Has Dr Ali left Coronation Street for good? James Burrows reveals Hollywood ambitions

"I want to play the Joker!" says the actor after two years on the cobbles

coronation street ali neeson

Dr Ali Neeson’s final scenes have aired on Coronation Street, but actor James Burrows has already moved on to new projects and plans to take the plunge to pursue work across the pond.


“I came into acting to play different roles and explore a variety of characters, so the time has come for me to move on,” says the star, who took over the part of Michelle Connor’s estranged biological son who was reintroduced in 2018, a decade after the character was last seen.

We first met Ali as teenager Alex, when ‘Chelle learnt her son Ryan was swapped at birth and she’d been raising the wrong kid.

Burrows has signed up to appear in British movie Twisting My Melon Man, the biopic of Happy Mondays’ frontman Shaun Ryder, starring Jack O’Connell in the lead, and has shared his career dreams now he’s no longer contracted to Corrie.

“I think the goal is to get out to LA next year for pilot season. You’ve just got to go for it, haven’t you? I want to play the Joker – I want to scare people!”

coronation street ali neeson ryan connor

Ali’s exit on Friday 13th March was motivated by his admission love rival Gary Windass had got the better of him, and Maria Connor was never going to be his. Unable to prove Gary had spiked his drink to make it look as if he’d taken an overdose, and after arrested for a punch-up with his enemy, the deflated doctor decided there was nothing left for him in Weatherfield and bid farewell.

“Gary forced Ali to behave in such a way that he has driven Maria back into Gary’s arms, and there’s no way Ali can stick around and watch the two of them together. Ali is a good man, but he’s caused problems for those he cares about. The only way forward that he can see now is to move away.

“I’ve had a fantastic few years on Corrie,” he continues. “Ali is such a flawed character and so much has happened to him.

“At the heart of it he was a good guy who wanted to settle down and have a family, but his upbringing and history meant he had a lot of issues. He has been great to play.”

But is he gone for good? Time will tell…


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