AS handyman Phil Webb he was at the centre of one of the soap world’s biggest storylines of the year.

Now Ryan Hayes is hoping to use his experience of film and TV work - and his unusual career path - to help other aspiring actors achieve their dreams by running a series of acting workshops at Burnley Mechanics.

In Emmerdale, Ryan played the sinister Phil who eventually got his come-uppance and was jailed for stalking Tracy Metcalfe played by Amy Walsh.

It was the latest big break for the actor who has also starred in Kay Mellor’s Love, Lies and Records and Emerald City.

But when he left school, for Ryan a TV studio or film camera seemed a million miles away.

“I trained to be an electrician from the age of 16 to 20 working with my dad,” he said. “Then I had quite a nasty accident which gave me time to think about where I wanted to go and I came out of hospital and told my dad I wanted to be an actor.

“There is no history of anyone in our family going on stage but I had this weird underlying buzz to become an actor. It was like there was this hidden silence. I’d watch a film and think ‘I’d love to do that’.”

With his father’s blessing and despite never having set foot on a stage, Ryan successfully applied to a college in Stratford.

“I was a real blank canvas and I think that helped me,” he said.

“There was a beautiful naivety about not having done productions before, I just soaked up everything I was being taught like a sponge.”

From college, Ryan was encouraged to apply to drama school and got into RADA, one of the top schools in the country.

But it was after leaving drama school that Ryan began to realise that the learning process does not end there.

“You leave drama school and you’re in this little bubble,” he said.

“You suddenly realise how much competition there is for jobs and that you won’t automatically get everything you go for.”

It was this realisation that led to Ryan deciding to launch his own workshops.

“I just want to give people the hope and the belief to do themselves justice when they either go for a part or take part in a production,” he said.

Although he grew up in Nuneaton with his dad, Ryan has moved back to Padiham where his mum lives and Burnley Mechanics was an obvious choice to stage his workshops.

“Everyone at the Mechanics has been so positive and encouraging,” he said.

The first workshop was held at the weekend with another planned on Saturday and then a series more through the year.

“I think somewhere like Burnley is ideal for me to do this,” he said.

“There are people with so much talent but they can’t always get over to Manchester to take part in a workshop. The workshops are aimed at giving people an idea of how the industry works and what is required of them so we will be running ones on acting in front of a camera and audition techniques for instance.

“I feel passionate about helping talent to come through and sharing my own experience and ideally I’d like to hold workshops at a series of venues across the north.”

For more information about Ryan’s workshops visit