Ben Thompson (actor)

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Ben Thompson
Born (1992-06-01) 1 June 1992 (age 22)
Radcliffe, England
Occupation Character actor
Years active 2002–2010
Television Coronation Street (2006–2010)

Ben Thompson (born 1 June 1992[1]) is an English actor best known for his role as Ryan Connor in the British soap opera Coronation Street. Brought up in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, Thompson made his screen debut when he appeared in the 2002 film Re-Inventing Eddie. Shortly before turning 13, he appeared in the 2004 CBBC children's comedy programme Stupid!.

Thompson rose to further prominence when he was cast as teenager Ryan Connor in Coronation Street in 2006. As part of the longstanding series, he has been involved in storylines that have dealt with varying topics, including family life, death and coming of age. In addition to his career as an actor, Thompson is also an amateur musician. He is a member of the Rusholme Ruffians, an indie group who are largely influenced by established Manchester bands.

Youth and early career[edit]

Ben Thompson was brought up in Radcliffe, a town within the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, in Greater Manchester, England. He trained in acting from the age of eight at the Carol Godby Theatre Workshop in Bury. For five years, Thompson was educated at nearby Radcliffe Riverside High School.[2][3][4][5] He later reflected that he enjoyed his time at school, interacted well with his teachers and "never went into one lesson where there wasn't [something] interesting to do".[5]

In 2002, Thompson starred alongside John Lynch, Geraldine Somerville, Lauren Cook and John Thomson in the Jim Doyle-directed film Re-Inventing Eddie. The movie is about a man named Eddie (Lynch), who is hounded by social services and branded a paedophile after an innocent bathtime game with his children is taken out of context.[6][7] About two years later and shortly before entering teenagehood, Thompson successfully auditioned to feature in the BBC children's comedy programme Stupid!. Out of around 400 hopeful youngsters, he was one of only a few to be selected to appear in the show. Prior to Stupid!'s launch on the CBBC channel in 2004, Thompson commented, "When I first started going to auditions I was quite nervous but now I just get on with it. I go to quite a few and it gets easier."[8]

Coronation Street[edit]

Thompson auditioned in 2006 for the role of Cameron McIntyre in the long-standing British soap opera Coronation Street. The part would have had him be on-screen friends with Chesney Brown, played by Sam Aston, who Thompson already knew from the Carol Godby Theatre Workshop. Producers for Coronation Street, however, were so impressed by Thompson that they asked him to audition for a different role. His try-out was successful and he was given a six-month contract, along with the option to extend it for up to a year. He was cast as Ryan Connor, a boy who moves to Weatherfield—the fictional Greater Manchester setting of Coronation Street—with his mother, Michelle (played by actress and former Hear'Say band member Kym Marsh), and her brothers, Liam (Rob James-Collier) and Paul (Sean Gallagher).[2][9] The Bolton News reported that Thompson would spend between one and two days in front of the camera, and that he would be given an on-set tutor to help complete his school work.[2]

On his first day of filming, in July 2006, Thompson—who grew up watching Coronation Street—was starstruck. "[It] was the strangest day of my life because I was in a room with all these famous people." He added: "It was completely different to how I imagined it would be. Everyone's been really nice to me and it's going well."[2][10] Prior to the airing of the Connor family's arrival on the famous cobblestone street in August 2006, Thompson commented, "I can't say too much about Ryan and the story lines, but he's very mischievous. The character is not a bad lad, but he's not a good lad either."[2] Garth Philips, series producer, said at the time, "We held extensive casting sessions to get this family right, and the energy that Sean, Rob, Kym and Ben have will certainly make them a joy to watch on screen." He continued, "They're a twenty-first century Coronation Street family, and we hope our viewers will be as enthralled and excited by them as we are."[11]

Within his first year on Coronation Street, Thompson had acted out scenes that involved his character stealing a car, graffiting the wall of the local newsagents, and discovering that his mother's fiancée was having a gay affair with her male best friend.[4] Still impressed with Thompson's acting ability, producers of the series had his contract extended to 2009.[4] Reflecting on his first year in the soap, Thompson said: "It's been a really strange year and a lot of things have happened. It's been absolutely brilliant. The filming is everything that I could have wanted it to be. It's fantastic and I enjoy it more than anything." He added: "My favourite story lines so far have been doing the graffiti and stealing the car. I really enjoyed filming those two."[4]

In 2009, opposite Sacha Parkinson, who plays Sian Powers, Thompson filmed his first screen kiss. He said of the experience, "It was bizarre because Sacha had done one before and I hadn't. I knew the line I had to say and then kiss her. I knew it every time, and every time I said it I was shaking." He continued, "Oh it was dreadful. I mean I don't get nervous when I go on stage or anything like that, but it was just bizarre. It was one of those things that I got really nervous about."[12] The on-screen romance was part of a controversial New Year's Eve storyline which featured the two characters attempting to see in 2010 by losing their virginities, only to be discovered by Ryan's adoptive mother Michelle.[10][13] In May 2012, it was confirmed that Ryan would be recast and played by Sol Heras, because Thompson chose not to return.[14]

Private life and interests[edit]

Thompson has a keen interest in music and has played the guitar for several years. He often takes the instrument to work with him, as a means of occupying himself during takes. The actor is part of a group: the Rusholme Ruffians, formed by himself and two of his fellow schoolmates while they were still at Radcliffe Riverside High.[15] The Rusholme Ruffians have performed at venues throughout the UK and the band's set list includes their own material, as well as songs by home-town influences such as Morrissey, The Smiths, Oasis, James and The Stone Roses.[4][16] Thompson has expressed an interest in getting into the music industry later in life.[4] He attended Holy Cross College in Bury, which he left after a year due to filming commitments.

Ben studied at SSR (School of Sound Recording) in Manchester and went on to work at Blueprint Studios in Salford.

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Film Role Notes
2002 Re-inventing Eddie Billy Harris
Television
Year Title Role Notes
2004–06 Stupid! Various
2005 10:96: Training Night Lee
2006 The Girls Who Came to Stay Footballer
Coronation Street Ryan Connor 2006–2010

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ryan Connor (Ben Thompson)". ITV. Archived from the original on 11 April 2010. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Meet Ben, the new kid on Coronation Street!". The Bolton News. 3 August 2006. Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  3. ^ "Ben Thompson's Dark Knight dream". Western Daily Press. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Clarke, Gaynor (3 August 2007). "Ben lives the dream". The Bury Times. Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "Pupils mourn Riverside!". radclifferiverside.com. Retrieved 12 April 2010. 
  6. ^ "Re-Inventing Eddie". Film4. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  7. ^ Russell, Jamie (4 May 2004). "Re-Inventing Eddie (2004)". BBC. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  8. ^ "CBBC beckons for Ben". The Bolton News. 16 September 2004. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  9. ^ "Connor Nation Street". Daily Record. 28 July 2006. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  10. ^ a b "Ben Thompson can't believe his luck". Western Daily Press. 1 May 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  11. ^ Green, Kris (29 July 2006). "The Connors descend on 'Coronation Street'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  12. ^ "Ryan Connor set for Corrie showdown". Metro. 24 March 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  13. ^ Littlejohn, Georgina (30 December 2009). "Caught in the act". The Daily Mail. UK. Archived from the original on 14 April 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2010. 
  14. ^ http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/s3/coronation-street/news/a382225/coronation-street-recasts-ryan-connor.html
  15. ^ "The Ruffians on song for NSPCC". The Bury Times. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  16. ^ "Coronation Street star to play in Southport pub". Formby Times. 16 September 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 

External links[edit]