James Burrows on Ali’s hatred for Ryan Connor: ‘Ali thinks he’s an absolute idiot’

Ali, who is Michelle’s biological son, hates Ryan

Ryan Connor is back on the cobbles next week after five years in Ibiza, but GP Ali Neeson is hardly hanging out the bunting. Ali, who is Michelle’s biological son, takes an instant dislike to the party-loving DJ, and feels threatened by his and Michelle’s bond – though Ryan isn’t biologically related to Michelle, he was raised by the former Rover’s landlady and the pair have always been close.

Actor James Burrows, who plays Ali, talks about the gargantuan grudge match coming our way, and why he’d love his mild mannered character to “kick Ryan’s head in”…

How does Ali feel when Ryan pitches up?

“There’s a bit of shock at first, and a lot of anger. Michelle’s taking Ali to a job interview, and she gets a call from Ryan, saying he needs picking up from the airport because he’s drunk. So Ryan mucks things up for him, and from day dot, Ali has this anger towards him and there’s a lot of conflict between them.”

Back in town: Ryan wants to plan Robert’s stag do

So does he think Ryan is a bit of an immature idiot?

“You took the words right out of mouth! Ali is a lot more mature. He’s been to med school, he’s a doctor and he’s a lot more sensible than Ryan. He thinks Ryan is just an absolute idiot. Michelle says at one point ‘Your brother…’ and Ali’s like ‘He’s not my brother!’ He feels very strong about that.”

Have they got anything in common?

“No, not at all. They’re just different people and anything that Ryan does just annoys Ali, and vice versa. I can’t see them becoming best friends any time soon. I think there’s going to be that clash there for a while – if not forever.”

Michelle with her son Ali Friday 16th Feb

Ali with Michelle

Is he jealous of Ryan and Michelle’s bond?

“There’s definitely some jealousy there. Ali wants to make a go of his and Michelle’s relationship, – we know now that that’s why he’s back in Weatherfield. They’ve just started to form a bond, and Ryan’s return chucks a spanner in the works. During everything that has gone on with the Connors, Ali has been there. Then up rocks Ryan, and he causes problems from the minute he arrives, but no-one seems to be annoyed with him. And Ryan’s quite evil. Some of the eye contact he gives Ali; he’s quite cruel really. He enjoys winding Ali up; he’s buzzing off it.”

He and Ryan both attend Robert’s stag night – is there trouble between them then?

“It’s quite subtle; none of them are going to ruin anything. It’s fancy dress and Ali comes dressed as Noel Gallagher, while Ryan comes as Liam Gallagher. It’s not planned, and Ali’s like ‘What the hell are you doing?’ So there’s a bit of conflict there, but it’s quite comical, and playing on the beef between the Gallagher brothers.”

There’s clearly going to be drama for this pair – what stories would you like to see?

“I’d like Ali to kick Ryan’s head in! It would be nice to see another side to him. Moira at the surgery said ‘You’re a dark horse’, and I think he is. Some of the glares he gives Ryan; you can tell there’s something bubbling under the surface. I think one day he might lash out and we’ll see another side to him. I’d like a screen fight. Everyone would put their money on Ryan, but it’s always the quiet ones you have to watch out for!”

How do you get on with Ryan Prescott, who plays Ryan?

“I hate him! No, not really. Ryan’s a great lad and gets on with everyone. He’s going to do alright. We go to the same gym and train a little bit together. We met briefly at my audition – he auditioned for Ali before he got the part of Ryan. Work is quite full on at the moment but hopefully there’ll be time for us to hang out.”

Main pic: ITV/REX/Shutterstock

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