(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2018, reposted to this blog with permission.)
Michelle Connor's real, biological son Alex Neeson is returning to Coronation Street. Now then, before you get confused (I know I am!), yes, Michelle had a son called Ryan Connor. Ryan was the baby she brought up thinking he was her own biological son but she later found out there'd been a swap in the hospital and he wasn't hers after all.
Her real son Alex later turned up - and now he's returning to Corrie, calling himself Ali this time round. Here's an interview with actor James Burrows who will be joining the cast as Ali.
How did the part of Ali come about for you?
It started with a call from my agent, then a meeting at Coronation Street where I read the script and a few weeks later I got a call back to say well done we’d like to see you for a screen test. So I came back to the street for a screen test and luckily a few weeks after that I got a call to say I’d got the part.
How did you feel when you found out you’d got the part, did you have a good feeling after the screen test?
Very good yes and I was very excited when I got the call, I’ve never done a soap before so that side of things is very new to me but I was really excited about the character and where I can take him.
The last time we saw Ali he and Michelle had made the decision that their mother/son relationship couldn’t be rebuilt, so what brings Ali back to the street?
He’s a trainee doctor and he comes to Weatherfield on placement at the medical practice but from the outset he makes it clear it wasn’t his choice to be there.
We instantly see that Ali isn’t keen to establish a relationship with Michelle, despite her being his birth mother, why is that?
I think he’s a bit troubled, his mum hasn’t been there for him recently and he’s very standoffish with Michelle. He gives the impression that Wendy (the mum who brought him up) has turned away from him since the baby swap was uncovered but maybe he’s telling a few porkie pies. It seems he’s been very distant from both Wendy and Michelle and now he’s arrived in Weatherfield on a medical placement and it happens to be where his biological mother lives. He makes it clear he doesn’t want to be in Weatherfield, well that’s what he’s saying anyway!
Is Ali very career focussed?
I think so yes, he’s a very intelligent lad, he’s been to medical school, but I also think he has a slight laddie side to him as well, he’s not a geek, there’s a lot more interesting angles to him than him just being a doctor. He’s quite cool, the way he dresses etc.
Ali arrives without a girlfriend, does he have his sights set on anyone?
I think he might have his eye on someone, there’s definitely someone on the street who interests him.
Ali’s a very interesting character, is all as it seems with him?
I think he’s a little bit of a mystery, I’m still working him out myself. He’s very different to the characters I’ve usually played, I’ve never played a doctor before so it’s been really interesting getting my head around that. I normally play a bad boy; the murderer or drug dealer.
He sounds like quite a complex character, are you looking forward to getting your teeth into the character?
Yes I’m really looking forward to finding out more about him and seeing his character unravel. I started filming just before Christmas so it’s all starting to unfold a bit for me now, it’s getting interesting and I’m really looking forward to playing it out. The thing with soap is you don’t always know where your character is going, it’s not like a drama where you have a beginning, a middle and an end and you know how to play it, it’s very different and that’s going to be interesting.
How have you found your first few weeks filming on Corrie, is it different to anything you’ve done before?
It’s very different to working on a film set or the dramas I’ve done in the past, it’s very fast paced, when you come in you’ve really go to be on it.
Have you been given a warm welcome?
Everyone has been lovely, I’ve been welcomed with open arms which has been really nice. It’s a really great environment to work in.
What other jobs have you worked on recently before starting on Corrie?
Last year I was doing a drama called Love, Lies & Records written by Kay Mellor, I also played a character in Stephen Merchant’s new film called Fighting with My Family.
Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter