We were all holding back tears as Jacob Hay left Coronation Street on Friday (January 13) night, but actor Jack James Ryan has revealed the real reason he chose to leave the show.
Jacob first appeared on our screens in February 2021, when he was working as a drugs courier for his uncle Harvey Gaskell (Will Mellor). He recruited Simon Barlow (Alex Bain) into the gang, causing chaos for Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson).
However, he soon became a reformed character and settled down with Amy Barlow (Elle Mulvaney), where things seemed to be going well. Until dad Damon (Ciaran Griffiths) appeared, that is.
Evil Damon chased Jacob away from the cobbles, threatening him with death if he didn’t leave. Thanks to those threats, we lost Jacob Hay seemingly for good.
Jack James Ryan, who played Jacob, has revealed exactly why he made the ‘hard decision’ to leave the ITV soap.
‘It was a really hard decision because I love the character so much. But I was coming up to that two-year mark on the show, and the conversations upstairs were very much about what I call the ‘fixtures and fittings’, like, “He’s going to move into this place…”.
‘We were looking at the long-haul of what this character was going to do and who he was going to be on the street, which of course was incredibly humbling. Those types of conversations were just amazing, but also, I’m still young and there’s so much stuff that I want to go and do.
‘I also felt like I’d come and done what I intended to do. We talk about the Corrie bingo card, where you tick off things that you’ve done.
‘I mean, I’ve come in, I’ve played the villain, he’s had his redemption arc, he punched Steve McDonald, he went to prison, he even moved into number one Coronation Street with Ken Barlow, so you can’t get much better than that!
‘I mean, apart from a wedding and the tram crash, I feel like he’s done it all in two years! So, it just felt like the right time to leave the show.’
This won’t be the last we see of Jack though, as he is already teasing what is next on the cards for him, though he is very limited on the information he can share.
‘I have booked a job. I’m really, really excited for it. I start filming next month and I’ll be filming for the next four months on that. So, yeah, I’m really excited! I can’t say anything more but as soon as I can, I can’t wait to reveal what I’m doing.’
While he is looking forward to the future, there are certain things, and people, he will miss about working on Coronation Street.
‘I grew up on this show. My mum didn’t miss an episode, so in turn neither did I. I watched and invested in this street and with these characters for years and I think that it was such a proud moment, coming from Manchester and getting to walk on the cobbles.
‘Even just logistically, the studios are fifteen minutes from my house. As an actor, you’re up and down the country staying in hotels, living out of a suitcase. Getting to just be in the place that you love surrounded by your family and your friends, that’s been really amazing for me. To kind of have a bit of a normal life for a bit has been good.
‘I’ve made some friends for life. Jane Hazelgrove and Sue Devaney acted like mums to me, really looked after me. The incredibly talented Ali King and Jane Danson, who I learnt so much from.
‘Of course, the in-laws, Simon Gregson and Kate Ford, who are soap legends for a reason. They’re just note perfect every scene and are two of the nicest people.
‘Then of course Alex Bain who I started this whole journey with, who treated me like a brother from day one.
‘Lastly, I have to mention James Craven, Harriet Bibby and Elle Mulvaney, who have been my absolute rocks. Just the dream team and the best friends I could have asked for.’
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