marriage was over. A devastated Vernon moved out of the Rovers that day leaving an upset Liz behind.

Relationship with Harry Mason

In March and April 2008, it became obvious that there was a spark between Liz and bookie Harry Mason. In May, Vernon joined his bandmates Vince and Don on a cruise gig. Liz was all set to go with him, but told him she couldn't leave the pub. She later confided in Deirdre that she actually couldn't stand to be with Vernon on the ship 24/7. When Vernon left, Harry took advantage of his absence and invited Liz to the opening of a bookies.

Liz accepted an invitation for dinner at his flat. She made up a story to Steve about Deirdre having personal problems so that she could get the night off work. The evening almost ended with a kiss, but Liz, thinking of Vernon who was still away on the cruise, rejected his advances, but was clearly tempted as she left the flat. The following day Liz went around to his place again, this time for lunch. However, Harry's son Dan Mason realised what was going on, as he saw Liz leaving the Rovers at the same time as Harry, and soon afterwards informed Steve that they were having a fling. Steve angrily confronted Deirdre about the situation, who admitted that Liz was tempted by Harry's charms. Steve then confronted Harry and Liz about their relationship. Liz then told Steve to stay out of her private life.

Since her break up from Vernon, Liz began to become closer to Harry, which put Harry's wife Clarissa's nose out of joint. But the tables were soon turned, and Liz was the one feeling jealous when she discovered that Harry and Clarissa were calling off their divorce, and were getting back together.

In September, Liz and Harry slept together on a couple of occasions. Heartbroken, ex Vernon wrote a letter to Liz proclaiming his love for her, and urged her to come with him as he made it big with a record label. In the meanwhile, Liz was too preoccupied by a charity ball date with Harry to take much notice. The tables were turned on Liz once more, as Harry took Clarissa to the ball instead, leaving Liz humiliated. Rushing outside to catch Vernon before he left, she was too late, as the man who truly loved her left the street. She swore revenge on Harry. She and Clarissa later teamed together and humiliated Harry by getting him caught with his trousers down, and he later left the street after Clarissa agreed to take him back under the condition that he never sets foot in Weatherfield again.

Departure - 2011

After the devastating tram crash, Liz returned from a holiday in Spain (where she was visiting Andy) and was shocked to discover that granddaughter Amy was back living with Tracy, who had been released from prison. After Steve's latest wife Becky threw Liz out of the Rovers after finding out she looted the Alahans and bought her nephew Max Turner, Liz met up with Jim and agreed to give their relationship another chance. Together they planned to buy the Rovers from Steve and install Liz as landlady. Unable to tell Liz that he couldn't raise the money to buy the pub, Jim resorted to robbing a building society. He was arrested, but begged Liz to wait for him. She agreed. That night, after locking up the Rovers, Liz left Weatherfield and headed to Manchester Airport.

Back behind the bar again

Two-and-a-half years later in October 2013, Liz made a shock return to her beloved Rovers, this time as co-owner with her son Steve. By this point Steve was back with former girlfriend Michelle Connor, and wanting to surprise her, purchased the pub from Stella Price. The trouble was that, due to being low on funds, Steve could not buy the business outright so contacted his mother in Spain to see whether or not she could co-invest. For once Liz had actually been able to earn some decent capital for herself by buying into a Spa business in Spain, which had taken off very well for her. When Michelle found out about what Steve had done, she was initially annoyed that he had gone behind her back and made assumptions, but eventually warmed to the idea of being co-landlady. Liz however had no intention of being just a silent partner and quickly descended back onto the Rovers' turf breaking up a cat-fight between Kylie Platt and Tina McIntyre in the process and throwing them both out of "her pub". This then left Steve with some explaining to do to both of the women in his life.

Shortly after her arrival, Michelle's father Barry, flirted and made a pass at Liz when he vowed to divorce his wife Helen. The following month, Liz noticed her barmaid Tina getting too close to Peter Barlow and caught them in the Rovers' toilets about to kiss. Liz suggested to Tina that she was "playing with fire", but Tina ended up getting closer to him. Both Michelle and Liz made fun out of Steve who joined college and she got suspicious as Steve grew closer to classmate Andrea Beckett who arrived at Christmas causing tension in the Rovers. In January 2014, Liz found out that Tina was being played around with by Peter and that she had slept with him. Liz threatened Peter in the toilets and weeks later, she saw Tina leave for London due to Peter's influence which made Liz angry. She got into an argument with Peter and his wife Carla noticed, but Liz played along with Peter's cover-up. In February, Liz was delighted when Tina returned and gave her back her job. Liz started getting fond of the flirtatious Tony Stewart, father of Jason Grimshaw.

However Tony was having a four month affair with Tracy. On the day of Steve's wedding to Michelle in May 2015, Tracy told Liz all about the affair and Liz told Tony not to bother returning. After Tony returned, Liz eventually let Tony back as long as he left Barlow's Buys and gave Steve his share of the Rovers. However it was all a ruse, which Liz revealed to the whole pub.

2017-2020: Losing the Rovers and moving on

In 2017, Steve had to sell his share of the Rovers as part of his divorce to Michelle so Liz decided to also sell her share and leave her pub. Barmaid Toyah Battersby and Peter Barlow bought the pub. Liz got a job at Rosamund Street Medical Centre as a receptionist, where practise manager Moira Pollock annoyed her greatly. Liz quit the job in November but returned in January 2018 as well as continuing on at the Rovers as a barmaid. Liz and Eileen briefly fell out as Liz disliked Eileen's husband, Pat Phelan. They were still reunited as they both hid from Moira in the Rovers toilets.

June 2018: Liz shares a kiss with drunken Johnny Connor, as he begins to resent his wife Jenny

In 2018, Johnny Connor allowed Liz to support him following his son Aidan's suicide, while pushing his own wife Jenny away. In particular, Liz attended the chapel of rest with him in June to view Aidan's body. When Johnny turned up at Liz's flat drunk to speak to her, they ended up in bed together, but in the cold light of day, Liz decided that she was unwilling to ruin Johnny's marriage and lied to him about only loving him as a friend. Johnny rejected Liz, believing that she was only pitying him due to his son's suicide.

Liz was pulled back into Johnny's orbit just a few days later when he asked her to find out confidential information about Susie Price, who he had just learned was Aidan's daughter He had witnessed Susie's mother, Eva Price, taking the baby into the medical centre and wanted to know what was wrong with her. Liz obliged and passed on the information that Susie had suffered a fall. When Johnny abducted Susie, fearful of losing his granddaughter, Liz was the only person he informed of his whereabouts. She tracked him down and urged Johnny to hand himself in, but he instead asked her to join him when he fled to Spain with Susie. Behind Johnny's back, Liz contacted the police and tipped them off about where they were. Johnny made a run for it, and was later found unconscious at the canal. As he recuperated, Johnny told Liz that he had come to his senses and realised that his family were the important ones, not her.

September 2018: Liz meets Hannah Gilmore for the second time and finally accepts her as her daughter

In September, both Liz and Steve were horrified to discover that Jim had been released from prison. Steve didn't want to have anything to do with his father and refused to listen to his reasons for returning, while Liz was more lenient and agreed to hear him out. The answer was a young woman Jim introduced Liz to as their daughter Katie. Originally Liz refused to believe that the woman, Hannah Gilmore, was her late daughter, but eventually bought Jim's explanation that there had been a hospital error that had seen two children being swapped.

Hannah revealed to Liz that she was suffering from MD, the same biological condition as Jim, and that she would need to be able to afford treatment abroad if she hoped to survive. In reality, this was a plan concocted by Jim and Hannah - in reality Jim's girlfriend - to extort thousands of pounds from his family to punish them for leaving him inside. Hannah also tried to anonymously extort money from Johnny upon discovering his affair with Liz, but with Kirk Sutherland's help Carla found out who the blackmailer was, allowing Johnny to inform Liz. When confronted, Hannah confessed but claimed that she had only committed the act out of revenge for how poorly Johnny had treated Liz.

Throughout their time committing the scheme, Jim had began to grow close to Liz once again and now felt guilty about taking money from her. When Jim confessed his feelings to Liz, she revealed that she felt the same, and the pair shared a kiss, witnessed by Hannah. Having obtained the money from Liz, Hannah set Jim up by purposely kissing him while knowing that Liz was in the bathroom. When Liz came out she was disgusted to see Jim kissing his 'daughter' - and was horrified to discover the truth. Jim was devastated and followed Liz to a graveyard - where she was visiting the real Katie's grave - in order to explain. Jim tried to defend his actions to Liz but she refused to listen and stated that she was going to contact the police and have him put back behind bars.

2018: Liz is left unconscious in her flat after being involved in a hit-and-run by a drunken Jenny

With nothing else to lose, Hannah spitefully exposed Johnny and Liz's affair to Jenny before leaving the area with Jim. Jenny seemed to take the news well, even letting Liz keep her job at the pub, but she later began to obsess over Liz by purposely damaging her phone and giving her another one onto which she had installed a tracking device, and also setting up an account for Liz on a dating app offering sex to numerous men. When Johnny was suspected of being the one tracking Liz, Jenny was forced to come clean. Her admission caused a huge row which led to Liz being fired. Later that night, Jenny drunkenly drove away from the street and accidentally ran Liz over as she prepared for her date with Mike Thornberry. Jenny stopped the car and looked out of her mirror but mistakenly believed that whoever she hit had been fine - as Liz had managed to stumble back into her flat - and carried on driving.

As she recovered, Liz informed police that she believed Johnny had been the driver of the car as he had paid her a threatening visit earlier that day. Police also discovered that Johnny's car had a massive dent in the side and took him in for questioning. Johnny confessed to the police that he had been driving that night, and had believed he had hit something during a dizzy spell but played on his medically diagnosed MS as the reason for this. However, when Jenny went round to ask Liz to drop the charges against Johnny, Liz realised that Jenny had actually been the driver and wasted no time in contacting the authorities. Johnny and Jenny were both arrested and charged.

By February 2019, Liz began to regret having pressed charges on Johnny and Jenny as she believed that the whole ordeal had been an accident. When Gemma Winter was told by solicitor Imran Habeeb that Liz's absence from the court trial could potentially lead to the case being thrown out of court, she informed Liz of her findings. With the help of her brother Paul Foreman, Gemma smuggled Liz away from the street - unseen by the police - and she went abroad pretending to have mixed up the dates of the court case. Jenny realised the truth however, and rang Liz to tell her that she was thankful for the risk she took.

In August 2020 Liz left Weatherfield to once again return to Spain.

Personality

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Relationships

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Hobbies and interests

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Background information

Introduction

Liz was introduced to the series in 1989 as part of the new McDonald family unit, consisting of Liz, her husband Jim McDonald and their 15-year-old twin sons Steve and Andy. Liz's actress Beverley Callard (credited then as Beverley Sowden) appeared prior in the series in May 1984 as June Dewhurst.

1998 exit, guest stints and 2004 comeback

After nine years on the show, Beverley left in 1998, with Liz's departure scenes airing in Episode 4507 on 13th November. She reprised the role for two guest stints, the first being on a three month basis from 6th October 2000 to 12th January 2001, during which Jim McDonald departed the series after Charles Lawson left the role.

The second was for eight episodes in November 2003 set in Blackpool in which Lawson reprised the role of Jim McDonald, and Julie Goodyear also returned in the role of Bet Lynch for the special set of episodes. Both Liz and Bet exited in Episode 5636 on 30th November, and although Beverley would later return the episode was notable for the final time Goodyear portrayed Bet in the show.

Three months following the Blackpool episodes, Beverley returned as a regular in February 2004.

2010 departure and 2013 comeback

It was announced that Liz was to leave in October 2010. Beverley commented on her departure "I've loved every minute of my second stint on the street - it's always a difficult decision to make the leap but I returned for the 40th, so leaving for the 50th feels like perfect timing. I'll miss everyone on the show but I'm looking forward to some new challenges and to see what life has to offer beyond Liz's famous mini skirts!". However some plans were changed when she had to suddenly take a break near the end of the year due to ill health (Beverley had taken a similar break the year before). Liz was omitted from the 50th Anniversary celebrations and most of her dialogue was given to Sean Tully (Antony Cotton). Liz returned in March 2011 and made her on-screen exit the following month on 14th April 2011. A tribute programme named Farewell Liz was aired and it was made clear that Beverley was open to a possible comeback some time in the future.

It was announced just over two years later in May 2013 that Beverley would be returning, with Liz's return scenes airing in October that year. Beverley commented "I am coming home and I can't wait. I am so excited to be back, I have missed Liz so it will be great to play her again. Hopefully her skirts will have got a little bit longer, but we will see!" Her return aired in Episode 8234 on 14th October 2013.

2020 off-screen departure

In 2019, it was reported that Callard would once again be leaving the show. She was expected to film her final scenes in July 2020, but complications with the COVID-19 pandemic which halted filming for three months and Callard having to undergo an operation meant she was unable to film her final scenes, and her contract expired. As a result her final appearance as Liz aired on 17th June 2020, with Liz's departure for Spain being mentioned in August 2020. Although it was reported that Callard would briefly return in 2021 to film a proper exit, she confirmed in February 2021 that she was done with the role and didn't intend to return again.

First and last lines

"No we haven't, they were closed or we would have made an appointment. Look, if it's not convenient...?" (First line, to Audrey Roberts)

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"Yeah, yeah." (Final line, to Carla Connor when Carla asks her to hold the fort at the Rovers)

Appendices

(To be completed)

List of addresses

Address Duration
11 Coronation Street 6th December 1989 to 31st May 1993
The Queens 31st May 1993 to 14th January 1994
11 Coronation Street 14th January 1994 to 14th August 1996
170 Park Street 14th August 1996 to January 1998
17a Victoria Street January 1998 to 17th July 1998
11 Coronation Street 17th July 1998 to 4th November 1998
17a Victoria Street 4th November 1998 to 13th November 1998
Milton Keynes 13th November 1998 to 23rd October 2000
11 Coronation Street 23rd October 2000 to 12th January 2001
Leicester 12th January 2001 to Unknown
Blackpool Unknown to 30th November 2003
Brighton 30th November 2003 to February 2004
12 Coronation Street February 2004 to 21st March 2004
Brighton 22nd March 2004 to 20th June 2004
Rovers Return Inn 20th June 2004 to 1st November 2004
12 Coronation Street 1st November 2004 to 14th November 2004
1 Coronation Street 14th November 2004 to 29th November 2004
15a Victoria Street 29th November 2004 to 5th October 2005
12 Coronation Street 5th November 2005 to 9th August 2006
Rovers Return Inn 9th August 2006 to 20th March 2009
Spain 20th March 2009 to 13th August 2009
Rovers Return Inn 13th August 2009 to 5th November 2010
Spain 5th November 2010 to 14th March 2011
Rovers Return Inn 14th March 2011 to 14th April 2011
Spain 14th April 2011 to 14th October 2013
Rovers Return Inn 14th October 2013 to 21st July 2017
15a Victoria Street 21st July 2017 to August 2020
Spain August 2020 onwards


Employment history

Role Institution Duration
Receptionist Rosamund Street Medical Centre 14th February 2018 to August 2020
Barmaid Rovers Return Inn 6th August 2018 to 25th December 2018

See also

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