Everything seems to be clicking into place for Dr Ali but has he been hiding a dark secret? James Burrows hints at what dangers lie ahead...
Ali seems on the surface to have got his life together and is happy with Maria, does he have genuine feelings for her?
Yes, absolutely they have real feelings for each other and he is happy to take on Liam. Ali is a good man deep down, he's a loving and caring person and you can see this with the relationship.
The truth is that he looks as though his life is on an even keel but he is only showing this outwardly because he has been secretly taking drugs to cope. How did he get into this situation?
He has been struggling and fighting these demons in his head for a while now, ever since the Ronan thing happened and he finds it difficult to talk to anyone so he starts to self medicate. He is very independent and private, he internalises a lot. He doesn’t have a lot of people he can trust. The flashbacks are making him anxious and he needs to relax to try and get through every day, so he starts taking different tablets to try and cope with his demons and to be able to do his job. Before you know it, he realises that he has become addicted.
What happens when he goes on the night away this week with Maria?
Things are going well with him and Maria and he was seen as the hero this week when he rescued Hope from the fire, but Maria has no idea about the drugs so finds his behaviour quite strange and is a bit frustrated when he sleeps for the whole time they are away.
Why does she go to the hospital?
After he slept so much on their romantic trip, she is worried that he is working too hard and arrives at the hospital with a packed lunch for him to make sure he is eating properly. When he sees the police come and arrest the pharmacist, he is very panicked that he is going to be found out and then Maria comes in, she is doing a lovely thing but he snaps at her and they have a fall out.
Do you feel he has got a lot to lose now?
More than ever before, it’s not just his job, he has a good relationship and a potential for a great future and he is terrified that he is going to blow it.
How has he managed to hide this from everyone?
No one has noticed, because of his job he has been able to play that card of being tired because of his long shifts, and he has been able to get away with it up until now, but it has been going on for a while.
Is going to see Dr Gaddas a good idea?
It’s probably not one of his best moves. He tries to say that he needs diazepam as he is not sleeping because of work, but she has suspected him in the past so she does not believe him. She refuses and he storms out, she recognises his behaviour for what it is, he has definitely not gone to the right person if he thinks he can pull the wool over her eyes.
He resorts to drastic measures trying to steal Carla’s medication and asking Ryan to help him, what happens there?
It’s a last resort for him. He tries to take them, but Roy gets in the way - this is how desperate he has got. If Roy hadn’t got in the way he would have stolen Carla’s medication, so he asks Ryan, he opens up to him a bit and says he needs him to go and score some drugs for him. He knows that Ryan knows the right sort of people and could help him.
How does he come to collapse and be found by Ryan?
Ali is in withdrawal and probably has been for a few days. He is found having a seizure on the floor by Ryan which is really scary and a flashback for Ryan to the time Cormac died.
What was it like filming those scenes?
It was very intense, you really want to go for it, if you are doing something like that you want to do it well, you know that some people watching it will have been through it themselves or witnessed a loved one going through it. It was very physical because you have to be very stiff but shaking, I was banging my head on the floor. Your body thinks it is actually happening, however much your brain knows it is acting the physicality is powerful. It does make you heart race.
Do you like playing these dark troubled souls?
I do enjoy that, I always enjoy playing those roles. It was great when I first came into Corrie and got to play the nice doctor, but it is great to get these gritty more hard hitting scenes.
What is Ali and Ryan’s relationship like now?
It is a love - hate relationship, it always has been, they have both helped each other out and have become quite close deep down. They annoy the hell out of each other, they are like real brothers. It is such a complex relationship, but now Ryan knows about this, he almost has one over on him.
What about Ali and Robert, how does Robert get involved?
Ryan contacts Robert and gets him involved because Ali sends the paramedics away and Ryan can’t deal with this situation on his own. Ali knows that he has to go cold turkey, Robert and Ryan decide that the only way is for them to help him. He needs their help, he has no other choice at this stage. He has always had a nice relationship with Robert so he feels he can trust him.