Sol Heras as Ryan Connor (2012)
|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Ben Thompson (2006–10)
Sol Heras (2012–13)
|First appearance||30 August 2006|
|Last appearance||2 October 2013|
|Introduced by||Steve Frost (2006)
Phil Collinson (2012)
|Occupation||Student (until 2012)
Switch Operator (2012)
Kebab Shop Assistant(2012–13)
Ben Thompson as Ryan Connor (2009)
Ryan Connor is a fictional character from the British soap opera Coronation Street. He first appeared on screen during the episode broadcast on 30 August 2006. The character was initially portrayed by actor Ben Thompson from his introduction until 8 October 2010. Ryan was created by series producer Steve Frost as part of the Connor family. Thompson was axed in August 2010, but stated that he wanted to return to film scenes for the Christmas 2010 episodes.
In May 2012, it was confirmed that the character had been recast with actor Sol Heras taking over the role after Thompson had declined to return. Heras made his first appearance as Ryan on 18 July 2012. Ryan's storylines have involved finding out that Michelle Connor (Kym Marsh) is not his mother and being involved in a relationship with Sian Powers (Sacha Parkinson). In May 2012, it was reported that Ryan would be involved in a drug storyline with Sophie Webster (Brooke Vincent). Heras quit the show in July 2013 and Ryan departed on 2 October 2013.
Ryan arrives with mother Michelle Connor (Kym Marsh) and it is clear that the two of them have a very close relationship. Ryan is caught by Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden) vandalising The Kabin. Michelle makes him help in the newsagents every night after school for a week. For a time, Michelle dates affluent businessman Sonny Dhillon (Pal Aron). After they break up, Ryan goes joyriding in Sonny's car. He is caught by the police, though later released. When he returns to the Street, his uncle Paul (Sean Gallagher) smacks him across the face. The reason for this is later revealed to be that Paul caused the demise of Ryan's late father, Dean, due to careless driving. Several months later, Paul dies in a car accident after kidnapping Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson). Ryan is really upset after losing Paul and his father but he survives without them remembering that he still has Liam.
Ryan is stalked by a mysterious stranger who knows him by name. When tracked down, the man, Nick Neeson (Robert Horwell), explains that he believes Ryan to be his real son, and his own son Alex (Dario Coates) to be Michelle's after a baby mix-up at the hospital. A DNA test later confirms this to be the case. Ryan gets extremely jealous when his mother starts taking Alex out for the day and has a fight with him. They are both hit by a car but suffer minor injuries. Ryan opens up to Liam about how much Michelle is choosing Alex over him and then cries. Liam tells Steve (Simon Gregson), Michelle's boyfriend, who tells Michelle that Ryan is losing sleep over the fear of losing his only parent. Even though Michelle does not want to lose them both she still has to send Alex home because Ryan is the son that she has loved and raised since birth. She is also reassured by Steve that even though Alex is the son she had with Dean, Ryan is the son she raised with him and the son Dean knew before he died. After Alex moves out, Ryan moves back in. Ryan continues to see Nick on occasion but stops after his uncle's death. He realises that no one can compare to Dean. One time Ryan leaves his book behind, leaving his mother to chase after him starting to say he is just like his dad. Ryan becomes upset at the prospect of not inheriting anything from Dean but then Michelle reassures him that because they spent so much time together his traits have rubbed of on Ryan. Ryan then looks wistful as he started to realise how great Dean was.
Ryan attends Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien)'s stag party. Tony sends Ryan home as he is too young to go to a strip club and later that night Liam is killed in a hit-and-run. Ryan is later informed of the news by Michelle. Ryan became inconsolable and Michelle thinks it best that he doesn't see the body at the morgue as it will upset him even more. However, Ryan adamantly argues that he has to come in order to get closure so his mother reluctantly gives in. On the day of Liam's funeral Ryan tells Maria that he is trying to escape his grandfather Barry (Frank Grimes) because he is trying to bond with him like Liam and he is not in the mood, however, this all changes after the funeral. Ryan kisses Sian Powers (Sacha Parkinson) after one of his gigs and the pair enter into a relationship. Sian's father, Vinnie (Ian Dunn) arrives on the scene, threatening Ryan as he thinks that he has been sleeping with Sian, after finding condoms in her bag. It is revealed that Sian bought the condoms and she and Ryan have sex. Sophie, Michelle and Jake Harman (Kenny Doughy) catch them, causing an argument that results in Sian leaving and spoiling Michelle and Jake's night. After Sian's father finds out that Ryan and Sian have slept together, he sends Sian to Southport to live with her mother, leaving Ryan and Sophie devastated.
Sian comes back to Weatherfield and is reunited with Ryan and Sophie. Later Sian breaks up with Ryan, after suspecting that he is attracted to another girl. When Sophie finds Ryan sat on the pavement outside his house, she gives hime some advice on Sian. Ryan misinterprets the situation and kisses Sophie, causing her to walk off in disgust. Ryan later begs Sophie not to tell Sian about what he did and he later makes amends with her. However, Sophie tells Sian about the kiss in front of Ryan and Sian ends the relationship for good. After Sian goes back to Southport, Ryan bumps into Sophie in the street and tells Sophie he thinks they are getting back together after Sian phoned him. However, Ryan catches Sophie and Sian kissing at the builder's yard. Although he is initially disgusted that Sian is bisexual, he agrees to keep quiet about the relationship. Ryan tires of life in Manchester but stays on, as he feels that Michelle is dependent on him, until Ciaran McCarthy (Keith Duffy) convinces him that he needs to start the life he dreams of. After spending a number of days in Glasgow with Ciaran, Ryan decides to transfer to university there and leaves Weatherfield.
Ryan returns to Weatherfield and goes into Steve's house. He lights a cigarette and throws a match into the rubbish on his way out. When he heads back inside, he finds the curtains on fire. Steve walks in as he is trying to put out the fire and contacts Michelle, who collects Ryan and takes him home. Ryan initially lies, before confessing that he started it. Michelle gets him a packing job at the factory to help pay for the damage to Steve's house. While in the packing area, Ryan fakes a fall and injury to his back. Michelle and Rob Donovan (Marc Baylis) take Ryan to hospital and he states that he will sue Underworld. Rob tries to prove Ryan faked the fall by getting Eva Price (Catherine Tyldesley) to take him out to a bar. Michelle and Rob then walk in on Ryan performing the limbo. Michelle throws Ryan out and he goes to the Rovers, where he gets drunk. Steve brings him home and Ryan then confesses that he has been kicked out of university. Ryan begins working for Steve and Lloyd Mullaney (Craig Charles) at Street Cars. Ryan befriends Kylie Platt (Paula Lane), who is married to Ryan's friend David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd), and they go drinking together. While they are in the Rovers, Ryan offers Kylie some cocaine. She turns him down and he goes to take it in the toilets. However, Michelle finds him and has him arrested. Ryan is released with a caution. Ryan tries to scam Steve for money saying that he needs it to buy some new music equipment, when in fact it is just to buy more drugs. However his plan doesn't go according to plan when Steve buys an amplifier for him.
In early 2013, Ryan embarks on an affair with Katy Armstrong (Georgia May Foote). Ryan first becomes attracted to her when she begins working at the local kebab shop. Katy sabotages his date with Steph Britton (Tisha Merry). When Ryan confronts her about her meddling she defends her actions before kissing him. Things do not run smoothly in Ryan and Katy's relationship and it soon ends, when Ryan begins seeing a woman named Jamie-Lee (Kate Holderness) behind Katy's back. Ryan is later offered a job as a DJ in Ibiza and leaves Weatherfield, after bidding farewell to Michelle.
Creation and development
Thompson auditioned for the role of Cameron McIntyre in 2006, however the producers asked him to audition for the part of Ryan Connor instead. His audition was successful and he was given a six-month contract, along with the option to extend it for up to a year. Of his character, Thompson said "I can't say too much about Ryan and the storylines, but he's very mischievous. The character is not a bad lad, but he's not a good lad either." Speaking of the Connor family series editor Garth Philips said: "Coronation Street’s going to be firing on all cylinders this Autumn, and right up there in the mix will be the new Connor family. 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. 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." Thompson made his debut appearance as Ryan on 30 August 2006.
In August 2010, it was rumoured that Coronation Street producer Phil Collinson was considering axing a number of the younger cast including Ryan, Chesney Battersby-Brown (Sam Aston) and Gary Windass (Mikey North) because he feared that the show was becoming more like Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks. A Coronation Street spokeswoman confirmed Thompson's contract was not being renewed, but she added he might be paid episode-by-episode if needed. On screen Ryan chose to attend a Scottish university and he departed in October. The character's departure was confirmed but the producers denied that they had axed Ryan. An ITV spokesperson said: "Ryan hasn't been axed from the show and is still very much a part of Michelle Connor's life. There are plans to see him in future episodes when he returns from university for holidays. In October 2010, Thompson said of his departure: "It wasn’t my choice to leave Coronation Street," he said. "But a new producer came in and wanted to shake things up. I am one of the characters that sadly wasn't part of the plan. Ryan is being sent off to university and can come back, but I don’t know if that will happen for the foreseeable future. I am sad, because it has been the biggest part of my life for the past four years. It has given me the freedom to work on my music, though. Writing music is something I have always done, but I've never been able to focus on it before because I had to do Coronation Street. It's nice to be able to do something completely different to acting. Kym Marsh revealed that she was upset over Thompson's departure as they were both very close.
In March 2012, Simon Boyle of the Daily Mirror reported that Ryan would be returning to Coronation Street. Boyle said Ryan would return as "a very dark character" who has a "damaging impact" on the soap's younger residents. The character's return was not confirmed until 17 May 2012. Sol Heras took over the role from Thompson, after he chose not to return to the soap. A writer for itv.com stated that Ryan returns home unexpectedly after he is thrown out of university. Series producer Collinson said "Ryan returns carrying a dark secret and Michelle is going to have the fight of her life as she battles to get her troubled son back on the straight and narrow. Sol is a brilliant young actor and I'm so excited to welcome him to the cast." Asked about his audition Sol Heras said: "I thought initially that it would be quite a long, drawn-out process, but it all happened quite quickly! I had my first audition with the casting department, and then I heard later that I'd made it onto the longlist of actors that they were considering. After that, I made it onto the shortlist, which to me was an achievement in itself. I then had a screen test with Kym Marsh and Brooke Vincent. Six days later, my agent phoned me to tell me that I'd got the part - so that was one of the best phone calls I've ever had."
In October 2007, it was announced that an upcoming storyline would involve Michelle Connor (Kym Marsh) finding out that Ryan may not be her son. A show insider told the Daily Star: "Can there really be anything more traumatic for a parent to have to endure?" The storyline ended in early 2008 and was not mentioned since. Speaking of the storyline Ben Thompson said: "It's weird that for such a massive storyline it never came to anything, It's been one of those very weird ones in terms of that storyline. It's sort of been forgotten and I don't understand how and if they are going to follow it up."
In 2009, Ryan began a relationship with Sian Powers (Sacha Parkinson). Thompson filmed his first screen kiss with her. 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." 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.
In May 2012, it was rumoured that once Ryan would return he would now be a much darker character and would become involved in a drug storyline with Sophie Webster (Brooke Vincent). Kym Marsh who plays Michelle Connor confirmed the storyline in June 2012, Marsh said: "Ryan's been off doing his own thing, and has got heavily involved in drugs. Michelle expected him to come back as the same kid he was before he went away, but that's not going to happen." Asked how difficult this experience will be for Michelle, the actress replied: "Very hard. Michelle's got her work cut out trying to get Ryan back on the straight and narrow, but we'll see her get support from outside influences." Speaking of the storyline Sol Heras said: "It’s a very serious storyline but in the real world it does happen. As long as it’s done professionally and done well, it’s great. I think it’ll be good for young people to see the consequences that come from drugs. You’ll see that the drugs are the reason that Ryan is falling out with everyone and causing trouble. There’s a loneliness to Ryan because no-one really trusts him. It just shows that it’s a bad way to go." Speaking of being compared to Ben Thompson (who previously portrayed Ryan) he said: "Ryan is not the way he was before and he’s picked up bad habits, so that’s enabled me to come in and essentially be a fresh character, He’s changed so much that I didn’t have to stick to how the previous actor had played him, which really helps when you’re coming into a new show."
Upon his return, it was also announced that Ryan would embark on a relationship with an older woman.
On 21 July 2013, Ed Gleave and Susan Hill from the Daily Star reported that Heras had quit Coronation Street. The actor left at the end of his contract, while his character left later in the year. Ryan's exit storyline saw him decide to take a job as a DJ in Ibiza, after realising that there is nothing keeping him in Weatherfield. Steve suggests that Ryan should go to Ibiza and live his life. Steve knows that Michelle is worried about Ryan so he sees it as an opportunity solve their problems. Gregson told a reporter from TV Choice that his character was just offering Ryan advice. Steve's actions do not go according to plan when Michelle blames him for Ryan's departure.
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