Can you tell us where Ryan’s head’s at since returning from Ireland?
I think this point is where we see the start of the extent of his denial, really. It’s probably the best way to put it. It starts the journey of what he believes is his kind of restoration, his time where he’s getting back on his feet and becoming more confident, and starting to believe in himself more and come to terms with his facial scarring. When he comes back from Ireland he’s fully seated in that position of denial. He’s already convinced himself that he’s getting back on his feet and this newfound interest in fitness is going to bring him out of his shell and give him the confidence he needs. It gives him something to focus on and takes his mind off all the pain he’s been through and the fact he looks so different.
Do you think he’s thought about the risks involved with the steroids?
I think that’s the last thing he’s thinking about. As soon as he gets that feeling of acceptance or glorification, whether that’s through admiration or someone praising his aesthetic for his body, he’s just latching onto it. Similarly to how he latches onto every relationship he’s had. He’s grasping onto something that makes him feel good just to distract himself from reality and the more he distracts himself the more he falls into denial or delusion.
This week Ryan lashes out at Carla when she accidentally uploads a photo of his body online. Can you talk us through what happens?
It’s the anniversary of Johnny’s death so they’re invited to The Rovers to raise a glass and talk about Johnny. Ryan gives his phone to Carla so she can take a picture, because it’s a better phone, something like that. She ends up using his phone to take some pictures of them all together but she sends an extra photo to the cloud which Ryan has taken, in his bedroom with his shirt off. Once Ryan comes back from the toilet people are already discussing it and Ryan realises what’s happened. His natural reaction is to get out of there because of humiliation. All his angst and annoyance is directed at Carla.
Even though he’s getting likes and positive comments, he believes he’s being laughed at. What’s going through his head when he’s reacting like this?
It’s that place of fragility between delusion and confidence or make-believe confidence. Once you come to a place where you can’t accept yourself, it’s a very strange road to find your way back to self-care and self-worth and I think that is the road Ryan’s on. Having too much attention from the people that live around him but that he can’t get away from is a nightmare for him. That’s what sparks his outrage and that’s what sparks his humiliation. In real life, he doesn’t want to be this showy guy. It’s cringeworthy.
After this we see Ryan set up this new social media account, tell us a bit about this?
He sets up a fitness page online with pictures of milkshakes, healthy things and trying to project this fitness lifestyle, which obviously comes with a good physique. He gets a lot of compliments and followers. It’s easy for him to be anonymous, so he can get all this adoration without people knowing it’s him. So as long as he has that level of distance, and that element of secrecy from his neighbours or his family, then it’s a much safer thing to pursue.
We also see Ryan apologise to Daisy this week in The Rovers. Have things changed between them since he’s returned from Ireland or is there still tension there?
I think there’s always going to be tension between them. After you’ve been through something so traumatic with someone you are kind of bonded for life in this weird way that they can only be explained through being in that circumstance with someone – and the care that she’s shown. They’ve got really close over the past few months in particular and they do have a history of being together. And although he does hold a lot of resentment for what she’s done, and the catfishing, and even kind of blames her for the demise of his relationship with Alya, he holds these resentments inside himself because of who she is and what she shared with him. I think Ryan is trying to convince himself that he doesn’t need Daisy, but deep down – I wouldn’t say he’s fallen in love with her – but it’s the next best thing. He’s the first person to fight against that because of his predisposition. So it’s a very complicated relationship. I think there’s a lot more that can happen between them and there is more to happen. At this stage, Ryan comes back from Ireland wanting to project a mentality that he doesn’t need Daisy. Having that two weeks space from that he’s able to come back and put her at a distance. It’s all about his pride at this point.
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm on ITV1