Robert Darren "Rob" Donovan is the younger brother of Carla Connor. He was sentenced to eight years in Strangeways after being involved as a getaway driver in an armed robbery incident to help his drug dealing mother. In 2011, he had contacted Carla after their mother had passed away.
He was released in July 2012 and tracked Carla down to her business Underworld on Coronation Street. Rob came across Carla's boyfriend Peter Barlow giving her a hard time, and stepped in and told Peter to stop having a go at his sister. Later on Carla met up with Rob in the Rovers to catch up, but the reunion didn't go well when Rob began to have a go at her for abandoning him and their mother and hardly keeping in contact. He went to stay with Carla's friend and ex-sister-in-law Michelle. Later on he got a job in the factory, although lost an order with a client while having a go at her when she complained about the prices, angering Carla. He later got the order when he won her round.
Rob took control of Underworld when Carla left Weatherfield with boyfriend Peter. Rob continued to run the factory with Michelle until Carla made a return to Weatherfield with Peter from Los Angeles in December that year. She decided she wanted to return to America to start afresh and planned on selling Underworld so put it on the market. Rob knew that he couldn't make the bid, so he amended the books so the broker gave them a low valuation. Carla later came back to Weatherfield, planning on staying for good and running the factory again, causing Rob and Michelle concern. When Carla discovered what he had done, she sacked him. Angry and feeling betrayed for the work he had put in, Rob set up his own business and began stealing Underworld's clients and contracts. Fed up with his tricks, Carla decided to give Rob his job back, however he wanted a share of the factory. She agreed to give him a 45% share of the business, much to Michelle's dismay.
In 2013 Rob began to date Tracy McDonald and gave her a job at Underworld in packing. Prior to their relationship he had also dated Eva Price and got her a job as a machinist, but was dumped after being caught cheating with another woman at a hotel.
In April, Carla had bought the rest of the shares of Barlow's Bookies from Peter's ex-wife Leanne Tilsley hoping to help him turn it round when he began having problems. She had approached Rob to help give advice, and he planned to update the bookies and install new screens and do it up in order to modernize it a bit and attract more customers. Peter wasn't happy to discover Rob working in the bookies and having done it up. Rob then took some delight in winding Peter up about it, as the bookies began to do better with the new set up. However Peter had began to plan getting his own back by being nice to Rob and playing it at his own game, and organized Rob on the rota to work the evening shifts.
Prior to his debut, Carla had mentioned time and time again about having a brother, and also gave this information in interviews related to Coronation Street. The brother was always referred to as "Darren", which caused confusion as to why he was called "Rob". According to an interview given to DigitalSpy by producer Phil Collinson, Darren is Rob's middle name. .