So, in the build up to this week we’ve seen him for a few weeks on steroids. And he’s starting to get increasingly stressed and angry. Is he aware of these mood swings and how his behaviour is changing?

I think less so in the beginning. It’s not just a typical situation where the steroids and the overabundance of testosterone in his system is making mood swings violently. It’s also the trauma that’s occurred before that’s still there. There’s elements of PTSD from the acid attack and I think everything’s kind of playing into that sense of denial about taking steroids being a problem. The more the more he becomes aware of his anger, the more fragile his denial becomes. So he’s kind of he’s aware of it but he’s blindly moving forward regardless.

It’s almost as though is losing his confidence again, going out as his confidence online is growing. Would you say that is right?

Definitely and it’s also the demand of more followers and more content and needing to go home and be in his bedroom in order to shoot, the more that demand goes up, the less time he actually has to commit to working on those social elements of his life that he should be working on. Instead, he’s getting so hyper focused into the thing that he needs to do that he’s getting lost in the screen as well. You see everywhere today, especially with the younger generation, everyone’s getting their dopamine fix from ‘likes’. Obviously he’s making a bit of money here and there. So when he’s getting financial satisfaction as well, it is another justification for him. Even though it mainly is about upholding his persona and giving his ego that kind of satisfaction and instant gratification. In some ways, it’s a distraction from facing the reality of his life moving forward and, and a distraction from having to go out and interact and be a different Ryan out and about.

What does he want from his life?

I think at this point, he can’t see a reality moving forward. He can’t see what that is and I think that’s the problem. That’s why he’s allowed himself to get so lost in the fitness and so lost in the gratification of strangers’ comments, because he can’t define who he is supposed to be within his community or himself within his family or society in general. He can’t really see that for himself anymore. That kind of leads into this point that he can’t see who he is anymore. So he’s trying to find it. I think he’s trying to find it within the likes and comments of strangers. It also allows him to have that separation from what he’s doing, as long as the people around him aren’t seeing it. One thing that’s always stuck with me is he’s trying to find a new truth for himself.

Is he aware he is putting his health at risk, what happens when he goes for a run and he suffers heart palpitations?

He’s coming back from the run. He starts to feel strange and he can’t slow his breathing down. And then his head goes, he falls to the ground. That’s when Gary sees him and pulls him to one side and sits him down on the bench. It is a mixture of too much caffeine and the steroids as he has also been drinking energy drinks. That’s what he blames it on with Gary, he tells him it is the energy drinks. But it’s definitely the chemicals in his body becoming overwhelming. Steroids don’t necessarily make you pass out or anything like that. They can do a lot of things to your hormones and when you’ve got a hormonal imbalance, there’s different things that can happen with your blood sugar, and stuff like that. So if he’s killing the caffeine, and he’s not really having much carbs because he’s trying to lose weight so we can look more ripped on camera. So again, there’s all these little factors that contribute into little incidents like this. He’s determined to find that place and find that gratification.

It’s sad, isn’t it? What he’s gone through and where it’s and where it’s brought him.

Yeah, I mean, to be honest, I’m really happy with that from an acting point of view. It has put a different spin on his recovery post the acid attack. Ryan’s kind of got that personality in which he’s gonna try and drive himself forward. Because he is quite an exuberant character. He does have a lot of drive, and all that drive that will usually go into his cheeky Chappie lifestyle or chasing the next thing or the next quick, rich, get rich quick thing or whatever opportunity that comes up. He’s now got that same drive to even trying to kind of rebrand himself.

Did you do any research about steroid use and the effects it can have?

I actually grew up in and out of gyms, in local gyms with people that I’ve known for quite a long time. And I was aware of some people taking steroids to get the results they want, it was very much the culture and still is in some places. So there’s little elements that would help me anyway from that knowledge and I’ve gone deeper and had a little research. There’s so many different steroids nowadays. So many different things it’s crazy. I’ve known loads and loads of guys in gyms to take steroids regularly. I’ve never experienced anything like that myself but I can see why Ryan has gone down that route.

In this week we see him take the leap from fitness influencer to having his own more x rated account – why does he go down that route?

You see him have this dialogue with a girl he knows who talks to him about how to keep your followers engaged and keep growing a following and to make more money. You have to go above and beyond these typical fitness shots and start with more sexual images, incentive pictures and the more people that come into that world hooked by those pictures the more broader your audience becomes, and with the broadening of your audience, they ask for different things. They asked for more intimate things and he found that very quickly that he was losing followers and losing subscribers from not doing more. So that kind of pushed him more and more into doing more risky pics and to be honest, within one week of posting incentive pictures, he was having a one on one live session. They start asking for videos, which was kind of a way outside of his comfort zone. But there’s probably a week in between sending pictures and him doing a one on one live, interactive session. He is very quickly swallowed up by it and as the money starts coming in he is hooked.

How does Ryan feel about Daisy and Daniel moving in together? Is that another thing that sort of pushes him to continue with the O-Vidz account?

To be honest he’s completely heartbroken. He doesn’t have Daisy any more, Peter and Carla don’t really want him living with them after his behaviour recently, his mom’s not there. His mom obviously doesn’t come to visit him or anything like that. His relationship with Alya has kind of fizzled out to nothing much at all so there’s very few people in his life that he actually has a relationship with. He’s just so isolated. He spends a lot of time by himself, a lot of time on his phone and on the computer and a lot of time avoiding social situations. I think the more and more he gets into his denial stage of delusion. The more he’s feeling that loneliness, so he’s still trying to reach out and hold on to those relationships that he has. With Daisy he is very, very aware that he knows that she’s engaged. That it’s probably never going to happen for him and Daisy, but hearing about Daisy and Daniel moving in together and having each other is hard for him. When you’ve experienced such a traumatic event with someone it binds you to each other, there is an unspoken bond and it is confusing his feelings.

Do you enjoy playing him because he’s such a complex character?

Obviously Ryan was an existing character when I came in, years ago, but since then, there’s been so many little bits of scripts and areas that have been written that have allowed this three dimensional capacity for Ryan to become a person, real person. We have these moments, and these little nuances to show the reality of a well rounded human being, it’s great to kind of play on those a little bit more.

Yes, he’s a cheeky Chappie, he’s an opportunist, and he can be all those things, but he can still be completely insecure. He can be completely in denial about who he is. I wanted to show a little bit more. I suppose it is a little bit more naivete, and a little bit more innocence in Ryan.

Would you be his friend?

I mean, it’s a weird one because he’s very similar to myself in a lot of ways soI ’d like to think I’d be friends with him. But I’m a bit older and I’ve not done the things he has done, or had the things happen to me that he has had to go through. Ryan P would probably sit down with Ryan C and just say listen, mate, you’ve got all the right ideas you just turn them in the wrong direction. Find someone that you care about and and go for it.

Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm on ITV1

By Eastieoaks

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