‘Coronation Street’: Why Jacob Hay is soapland’s next great anti-hero

·4 min read
FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before Tuesday 16th February 2021

Coronation Street - Ep 10256

Monday 22nd February 2021 - 2nd Ep

Jacob [JACK JAMES RYAN] provides Simon Barlow [ALEX BAIN] with the latest phone and explains itÕs a perk of the job. When Jacob suggests Simon should sample the drugs himself, SimonÕs unsure.

Picture contact David.crook@itv.com 

This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on  www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/terms
Jacob originally joined Coronation Street as a bad boy (ITV)

We all know that the soap world loves a reformed character — and Coronation Street’s Jacob Hay (Jack James Ryan) certainly fits the bill.

In tonight’s instalment of the ITV soap, Jacob’s storyline reached a major turning point as he came to the rescue of injured teen Max Turner (Paddy Bever).

Viewers will remember that Jacob originally joined Corrie last year, and at the time he definitely fell under the ‘villain’ category.

Working at Dev Alahan’s (Jimmi Harkishin) chip shop as a delivery boy, he used the job as a front to deliver drugs, recruiting a vulnerable Simon in the process.

FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before 0700hrs Tuesday 15th February 2022

Coronation Street - Ep 10571

Wednesday 23rd February 2022 - 2nd Ep

A loved up Amy Barlow [ELLE MULVANEY] and Jacob [JACK JAMES RYAN] share a kiss and agree to carry on seeing each other in secret. 

Picture contact - David.crook@itv.com

Photographer - Danielle Baguley

This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on  www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/terms
After escaping from his dodgy lifestyle, Jacob found romance with Amy (ITV)

Fresh from the pain of losing young son Oliver to a terminal illness, Simon’s grief-stricken mum Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) stepped in to take on the man behind the whole operation, drug lord Harvey Gaskell (Will Mellor), who was eventually sent to prison for his crimes.

Read more: Coronation Street: Simon publicly shames Jacob

Jacob had been full of bravado as he did Harvey’s bidding, and he even taunted Leanne over her loss. So when the young man returned to Weatherfield a few months on, it was hardly surprising that his plans to make amends were swiftly dismissed.

FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before Tuesday 19th April 2022

Coronation Street - Ep 1062425

Wednesday 27th April 2022

Simon Barlow [ALEX BAIN] calls at the factory and publicly shames Jacob [JACK JAMES RYAN] for his violent, drug dealing past.  Jacob’s deeply humiliated whilst Carla Barlow [ALISON KING] masks her unease. 

Picture contact - David.crook@itv.com

Photographer - Danielle Baguley

This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on  www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/terms
Simon was furious when Jacob found work at the factory (ITV)

Yet he persevered, and embarked on an unlikely romance with Simon’s cousin Amy Barlow (Elle Mulvaney). She was about the only person willing to give Jacob a second chance, with his status as public enemy number one still very much active.

Gradually, it became clear to viewers that Jacob genuinely had changed his ways. But it wasn’t until this week that the character was given his moment in the spotlight. And it all started when Carla Barlow (Alison King) offered him a trial working at the factory, much to the fury of her relatives.

Knowing that his new colleagues were judging him, Jacob struggled to fit in - especially when Simon shamed him in front of everyone. Eventually, Jacob made a rousing speech about grabbing hold of this opportunity to better himself.

FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO - No Use Before Wednesday Tuesday 4th January 2022

Coronation Street - Ep 1053637

Friday 14th January 2022

As Summer Spellman [HARRIET BIBBY] and Amy Barlow [ELLE MULVANEY] head out of the hospital after SummerÕs diabetes appointment, Jacob [JACK_JAMES RYAN] approaches with his arm in a sling. Jacob assures them that he no longer has anything to do with the drugs gang.

Picture contact - David.crook@itv.com

This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on  www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/terms
When an injured Jacob first reappeared in Weatherfield, he failed to convince everyone he had changed (ITV)

Lovable Kirk Sutherland’s (Andrew Whyment) response was to help himself to one of the sweet treats Jacob had brought in — the ultimate nod of approval.

By the time Friday arrived, though, Simon was still full of hatred for his former friend. Jacob noticed he was being watched, and used a packet of biscuits to fool Simon into thinking he was conducting a dodgy drug deal.

Read more: Next week on Coronation Street

It was at this point that they spotted Max, who was losing a lot of blood. Jacob took control of the situation while they waited for an ambulance, and Simon watched on in awe. Later, Jacob revealed that a pal of his had been stabbed to death while they were working for Harvey, prompting him to take a first aid course.

FROM ITV

STRICT EMBARGO -  No Use Before 0700hrs Tuesday 8th March 2022

Coronation Street - Ep 1059091

Friday 18th March 2022

Amy Barlow [ELLE MULVANEY] arranges lunch in the bistro with Steve McDonald [SIMON GREGSON] and Tracy McDonald [KATE FORD] but when she arrives with Jacob [JACK JAMES RYAN] in tow, their jaws hit the floor. Tracy threatens to leave but Steve points out that Amy’s 18 and whether they like it or not, she’ll see who she wants. 

Picture contact - David.crook@itv.com

Photographer - Danielle Baguley

This photograph is (C) ITV Plc and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with the programme or event mentioned above, or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can be reproduced once only up until the transmission [TX] date and no reproduction fee will be charged. Any subsequent usage may incur a fee. This photograph must not be manipulated [excluding basic cropping] in a manner which alters the visual appearance of the person photographed deemed detrimental or inappropriate by ITV plc Picture Desk. This photograph must not be syndicated to any other company, publication or website, or permanently archived, without the express written permission of ITV Picture Desk. Full Terms and conditions are available on  www.itv.com/presscentre/itvpictures/terms
Jacob has been putting a lot of effort in with the locals (ITV)

Jacob opened up about being drawn into the gang, explaining that Leanne and Simon’s decision to bring Harvey down had saved him. Simon soon began to understand Jacob in a way he couldn’t manage before.

For weeks, Amy has been telling her loved ones that Jacob was as much a victim as Simon, as he too had been targeted by Harvey. But hearing this from Jacob’s perspective was a crucial move from Corrie; introducing us to his vulnerable side which now gives him the potential to evolve.

Read more: Coronation Street's William Roache has no plans to retire

The key to creating a popular anti-hero is to delve into a character’s backstory, explaining how and why they became who they are. The show is now following this formula, alongside captivating writing and powerful performances from actor Jack James Ryan.

Jacob is complicated and complex, but characters like him are exactly what soaps like Coronation Street thrive on, especially when they have a heart of gold underneath their less conventional qualities.

With Jacob ticking all these boxes, there’s no doubt that he will soon be a firm favourite with fans — that’s if he isn’t already.

Watch the latest Coronation Street spoilers

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