Corrie Michael star’s life – CBeebies job, famous girlfriend and controversy

Michael Bailey is delighted when Grace returns to Weatherfield to see Glory in Coronation Street.

However, her true intentions are soon revealed after Aggie and Ed tell Michael that Grace is blackmailing them for money – and did not return to see Glory.

How will Michael react? And what will this mean for Grace?

Since stepping onto the ITV cobbles in 2019, Michael Bailey has become involved in some of Coronation Street's biggest storylines, and has become one of the street's most well known faces.

However before arriving in Weatherfield, actor Ryan Russell was already a huge name from his previous life as a presenter – which also led to a sweet co-star romance.

CBeebies job

Long before Ryan rose to fame as Michael Bailey on Coronation Street, the star made his name as a presenter for popular children's TV channel CBeebies.

He made his first appearance on the channel however in 2003, when he appeared as one of the children on the channel, before landing a full time presenter role in 2017.

Along with presenting CBeebies, he also entertained generations of children on the programme The CBeebies House Show, as well as in their pantomime of Thumbelina.

Talking about his presenting role, he told Metro: "No day was the same. I’d start by reading birthday cards in the morning and after that I could be doing a sketch or a song or crazy dance moves – that was my thing, I’d do the floss!

"Everything is very bright and colourful, so you have to be enthusiastic."

However, Coronation Street is his first major acting role, which has seen the star become involved in huge storylines including being a victim of racism.

Reflecting on the importance of the storyline, Ryan told Digital Spy: "For myself as an actor, it's important to show contemporary forms of racism and show what's happening today.

"It might not be as upfront or in your face as the storyline we had with Ed, but it's a subtle sense of racism within the whole world and I think this is what we as actors want to show."

Famous girlfriend

Not only did Ryan land one of his break through roles on CBeebies, he also found love with a fellow presenter.

The Coronation Street actor is currently dating actress and presenter Evie Pickerill, with the couple regularly sharing sweet snaps together on social media.

Following Ryan's 30th birthday in 2021, the actor posted a photograph of him and Evie smiling for the camera, as he paid tribute to his girlfriend, saying: "Thanks to everyone who took the time out to wish me a Happy Birthday over the weekend!

"Special shout-out to @evie.pickerill for going above and beyond to make my 30th a birthday to remember."

That is not all, as Ryan has also brought along some of his fellow Coronation Street co-stars to support Evie in her theatre performances.

Evie revealed to Shropshire Star in 2021 that Ryan and his Corrie friends would be watching her in a production of Cinderella at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, saying: "I know Ryan will invite a couple of the Corrie stars to come, so it will be lovely."

Ryan also reflected on how watching Evie work at home during the lockdown in 2020 helped to inspire him, saying to Metro: "My girlfriend Evie [Pickerill] is a CBeebies presenter. They continued with CBeebies so she filmed from home during lockdown.

"We set up a camera and lighting, she did songs and raps, and I helped her out with the technical side. It was fun and kept us going."

Tweet controversy

Shortly before Ryan was due to appear in Coronation Street, it was reported that the actor had published sexist and homophobic posts on one of his social media accounts between 2011 and 2013.

News of the offensive tweets soon surfaced, and following the controversy, an ITV spokesperson released a statement saying: "Ryan has apologised.

"The tweets were deleted shortly after they had been published because he realised they were offensive. He has given assurances about his conduct, values and behaviour."

Ryan himself also released a statement following reports of the historic tweets, apologising for the offensive posts.

He said: "First and foremost, I want to take ownership for my behaviour and apologise for some of the language that I’ve previously used on social media.

"I knew some of the words I’d used as a younger man hadn’t been appropriate, therefore some time ago I took action and deleted any tweets that I felt used language that didn’t reflect my values, outlook or principles.

"Unfortunately these historical tweets have resurfaced.

"I pride myself on being a respectful person who believes in equal rights for all, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, religion, class and sexuality."

Ryan added: "I’m embarrassed by some of my previous social media posts but hope to be able to use my platform to educate, inspire and engage others.

"As with anything in life, I believe that it’s about self-reflection, education and growth. I’m truly sorry and believe that the tweets are not an accurate representation of the person that I am, or aspire to be."

Coronation Street airs Monday, Wednesday and Friday on ITV at 8pm

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