How hard has it been for Alya to see Ryan in this way?
Sair: It’s been incredibly difficult for Alya to see Ryan this way and the shock of the event has really hit her. She saw him earlier in the day, before the acid attack, and everything was fine and then so quickly, his life changed. A lot of the residents on Coronation Street have been through life-changing events but Ryan’s is one that is so physical and so painful and Alya has never seen or experienced something like this before. She is trying to be sensitive but she’s in shock, seeing someone she cares about so deeply in so much pain. It’s been really difficult for her and it’s been quite hard for her to hide her reaction.
How much has it meant to Ryan to have someone like Alya by his side?
Ryan: It has meant so much to Ryan. Ryan has an overwhelming fear that he will never be loved or be intimate with someone again so he reached out and tried to grasp at everything around him, one of those things being the relationship with Alya. He is in this whirlwind of emotions and the loneliness he is feeling is one of the things that pushed him to take his chance again with Alya.
Tell us about the moment that Ryan told Alya he loves her, what were Alya’s first thoughts?
Sair: Alya was quite taken aback because she wasn’t expecting it and all her focus has been on making him feel comfortable and just trying to put a smile on his face. There always has been such warmth between them but Alya realised quite quickly that it could be easy to misconstrue the way that things have been playing out between them. She thinks that, deep down, love is the last thing on Ryan’s mind.
When Ryan told Alya that he loved her, were his feelings true?
Ryan: Ryan does love Alya and he has always loved Alya. I don’t think that has changed and before the acid attack happened they had a little one night stand situation and even then Ryan said to Alya, “Would you consider getting back together?” Alya didn’t think it was a good idea and so he took that hit before and he already knows where he stands with Alya. But after the acid attack, he is on damage control and because he feels like no one will ever love him again, he is desperate to reach out to the first place that he feels love and that place is Alya. He tries to hold on to that as tight as he can and in doing so ends up pushing it away even further and reconfirming that it’s not going to happen like that.
Tell us how he felt when Alya told him that she just wants to be friends.
Ryan: Ryan was gutted. It’s the icing on the cake and when Alya shoots him down, even though it’s in a really nice way, it’s the reconfirmation of “No one is going to love me. No one is going to accept me.” Having someone to love is a huge driving factor in Ryan’s life and he now starts to think that he is never going to have that again. He is so vulnerable and so alone in this state.
Does Alya love him and just not believe that he loves her or does she genuinely only see him as a friend?
Sair: Alya has so much love for Ryan but it’s a very complicated love because they have spent so much time together. He has been there for her through her darkest moments, like everything that happened with Geoff, and he has brought out a fun side of Alya but he has also betrayed her in a very cruel way. Maybe that was more Daisy’s fault, when she was trying to be a bit tricky with him, but I don’t think that changes how much that hurt Alya. Alya is also struggling with a lot of her own feelings in the aftermath of her attack so
I don’t think she has the capacity to love in the way that she would want to love him and she isn’t open to receiving any kind of love at the moment herself.
Why does Alya suspect that he’s just scared of being on his own?
Sair: Before the acid attack happened, Alya saw a glimpse of happiness in Ryan’s eyes when he was talking about going to Ibiza and following his dreams. She saw that he wasn’t tied to the street and that there were adventures out there for him outside of their messy relationship and she was genuinely happy for him. Now after the acid attack, Ryan is completely vulnerable, his mum is not around and he doesn’t have that much family. Alya feels like she is one of the closest things to family that Ryan has on the street and he needs that support so much so Alya thinks that Ryan has confused that love and affection for romantic love. Alya realises that it’s not about her, it’s about his emotions and what he is going through.
Will this have a blow to Ryan’s recovery? He has previously told Carla that he couldn’t manage without Alya.
There is a combination of things that will impact Ryan’s mindset and recovery like not being able to hold on to Alya, reaching out to Crystal and depending on Daisy. These are all the women in his life and it stems from his mum not being on the scene. This is a huge factor for Ryan and one of the things that I have been playing with as an actor. Ryan needs female energy in his life, especially going through this emotional trauma. He needs his mum and so he clings on to these female figures in his life like Daisy, Crystal and Alya, to try and feel some sense of comfort. His mother has always been the one that has grounded him, even when he found out that she wasn’t his mother by blood relation. He still didn’t leave the street after that and he still didn’t try to find his actual family. Ryan likes to stay with the people he feels grounded with, and with his mum not here, you can see the panic in him when he tries to reach out to keep his other relationships safe and bring these people closer. When this has a polar opposite effect and things start dropping and people start moving further away from him, it pushes him into that overwhelming sense of, “No one is ever going to love me again.”
Is this the end for Ryan and Alya?
Sair: For now, it is the end for Ryan and Alya because as soon as Ryan tells Alya that he loves her, Alya has to put up a boundary to protect herself from getting hurt again and from hurting him by giving him mixed signals. She feels she has to protect any thread of friendship that they could possibly have by taking a step back from his healing and letting other people take the lead on it. This is hard and heartbreaking for Alya to come to terms with because she just wants to be there for him and she doesn’t know what Ryan’s response to her taking a step back is going to be. Alya also needs to do a lot of healing herself; she has pretended that she is completely fine after her attack but she is playing a good game and just pretending that she is okay. When Alya sees Ryan so vulnerable, it is quite triggering for her so she feels like she needs to create a bit of a distance between them out of love.
Ryan: I know that Ryan hopes that it isn’t and it would be lovely to see something pop up in the future. Ryan, being such a hopeful character anyway, has got such a massive spirit and he will keep a little bit of secret hope in his heart but regardless of any idea he holds close, I think he has got a clear answer from Alya so he is not going to try again anytime soon.
Coronation Street continues Wednesday at 8pm on ITV1 and catch up via ITVX