|Portrayed by||Kent Riley|
|First appearance||6 September 2004|
|Last appearance||6 August 2010|
|Created by||Jo Hallows|
|Introduced by||Jo Hallows (2004)
Bryan Kirkwood (2006)
Zak Abraham Timothy Ramsey is a fictional character from the long-running Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks, played by Kent Riley. Zak first appeared in 2004, when he was credited as 'Zak Barnes'. After only four months, Riley was dropped from the programme. The character received a revival 18 months later however when producer Bryan Kirkwood brought him back in 2006. Following the arrival of producer Paul Marquess in January 2010, the series underwent a major overhaul and as part of a large cast cull, it was announced that the character had been axed from the series for a second time.
Character creation and casting
The character of Zak was created as a new student along with Bella Manning, to move in the halls of residence at the HCC. He was originally billed as "footie-mad, a Scouser with attitude and more than an eye for the ladies!" After the character's initial stint he was brought back into the series and later relatives of the character were introduced. During the character's first stint he was credited as Zak Barnes. At the time he re-entered the series in 2006 his surname had been changed to Ramsey due to the arrival of the separate Barnes family during the intervening period.
Auditions were already underway for the part of Zak, when actor Kent Riley received a call from his agent, he auditioned for the role, later going onto to be cast as Zak. After leaving the series Riley received a call being asking him to rejoin the cast for a more permanent stint.
In early 2010 it was announced that Allan had stepped down from the position of executive producer, with Paul Marquess taking over the role. It was soon revealed that he planned revamp Hollyoaks, changing the productions team, then began a cast cull starting with the axing of three established characters. Stephanie Waring (who plays Cindy Hutchinson) then revealed that all remaining cast members feared their characters would be next to depart from the series. One month later the cast cull continued as Marquess announced his plans to axe a further 11 characters, including Zak at the end of Riley's contract. It was stated that the character will simply move on to pastures new at the end of his storyline-arc.
Zak is portrayed as a typical 'blokey' male character who likes football and parties, he also values his close friends and family. Channel 4 publicity describe him as a fun loving man who likes 'a good knees-up' with his good friends, they also explain how he looks after his sister's love life, as Zak is always shown on-screen being protective of his sister.
Zak has always been unlucky in his love life even though he often been described has having an eye for the female characters. He lusted after his close friend Zoe Carpenter for over a year, he then had a brief romance with Katy Fox that came to an end abruptly. He later found love with an unlikely partner, Michaela McQueen. Of this Riley has spoken out about his delight that his character finally having a girlfriend after four years in the series and the fact that with Michaela, plenty of trouble comes with her for their, then budding romance.
After being off camera for over a year, he returned in September 2006, the student flat now occupied by Jessica Harris (Jennifer Biddall), Joe Spencer, Olivia Johnson, and new arrivals Will Hackett, Zoë Carpenter (Zoe Lister), and Kris Fisher (Gerard McCarthy). Zak drank too much cheap vodka at the Loft and became sick. Ironically, this may have saved his life, since Kris, Zoë, Joe, and Olivia all went to the Dog in the Pond a few days later and were caught up in an explosion. Joe and Olivia were killed, and Zak moved into Olivia's room.
Zak had one night stands with both Zoë and Jess. After realising his feelings for Zoë, Zak tried his best to make things up to her, but this was soon ruined by flatmate Will who wanted Zoë to himself, and so set Zak up to look as though he had stolen from her. Zak soon began to distrust Will, and in April 2007, Zak and Zoë realised the extent of Will's madness. Zak then came to her rescue when Will took her hostage on the roof of the college. This resulted in Will being sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Zak then tried to kiss Zoë as he thought this was what she wanted, but she reacted badly because of Will and went home. When Zoë returned, Zak continued to pine for her, but soon realised she was falling for Darren Osborne. Zak had saved Darren from muggers and a guilt-ridden Darren initially stayed away from Zoë, but Zak pushed them together.
In February 2008, Zak got close to flatmate Katy Fox (Hannah Tointon), although she was dating his mate Justin Burton. After Zak and Katy had been playing around with a shopping trolley in the corridors, they shared a kiss. Later, while Zak was helping Katy to study she confessed that she was upset that Justin was spending so much attention on, what had just been revealed, his son Charlie. Later at the Loft, Zak and Katy shared another passionate kiss. They became lovers, and Katy continued to lean on him for a few months, until finally in April 2008, Justin walked in on them kissing. Katy left town, and Zak was once again left alone. On July 14, 2008, Zak failed his degree in Sports Science and now must stay at HCC for another year to finish the course.
In the later half of 2008 Zak drunkenly slept with Michaela McQueen who had been upset though both later regretted the incident and nothing happened for months afterwards. However, on New Years Eve 2008, they slept together again. Calvin Valentine then arrested Zak and Ash, for supposedly beating up Gaz however this was untrue. Michaela went to protested for Zak's release the two began a relationship in when Zak was cleared. Michaela and Zak have a fight which nearly results in them splitting up until they confess they love each other.
Zak's sister Hayley Ramsey (Kelly-Marie Stewart) arrives. She is in a wheel-chair due to Guillain–Barré syndrome. Hayley was in hospital for four months and Zak never went to see her. Zak told him it hurt to much for him to go and he would have done anything for him to get the virus and not her. He told her when he went home he kept hating going because she was always laughing and smiling when she was ill and he did not know what to say to her. They sort out their differences.
Michaela tries to enroll Zak in the Army. Zak and Hayley's brother Caleb arrives. Zak then pretends to be attending training, later revealing he lied. Zak graduates with first class honours and decided to carry on and do a master's degree the next day Caleb was sent to fight in Afghanistan. A year later Caleb dies in action and Zak becomes engaged to Michaela to cope with his grief. Zak has a one-night stand that splits up him and Michaela. He then finds out Caleb died because his friend Tariq Mistry was saving an Afghan boy. Zak beats up Tariq but gets back with Michaela. Racist Des Townsend uses Zak's grief to brainwash him against Calvin. Zak realises that Des is a racist and tries to stop him from planning to attack Ravi Roy. Zak saves Ravi after Des plants a smoke bomb in Ravi's burger bar, Relish. He makes an anonymous phone call to the police for an assault to save Ravi's sister Anita Roy when he thought that Des was planning to attack her in the woods, but he actually got Gaz Bennett to do it for him, which later led to Gaz's arrest.
Michaela finds out about Zak's role in Des's racist attacks and this was the final straw for the pair; causing them to split. Zak is then confronted by Tariq for his attack on him, but Zak apologises for what he has done and so Tariq agrees not to report him to the police as he could see he was grieving for Caleb at the time. Realising he has nothing in the village, Zak left for London with best friend Kris. Michaela soon joins him a few weeks later after she is sacked from her job. On September 5, 2011 Michaela returned and said that she and Zak had broke up and that she has been living in Ibiza for the last 6 months.
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