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Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Ryan Russell interview: Michael's life is about to be turned upside down

With the arrival of Michael and Grace's baby girl, Ronnie is about to drop a bombshell which could have massive repercussions for Michael. Ryan Russell told us about how Michael feels about becoming a parent, and how his relationship with his family could change forever. 

Since his arrival, Uncle Ronnie has been a charismatic presence, and most of the family are loving having him around. "He's definitely the fun uncle in all this," said Ryan. "Everyone, especially Michael, just looks up to him and admires his success. I feel like [Michael] wants to emulate his success, his career, in a similar way of being the businessman with the money and his entrepreneurial skills. Michael definitely has a lot of love and time for Uncle Ronnie." 

Preparing for their gender reveal party, Grace suddenly went into labour, much earlier than they were expecting. Speaking about Michael's feelings about becoming a father, Ryan said: "He was so close to having that family unit which was snatched away from him, and I think now, he's super excited, but he's also quite scared to lose it again." 

Michael and Grace soon learn that their daughter, Gloria, has been taken ill, which is a huge concern for the new parents. "Everything is quite scary for [Michael] at the moment and he definitely wants to protect and be that dad for his child."

Despite their complicated history, Michael knows that he has to keep Grace close in order to give Gloria the best start in life. "With Grace, he just knows he has to be there regardless of what's happened in the past," said Ryan. "They definitely need to work together to co-parent and bring this child up. I think that's what's important then is to be there for is child, especially now while she's not well." 

Aggie Bailey has been looking out for her son ever since Grace came back into their lives, determined not to have Michael's heart broken again. However, Michael has had to battle Aggie in order to create a more peaceful environment in the Bailey household. "It's not easy going against Aggie- she's very strong in that sense!" Ryan said. "I think he pleaded with her and Aggie loves her son, so eventually she's come round. We'll see if she can kind of put the past aside with Grace at the same time." 

On top of caring for his daughter, Michael is stunned to learn that Ronnie might be his biological father. Ryan said: "The last thing he was expecting was to hear this, I mean, all his focus was on Gloria and making sure she was OK, so it's a lot to take in." 

It's not only Ronnie who Michael is furious with, but Aggie also. "Then comes hurt and betrayal towards Aggie, especially because being thirty years, and none of this has come to light until now at the worst moment when his daughters in hospital. I think it's just a case of terrible timing once again. It's a lot for him to take in and I think he has to process it in the right way."

As Michael struggles to come to terms with this news, he asserts that Grace and Gloria are his family now. "That's probably how he feels at that moment in time, just because the feelings are so raw." Michael is also quick to point out to Aggie that she has no right to treat Grace the way she does while hiding such a huge secret of her own. 

Michael is now faced with a big decision- does he want to know the truth behind his biological father? Ryan said: "It's that ignorance is bliss, but I think for Michael, this is huge, just like it was huge when he had to find out if Gloria was actually his after the Tianna bombshell, so I think he definitely needs to search for the truth, especially at this time where he's become a father himself. He'll want to kind of know for certain who his father is."

The Bailey family have well and truly settled onto the cobbles since their 2019 arrival, and Ryan says he's "loving it". "For my character personally, he's had scenes with so many characters on the street and he's been that character that's been here, there and everywhere, so it's nice for me personally as an actor to work with so many different actors in the cast. 

"I definitely feel as a family, we've put our unique stamp on the street. I definitely feel like I'm settling in more and settling more into the character. It's strange times at the moment, but we're making it work and I'm loving it."

Ryan also told us that he's enjoying the variety of Michael's storylines. "I think the last couple big storylines I've been involved in kind of made Michael a more 3D-rounded character with different emotions which I could play as an actor. It's important that I can kind of challenge myself and play the serious, really emotional, heavy-hitting scenes, as well as doing the wacky stuff and the funny comedy as well. I think for me, it's more exciting when I can do both and dip in and out."

At the beginning of the year, Iain Macleod revealed plans to explore systemic racism. Speaking about this storyline, Ryan said: "Coronation Street are known for that and telling stories and making people talk in their living rooms, that's what we do here. 

"It's part of life and if we can show something as serious as that within such a platform of Coronation Street and do it well with nuance, truth and honesty, I think it's important. Hopefully, fingers crossed we can get those conversations going." 

Sophie Williams

I'm on Twitter @soph_writer

All original work on Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License


C in Canada said...

I'm surprised that Michael wasn't pulled into Sean's 'glammy' makeup pyramid scheme too, given that he has such entrepreneurial spirit.

Defrost Indoors said...

He was, wasn't he? I thought they both signed up at the same time.


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