Coronation Street‘s Ali Neeson (James Burrows) is about to embark on what feels like his first storyline in a while as he begins a tentative romance with eternally single stylist Maria Connor (Samia Longchambon).
When the pair lock lips for the first time on Friday 19th July, following a few weeks of mild flirting, fans may speculate as to whether they’ll make a good couple – but that involves thinking about what kind of character Ali is, which frankly leaves us a bit stumped.
The grown-up version of Michelle Connor’s biological son was brought back as a regular in February 2018 and quickly thrown into some high-profile plots that suggested a dark, brooding presence on the cobbles… all of which have seemingly been forgotten. Don’t believe us?
He’s a killer
By far the biggest thing Corrie appears to have amnesia about is Ali being responsible for the death of gangster Ronan Trueman in October 2018. Targeted by the crime boss to avenge his son Cormac’s demise from a drug overdose which he blamed Ali and Ryan Connor for, Michelle and her boys went on the run to escape reprisals but a car chase ended with rat bag Ronan run off the road and impaled on a metal post. Knowing Ronan would kill them if he survived, red mist descended on Ali who gripped the fading villain’s hands and forced him to pull the post out knowing that would finish him off. Might he slip into conversation with Maria at their next date – in between chatting about music tastes and go-to boxsets– that he ended a man’s life?
He was addicted to prescription drugs
Initially the psychological impact of being a murderer felt like a long-running plot in the making as Ali spiralled into guilty despair, but after a few weeks of stealing prescription drugs from the medical centre to calm his nerves and picking fights with tattooed bikers so he felt punished for his aggressive actions, the whole thing was dropped. Michelle, Ryan and Robert all know what he did, but now nobody mentions it. Perhaps they’ll tip Maria off? Though she’s dated murderers before, remember Tony Gordon? She might not be fazed.
He was training to be a doctor
Ali returned to Weatherfield a decade after it emerged Michelle Connor’s son Ryan was accidentally swapped at birth back in 1992 and she had raised the wrong kid. Surly teenage goth Alex had no interest in pursuing a relationship with his biological mother at the time and was never heard of again, until he started as the new trainee GP at the medical centre in February 2018. Following the Ronan/meds stealing debacle, spiralling Ali was suspended from his job and started working at the bistro – but it’s not 100% clear if he’s abandoned his original career path altogether to wait tables. Training to be a doctor isn’t something you just forget, surely?
He hates his adoptive mum
Brought up by Wendy and Nick Neeson after that unfortunate infant-swapping incident, when Ali came back into Michelle’s life he said his adoptive family rejected him for being someone else’s son. But when Mrs Neeson later showed up it emerged secretive Ali wasn’t being totally honest and he was the one who’d turned his back on Wendy. Their complex relationship promised to shed light on Ali’s ‘missing years’ and motives but was never fully delved into, and now the parents who raised Ali might as well not exist.
He hated Ryan
Ali was a pent-up ball of moody rage when he first came back, and though we followed his and Michelle’s tricky journey into forming a mother/son bond his dynamic with sort-of brother Ryan suddenly went from pure hatred and resentment to Men Behaving Badly-style epic bants. Corrie teased a Cain and Abel-style trajectory for the warring fellas as they battled to be ‘Chelle’s number one son. Not much sign of that when they’re mucking around in the bistro as if they’re besties.
He slept with Carla
Yes, really. During her brief cougar phase where she also bedded callow youth Daniel Osbourne, Carla and Ali had a controversial fling that has since been forgotten, though there was a bit of continuity amnesia at the time as it was barely acknowledged they are actually related – Ali’s mum Michelle is Carla’s cousin, so both are Connors by blood. Eww. At least Maria’s not a biological Connor, but she is still family having been married to his dead uncle – is being attracted to girls he’s related to another character trait set to be set up and discarded?
He fancied Bethany
There was also a swiftly-brushed aside hint of romance with Bethany Platt, who he cheekily chatted up despite her being on a date with Ryan, leading to a brawl between the boys at the bistro. In fairness Ali was unravelling from his PTSD after killing Ronan at the time so wasn’t thinking straight. Had you forgotten already he’d killed someone?