|Portrayed by||Kent Riley|
|Created by||Jo Hallows|
|Date of birth||19 August 1987|
Zachary Timothy "Zak" Ramsey is a fictional character from the long-running Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks, played by Kent Riley. Zak first appeared in 2004, when he was credited as Zak Barnes. After only four months, Riley was dropped from the programme. The character received a revival 18 months later however when producer Bryan Kirkwood brought him back in 2006. Following the arrival of producer Paul Marquess in January 2010, the series is currently undergoing a major overhaul and as part of a large cast cull, it has been announced that the character has been axed from the series for a second time.
The character of Zak was created as a new student along with Bella Manning, to move in the halls of residence at the HCC. After the character's initial stint he was brought back into the series and later relatives of the character were introduced. During the character's first stint he was credited as Zak Barnes. At the time he re-entered the series in 2006 his surname had been changed to Ramsey due to the arrival of the separate Barnes family during the intervening period.
Auditions were already underway for the part of Zak, when actor Kent Riley received a call from his agent, he auditioned for the role, later going onto to be cast as Zak. After leaving the series Riley received a call being asking him to rejoin the cast for a more permanent stint.
In early 2010 it was announced that Allan had stepped down from the position of executive producer, with Paul Marquess taking over the role. It was soon revealed that he planned revamp Hollyoaks, changing the productions team, then began a cast cull starting with the axing of three established characters. Stephanie Waring (who plays Cindy Hutchinson) then then revealed that all remaining cast members feared their characters would be next to depart from the series. One month later the cast cull continued as Marquess announced his plans to axe a further 11 characters, including Zak at the end of Riley's contract. It was stated that the character will simply move on to pastures new at the end of his storyline-arc.
Zak is portrayed as a typical 'blokey' male character who likes football and parties, he also values his close friends and family. Channel 4 publicity describe him as a fun loving man who likes 'a good knees-up' with his good friends, they also explain how he looks after his sister's love life, as Zak is always shown on-screen being protective of his sister.
Zak has always been unlucky in his love life even though he often been described has having an eye for the female characters. He lusted after his close friend Zoe Carpenter for over a year, he then had a brief romance with Katy Fox that came to an end abruptly. He later found love with an unlikely partner, Michaela McQueen. Of this Riley has spoke out about his delight that his character finally having a girlfriend after four years in the series and the fact that with Michaela, plenty of trouble comes with her for their, then budding romance.
After being off camera for over a year, he returned in September 2006, the student flat now occupied by Jessica Harris, Joe Spencer, Olivia Johnson, and new arrivals Will Hackett, Zoë Carpenter, and Kris Fisher. Zak drank too much cheap vodka at the Loft and became sick. Ironically, this may have saved his life, since Kris, Zoë, Joe, and Olivia all went to the Dog in the Pond a few days later and were caught up in an explosion. Joe and Olivia were killed, and Zak moved into Olivia's room.
Zak had one night stands with both Zoë and Jess. After realising his feelings for Zoë, Zak tried his best to make things up to her, but this was soon ruined by flatmate Will who wanted Zoë to himself, and so set Zak up to look as though he had stolen from her. Zak soon began to distrust Will, and in April 2007, Zak and Zoë realised the extent of Will's madness. Zak then came to her rescue when Will took her hostage on the roof of the college. This resulted Will to be in custody of Mental Health Act. Zak then tried to kiss Zoë as he thought this was what she wanted, but she reacted badly because of Will and went home. When Zoë returned, Zak continued to pine for her, but soon realised she was falling for Darren Osborne. Zak had saved Darren from muggers and a guilt-ridden Darren initially stayed away from Zoë, but Zak pushed them together.
In February 2008, Zak got close to flatmate Katy Fox, although she was dating his mate Justin Burton. After Zak and Katy had been playing around with a shopping trolley in the corridors, they shared a kiss. Later, while Zak was helping Katy to study she confessed that she was upset that Justin was spending so much attention on, what had just be revealed, his son Charlie. Later at the Loft, Zak and Katy shared another passionate kiss. They became lovers, and Katy continued to lean on him for a few months, until finally in April 2008, Justin walked in on them kissing. Katy left town, and Zak was once again left alone. On July 14, 2008, Zak failed his degree in Sports Science and now must stay at HCC for another year to finish the course.
In the latter half of 2008 Zak drunkenly slept with Michaela McQueen who had been upset after been rejected by Mike Barnes, though both later regretted the incident and nothing happened for months afterwards. However on New Years Eve 2008, the pair couldn't keep their eyes off each other and as 2008 came to an end, the pair spent the turnover into 2009 sleeping together once more. A few minutes into 2009 and the pair were interrupted when Calvin Valentine had to arrest Zak and Ash, who was also at the party, for supposedly beating up Gaz however this was untrue has Gaz had beaten himself up to get Zak and Ash in trouble.
That morning, Michaela went to protest outside the prison for the release of the two but when Ash teased her over fancying Zak she refused and when Zak insulted her (after she had insulted him), she hit him over the head with the protest board and stomped off. The two embarked on a relationship in the early half of 2009. Archie interrupted the two, once, in bed together. One event after another, Michaela and Zak had a fight, where they both insulted each other and she broke up with him. He (in the next episode) went to make it up with her inviting her to dinner, which she went to after claiming she wouldn't. At the dinner, he insulted her family unconsciously and she stormed out to Sasha' s house. Zak asked Sasha to bring Michaela to the student bar once she had calmed down, and she did. When Michaela arrived, Zak again tries to make it up with her, letting slip he loves her. Michaela and Sasha tell him what he just said and Michaela asks him to say it again. He does, and he says he is not embarrassed to say it out loud that he loves Michaela McQueen. They hug each other and Michaela whispers that she loves him too.
In January 2009, Zak's sister Hayley arrived. She is in a wheel-chair due to Guillain-Barre Syndrome. She arrived on Zak's birthday. She left a bag by the entrance of Drive and Buy to get some money out, when Michaela tried to steal it because it contained a Liverpool Top, (she had forgotten Zak's birthday), Hayley went and the two girls had a slanging match. When Zak told her she was too clingy after a couple of days she left but Michaela pursued her to wait outside HCC doors. When Zak opened the door to find Hayley, Michaela left them to sort them out. Hayley was in hospital for four months and Zak never bothered to see her even though when they were little they were best friends. Zak told him it hurt to much for him to go and he would have done anything for him to get the virus and not her. He told her when he went home he kept hating going because she was always laughing and smiling when she was ill and he did not know what to say to her. Hayley said that he never did anything with her anymore and he never took her for a drink,or to the cinema or out clubbing. Zak was crying by this stage so Hayley called him a soft git and told him to take her out to buy her a pint.
In May 2009, Michaela tried to get Zak to join the Army. On 25 May 2009, Zak and Hayley's brother Caleb arrived. Michaela took a liking to Caleb straight away because he was physically fit and in the British Army. Zak went off every weekend to Army training camps as he was jealous of Caleb and Michaela's liking for his brother. However on 8 June 2009, Zak returned and Caleb began to become suspicious of Zak. He then revealed that Zak was lying and had never went to the camp, instead he had been staying at a friends house. Zak told an upset Michaela it was to make her happy because he did not like it. She then forgave him. On 26 June 2009, Zak graduated with first class honours and decided to carry on and do a masters degree the next day Caleb was sent to fight in Afghanistan.