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'Coronation Street' Sol Heras teases Ryan Connor return - interview

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Sol Heras as Ryan Connor in Coronation Street

© ITV

Coronation Street welcomes Ryan Connor back to the cobbles next week with new actor Sol Heras playing the part.

Ryan returns to Weatherfield after being kicked out of university, though he initially claims that he's merely home for the summer.

As Ryan settles back in, it soon becomes clear that he has fallen in with the wrong crowd during his time away - as he is sporting a new bad boy attitude and hiding a worrying drug habit…

Digital Spy recently caught up with Sol to hear all the gossip on Ryan's return.

How are you finding your time at Coronation Street so far?
"It's been fantastic so far. I have to pinch myself every day, because I'm working on a show that I've watched all my life, so it really is the opportunity of a lifetime. I'm learning so much, because the filming process is so quick and there's so much to do all the time, so I think I'm benefiting as an actor from working with the established cast who do the job perfectly."

What was the audition process like?
"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!"

Who was the first person you told the news to?
"The first person I told was my mum. She's a huge Corrie fan, so she was just as excited as me about it!"

Who have you made friends with on set?
"I've been really fortunate to spend time with quite a few of the cast, because my character is all over the place and causing havoc everywhere!

"I've spent a lot of time with Kym Marsh and we get on really, really well - I couldn't ask for anyone better to do a lot of scenes with. I've also been fortunate to have Marc Baylis - who plays Rob - join at the same time as me, so we're both in the same boat. We share a dressing room as well, which is helpful."

How do you feel about playing a character that has been recast?
"I think it's always different when you come into a role that's been played by someone else, because it's maybe on your mind that the audience are going to compare you to him. But I'm also really fortunate because Ryan has been away at university and he's come back as a completely different person mentally.

"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."

Sol Heras (Ryan Connor)

© ITV



What has Ryan been up to since we last saw him?
"Ryan went to university initially to find his feet, because he didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. While he was there, he mixed with the wrong people and picked up some bad habits, as some people occasionally do at university. He's got himself involved in drugs now and he's become quite an arrogant person."

Why does Ryan try to kiss Sophie?
"I think that just sums his character up! He's come back and he's fully aware that Sophie is a lesbian, but he doesn't see that as an issue. He thinks, 'I'm a Jack the lad, all the women will love me and it'll be fine'. He gets turned down by Sophie, but that doesn't affect him and he just laughs it off."

Ryan is also at the centre of a fire drama during his first episode back, isn't he?
"He is - he has a cigarette at Number 13, decides to flick the match out anywhere and it just happens to land in a big bag of rubbish which sets on fire and nearly burns the house down. It was an intense scene to film, as it was a real fire and the full crew were there to control it. But again, it doesn't really affect Ryan and he doesn't seem bothered about it all!"

Were you pleased to get such a dramatic entrance?
"I can honestly say that I couldn't have wished for a better way to come in. In my first two weeks of filming, I was in a complete headspin all the time. I was in the majority of scenes and it was great for me to learn the ropes that way rather than picking it up gradually. I had to learn it immediately, and looking back now, that was the best way to come in, I think."

How does Michelle feel about Ryan's return?
"Before he went to university, Ryan was so close with Michelle. They were like best friends and spent a lot of time together. I think she's missed him not being there, so she's so happy to have him back and wants to rebuild the relationship they had before."

A drunk Ryan picks a fight with Rob

© ITV



What kind of a relationship can we expect between Ryan and Rob?
"To begin with, there's a lot of tension. Rob's the one guy who sees through Ryan - he thinks that Ryan is pulling the wool over everyone's eyes. Rob makes a point of letting Ryan know that he knows what's going on, but Ryan is so arrogant now that it doesn't really bother him.

"Ryan is more than happy to stand up against Rob, even though Rob is older than him. There's literally nothing that's going to stand in Ryan's way at the moment - he just does what he wants, when he wants!"

How does Ryan feel when Steve tries to give him advice?
"I personally really like the relationship that Ryan and Steve are striking up. He's a bit more open and truthful with Steve. Steve talks to Ryan not just as a guardian but as a friend, trying to find out what's going on in his head. Ryan gradually opens up to this and is willing to talk to him. You'll then see that behind the façade of being a badass, there's still a heart to Ryan."

When it comes to the drugs issue, how do you feel about tackling such a hard-hitting storyline?
"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."

Will Ryan be a bad influence on Sophie? Or will she be a good influence on him?
"I think Ryan is trying to be a bad influence on Sophie, but she's quite strong as she's reluctant to listen to him or follow what he says. It's nice for Ryan to have someone his own age to hang around with who is sensible, so I think she will be a great influence on Ryan."

Who were you most star-struck to see on set?
"I was star-struck just in the screen test when I was working with Kym Marsh and Brooke Vincent. Then when I started work and saw Bill Roache, that was my biggest moment. I didn't know whether to say hello to him or not, but he's such a great guy. He knew who I was already and was really nice to me."

How is Coronation Street comparing to your previous work?
"I've never really had a busy soap schedule before. I did Hollyoaks Later, but that was five one-off episodes and they had a lot more time to spend on each individual scene. Coming into this, I expected it to be the same, but it's so much quicker. You have to be on your game all the time, but I'm really enjoying it!"

> 'Coronation Street' recasts Ryan Connor
> Read the latest 'Coronation Street' spoilers and news

Coronation Street airs Ryan's return on Wednesday, July 18 at 7.30pm on ITV1. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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