The Baileys’ older son Michael will be seen on Coronation Street for the first time tonight, with the smooth talking newcomer setting his sights on Michelle Connor as he makes his presence felt in Weatherfield. Described as a mixture of Steve McDonald, Del Boy and Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and a Funeral, Michael’s charm offensive doesn’t always go to plan, but actor Ryan Russell believes his own luck is most definitely in. “It’s truly a blessing and a privilege to join the show,” says the latest Corrie star.
How does Ryan Russell describe his character Michael?
“He has his head in the clouds. He’s a dreamer. He wants to be successful, but doesn’t necessarily know what at. He’s had his fingers in a lot of pies in the past – now, he’s after some sort of get-rich-quick scheme. He studied business at uni, so he does have a flair for it. He had a successful T-shirt business that went under, so he now wants to find a new idea.”
Where have you seen the actor before?
Prior to joining Coronation Street, Russell was a presenter on CBeebies House, so might well be a familiar face to parents of pre-school children. Asked whether he was hoping that mums and dads who’d caught him on CBeebies would now watch him on Corrie, Russell replied:
“That would be great. Michael is a fun, light-hearted character so I hope they will like what they see. It is not too far from the character on CBeebies – I’m not coming in as a villain. Hopefully they can adjust to the fact that I am not talking to the camera!”
Why did the actor attract controversy?
Back in April, the 27-year-old hit the headlines after historical sexist tweets resurfaced. Russell put out a statement apologising for the language he’d used: “First and foremost, I want to take ownership for my behaviour and apologise for some of the language that I’ve previously used on social media.
“I knew some of the words I’d used as a younger man hadn’t been appropriate, therefore some time ago I took action and deleted any tweets that I felt used language that didn’t reflect my values, outlook or principles.
“Unfortunately, these historical tweets have resurfaced. I pride myself on being a respectful person who believes in equal rights for all, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, religion, class and sexuality.
“I’m embarrassed by some of my previous social media posts but hope to be able to use my platform to educate, inspire and engage others. As with anything in life, I believe that it’s about self-reflection, education and growth.
“I’m truly sorry and believe that the tweets are not an accurate representation of the person that I am, or aspire to be.”
What did Coronation Street do about the tweets?
Coronation Street accepted the apology made by Russell, with a spokesperson for the show going on to state: “Ryan Russell has apologised for the social media posts recently brought to ITV’s attention, which he admits he posted between 2011 and 2013 when at university.
“The tweets in question are no longer in the public domain and were deleted by Ryan in 2013 shortly after they had been published because he realised they were offensive and regretted he had posted in this way. He has spoken with producers and given them assurances about his conduct, values and behaviour.”