Malcolm Reid and wife Joyce were neighbours of a young Audrey Potter in Richmond Road, Weatherfield, in the 1950s. The Reids and Potters were sufficiently close that when Audrey had an illegitimate son, Stephen, Malcolm and Joyce's offer to adopt him was taken up by Audrey's father, as it was felt that they could take better care of him. The family emigrated to Toronto, Canada in 1960, with a tearful Audrey waving them off as they set sail from Liverpool.
Malcolm built a good life for his wife and son; by 1988 he owned three shops and had enough money behind him to consider selling up and taking early retirement. In January of that year, Stephen was involved in a serious car crash. Malcolm - now a widower - contacted Audrey and advised her to come over to Canada immediately for possibly her last chance to see her son. Audrey did so, much to the bewilderment of Alf Roberts and Gail Tilsley who until then had no idea of Stephen's existence. Audrey spent the next three months living in Malcolm's house in Canada, looking after Stephen as he recovered from his ordeal but also getting close to Malcolm, swept away by his grand lifestyle. Malcolm planned to ask Audrey to stay in Canada and live with him but she abruptly left the country and returned to the UK soon after Stephen got back on his feet.
Three months later, Malcolm flew out to the UK to “look up relatives”, staying at 11 Coronation Street. While Malcolm did pay visits to Liverpool and Heswall to see his relatives - his first visit in 25 years - the true reason for coming over was to find out where he stood with Audrey, and to see what her marriage was like. Audrey was thrilled to see Malcolm and greeted him with a hug when he landed at Manchester Airport, but for Alf, Malcolm was a reminder of an unhappy three months in which he nearly had a nervous breakdown, and to rub salt in the wounds he'd seen photos of the three of them having a good time at Niagara Falls during Audrey's last week in Canada, Malcolm with his arm around Audrey. Alf trusted his wife and so allowed Malcolm to stay in his house, but made no effort to be friendly to him, and refused Audrey time off at the Corner Shop, limiting their time together. Malcolm came away with a low opinion of Alf - a miserable man who treated his wife like a hired hand - and tried to make Audrey see that he was wrong for her, but Audrey dismissed the idea, noting that Malcolm wasn't seeing the full picture.
Before returning to Canada, Malcolm offered to book tickets for the Roberts on the Street outing to Blackpool. Alf turned the invitation down as he had set aside that day to do stocktaking at the shop, but changed his mind when Audrey decided to go with Malcolm instead. Beaten to the last ticket by Arnold Swift, Alf decided to drive to Blackpool and surprise them. Finally alone with Audrey for an entire day, Malcolm came clean to her about his true reason for being in the UK, and urged her to leave Alf and make a fresh start with him in Canada. Audrey made it clear to him that she would never leave Alf as she loved him, and Malcolm backed down. Unfortunately, they were spotted together in a pony carriage by Alf, who confronted them on the coach and threatened to knock Malcolm's head off. Audrey went off with Alf and they drove home together, while Malcolm stayed with the coach. Back in Coronation Street, Alf threw Malcolm's things in the street when he came to collect them and slammed the door of No.11 in his face. Malcolm then returned to Canada.
Another complication of Malcolm coming to stay was that, because of Audrey keeping Stephen's existence secret to everyone other than Alf, Gail and Brian, the family had to pretend that Malcolm was Audrey's brother-in-law. Suspecting that Malcolm was Audrey's secret lover, Ivy Brennan went to see him when he was alone at No.11, and found out the truth when Malcolm talked about it openly with her, assuming she already knew as she was Brian's mother.
In 1991, while separated from Alf, Audrey contacted Stephen asking for Malcolm to get in touch with her, hoping that his offer of a life with him was still open. To her dismay, Malcolm was due to get married the following month to a woman called Ruth.
- In Episode 2829 (9th May 1988), before Shane Rimmer was cast in the role, Audrey and Alf are shown looking at photographs taken in Canada, depicting Audrey with Malcolm and Stephen. An unknown actor of African descent played Malcolm in the photos (right). Malcolm was Rimmer's second big guest role in Coronation Street, after the maniacal GI Joe Donelli.