Coronation Street star Charles Lawson says he wouldn’t have been happy returning to the soap if it was for just a few appearances.

The 54-year-old will reprise his role as Jim McDonald for around 30 episodes on the ITV show from August 8, for the first time in three years.

“He’s a very good character and well established. I wouldn’t have been satisfied coming back for just an episode,” he told the Daily Mirror. “If you’ve got a character like Jim, you might as well use him. He’s an ex-soldier and he’s respected in prison.”

Jim – the father of sons Steve (Simon Gregson) and Andy (Nicholas Cochrane) – was last seen in 2011 when he was jailed for seven years for trying to rob a bank for wife Liz (Beverley Callard). He’s still in prison where inmate Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) discovers his illegal alcohol trade.

“I don’t think he’s changed that much at all. He loves his wife and he misses his sons. He knows why he’s inside…He’s a man, warts and all, and I’m delighted to play him.”

But Charles admitted he doesn’t watch his screen appearances.

“When I finish whatever I’m doing, I like to go for a beer so I don’t have time to watch the soaps at all. But Debbie (Stanley, fiancee) watches and tells me if Jim gets a mention,” he said.