Inside Corrie Jacob stars life – real age, Emmerdale swipe and co-star sister

Coronation Street star Jack James Ryan is best known for playing the role of controversial character Jacob Hay in the ITV soap.

Bursting onto our screens last February, it's around one year since we were first introduced to dodgy Jacob, who was recruited by drug lord Harvey Gaskell (Will Mellor) who used food deliveries to supply drugs.

The troubled teen ended up roping in Simon Barlow (Alex Bain) to help deliver the goods, and then got him trapped in the dangerous drugs world – which resulted in many devastating consequences.

But the reformed character has learned his lesson, or so he says, and has returned to the cobbles as a sensible young man, who has his sights set on Amy Barlow (Elle Mulvaney).

Jacob will be seen building a relationship with Amy in upcoming scenes.

However, things take a turn for the worst in upcoming scenes as the schoolgirl is rushed to hospital after her drink is spiked on a night out.

The incident leads her parents Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) and Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford) to think Jacob is involved.

As Jacob takes centre takes this week, Daily Star we're taking a look inside Jack James Ryan's life away from the cobbled streets of Corrie.

Co-star sister

With acting clearly running in his family's blood, Jack's big sister has had a successful career.

Rebecca Ryan played Debbie Gallagher in the Channel 4 comedy-drama Shameless from 2004 to 2009, and started doing so at just 11 years of age.

From 2009 to 2011 she played pupil Vicki MacDonald in BBC One's Waterloo Road, and then went on to play hospital porter Gemma Dean in the BBC medical drama Casualty from 2017 to 2019.

But December 2021 saw the brunette bombshell join the cast of Coronation Street, making the cobbles a family affair for the Ryan family.

Playing the role of Lydia Chambers, her character is causing quite a few problems for married couple Adam and Sarah Barlow.

When his sister landed the role on the cobbles, Jack spoke in a press conference where he said: "It's honestly just beyond words.

"I was just so buzzing to find out she'd be joining the cast. Honestly, she [was] my biggest inspiration growing up.

"I've wanted to be an actor since I can remember and a big factor of that was because since the age of 11 my sister has been on TV every week from Shameless to Waterloo Road to Casualty and now to this.

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"It's just incredible and I'm incredibly biased but I think she's a stunning actor and I think she's going to make, in fact I know she's going to make a great addition to the cast."

Taking to Instagram to write about the joyous news, he said: "When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I’d say “an actor on TV like my big sister”. You’ve been my biggest inspiration and I’ll never be able to articulate just how proud I am to be your little bro.

"They say never work with family but on this occasion I’d like to strongly disagree. Can’t wait for Lydia to hit our screens in December so make sure to keep an eye out to see what she gets up to!"

Emmerdale swipe

You might recognise Jack from other TV programmes like Casualty and Emmerdale.

In 2019 he played a character called Tyler in an episode of Emmerdale, and that same year he played Matt Davies in an episode of Casualty.

In a press conference, the cheeky chappy took a subtle swipe at soap opera Emmerdale as he spoke about his big sister joining the cast of Corrie.

"She's so used to being on set she didn't need that much advice from me," he said.

"i just told her to enjoy herself. One of the best things about Corrie is everyone is so nice, so welcoming. I knew she'd just settle right in.

"Beyond that, I told her where the canteen was and the toilets and she was good to go.

"By the way, Corrie's canteen is top tier – it's amazing, I'm always there.

"It's better than others. Way better than Emmerdale's but don't tell them that."

Real age

In Coronation Street Jack plays Jacob Hay who is currently in a relationship with Amy Barlow, which means he's likely to be in his late teens, but in real life he's almost 24 years of age.

Taking to Instagram last year on his 23rd birthday on April 1, Jack penned a caption which read: "READ IT AND WEEP. Happy F***ing Birthday To Me."

In the snap he posted he could be seen wearing a blue hoodie with a white tee underneath, a big birthday badge in the centre of his ensemble.

He was flashing his cheeky grin and holding balloons to commemorate the big day – a numeral two balloon, and a numeral three balloon.

Fans were quick to comment, with one writing: "Happy Birthday handsome! Hope you’ve had a great day…"

Another then said: "Happy birthday my fave!! Have the best day."

Jetset lifestyle

In September 2021, the Corrie star headed out to Ibiza for a fun-filled time abroad.

Taking to Instagram to share some holiday snaps, the soap star penned: "Spent the last week in Ibiza and as you can see from the pictures above I was indeed living my best life.

"However the main reason for my visit was to see my incredible best friend @realmadmigs (entertainment manager & lead vocalist) perform at @sirenis_resorts HV."

In May 2019 the actor headed to Marrakech, making sure he documented his lavish trip on Instagram.

Taking to the photo-sharing app he penned: "From jumping into waterfalls to watching the sun set over the Sahara Desert, Morocco was an absolute vibe, all spent with one belter of a travel buddy. Until next time."

In the photos he snapped and posted he could be seen riding a camel and enjoying the desert sunshine.

Political protester

A political protester, the Corrie hunk often takes to the streets to fight for what he believes in.

Back in the summer of 2018 he protested against Donald Trump coming to the UK, and even documented it on Instagram.

He wrote alongside the photo: "Be on the right side of history."

Jack has also protested for other causes too, and did so in June 2020 for the Black Lives Matter protests, and again last March after the brutal murder of Sarah Everard.

Holding a large sign and wearing a face mask, Jack snapped a photo and posted it on his Instagram page writing: "Men, we MUST do better. #ReclaimTheseStreets #SarahEverard."

Coronation Street airs Monday, Wednesday and Friday on ITV

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