Interview: James Burrows

It's the end of the road for Dr Ali but will Gary get the last laugh? James Burrows hints at what's to come...

What happens this week to create more problems for Ali with Gary?

Ali has no problem with winding up Gary and would have loved nothing better to have told him that he had slept with Maria when it first happened, but he loves Maria and had taken the decision not to cause more problems for her. Now he has been used by Adam as a pawn in his own vendetta against Gary and once he’s got him to accidentally admit that he slept with Maria it is only a matter of time before Adam uses it to get at Gary. 

Has he got any idea what Gary is planning? 

Ryan has tried his best to put Gary off the scent but he is looking for blood! Ryan tells Ali he has saved his bacon and Ali doesn’t think that Gary knows so he has no real reason to worry.

What happens at the surgery?

He is giving Craig a wellness check up when Ali feels very faint and collapses. Dr Gaddas goes to help him but because Toyah knows about his past she feels she has to mention that he might have taken drugs. He has to be taken to hospital and it really isn’t looking good for him.

Ryan, Ali and Maria at the hospital - Coronation Street - ITV

What does Ryan think has happened?

Ryan is furious with Maria. He thinks her behaviour playing the two men off against each other has pushed Ali back onto the drugs. When Ali insists to Ryan that he hasn’t taken anything Ryan just doesn't believe him.

What does Ali think has happened and can he prove it?

Ali is convinced that someone has spiked his drink and he is certain that Gary is behind it all and he tells Ryan that he is going to prove it.

What makes him take Maria hostage?

He just wants to get through to her and get the truth. Even if he can’t be with her he doesn't want her to be with Gary, he is one of the few people who really knows that Gary is a wrong ‘un and he really needs her to realise. He is sitting in the car and she sees him and gets in, when she starts asking him about taking the drugs it flips him over the edge and he locks her in the car. He starts driving really fast and she is terrified. He tells her that Gary has set him up but his behaviour is so erratic it has the opposite effect, there is no way she is going to believe someone acting in such a crazy fashion.

What makes him decide to leave Weatherfield?

I think it is the realisation that Gary has won. He has forced Ali to behave in such a way that he has pretty much forced Maria back into Gary’s arms and there is no way he can stick around and watch the two of them together. He is a good man and he knows that he has caused problems for too many people, including Maria and Toyah, two women who wanted to help him. The only way forward is for him to move away.

Have you enjoy playing Ali?

I’ve had a fantastic few years on Coronation street, Ali is such a flawed character and so much has happened to him. To play such a complex character with so many flaws has been great. At the heart of it, though he was a good guy, he wanted to settle down and have a family but his upbringing and family history really meant that he had a lot of issues.

As an actor that sort of character is great to play and I got to work with some amazing actors. But I came into acting to play different roles and explore a variety of characters so the time has come for me to move on.