Rick Neelan was a loan shark who terrorised many residents of Coronation Street, he was unscrupulous in his methods - charging his debtors extra money on a whim and threatening physical violence if they didn't pay up.
In November 2009, Rick took Joe McIntyre's van as payment of the £5,000 he owed him, but warned him that that wouldn't be enough, even though the van was worth more than £5,000. To make sure Joe heeded his warning, Rick threatened to hurt Joe's daughter Tina if he didn't pay up. Joe managed to keep Rick at bay by convincing his fiancée Gail Platt to sell 8 Coronation Street to pay the debt which was now well above the original £5,000. Rick viewed the house, pretending to be a potential buyer to put extra pressure on Joe, but after getting tired of waiting for the house to sell he demanded immediate payment.
Joe paid Rick £4,000 - the agreed total debt - on 7th January 2010, the day before Joe was due to marry Gail. Rick then turned up at Joe and Gail's wedding reception to tell Joe that he had to pay weekly interest. After two weeks without payment, Rick confronted Joe with a heavy, but Joe was able to hide from them. Rick later turned up at No.8 and found out that the house was no longer on the market, as Gail, unaware of the extent of Joe's debt, had decided not to sell. Joe fobbed Rick off by promising the money in a week. After a week Rick returned only to find Joe had gone on holiday to the Lake District. Joe continued to be a no-show in the coming weeks, so Rick began threatening Gail and Tina, but they weren't intimidated by him. To ensure they took him seriously, Rick set fire to a newspaper and put it through the letterbox of No.12, where Tina and her boyfriend Jason Grimshaw lived.
It soon emerged that Joe had died in the Lakes during his trip with Gail. Rick was questioned by the police but although he was charged with other offences the police were satisfied that he hadn't been involved in Joe's death.
Rick returned in May 2012 when Terry Duckworth planned to open a lap-dancing club called Se7enth Hea7en. He owed £20,000 to Rick but Terry's son Tommy paid half of it thinking he had cleared the debt. He and girlfriend Tina were shocked to discover that Terry still owed £9,000. Terry and Tommy agreed to torch the club to claim on the insurance. When Tina found Terry in the Rovers, she went into Se7enth Hea7en to see Tommy about to switch on the gas heater. She forced him into making a decision - her or Terry. Tommy then left Tina in the club unable to lock up when Terry arrived to find his son gone. They argued and Terry was about to set the club alight but Tina tried to stop him. After being threatening by Terry, Tina was about to call the police but Terry accidentally pushed her over and she hit her head on the floor, knocking herself unconscious. Terry told Tommy it was Rick that had caused Tina's injuries, but Tommy soon found out that it was his dad. Tommy gave him an ultimatum - to choose between him and the money, Terry chose the money, leaving Rick to tell Tommy that the debts have passed on to him. However, Tommy told Tina that he had given the money to Rick and their debts were cleared. Rick gave Tommy jobs to do on the cars at the garage which involved packing drugs into them, late at night. Rick then wiped £250 off the debt and told Tommy that he had more jobs for him to do.
When Rick ordered Tommy to do a job smuggling drugs into Amsterdam, Tina had had enough and instead stole the drugs and contacted Rick to meet her at a point along Weatherfield Canal. Wanting his supplies back, Rick kidnapped Rita Sullivan on the day of her wedding to Dennis Tanner in order to use her to force Tina hand the drugs back, knowing of their close relationship. The pair had a face off with Rick threatening to throw the drugs into the water and, in return, Rick threatened to throw Rita over the edge. The police arrived and although Rick attempted to evade them, he was arrested. A few days later, Kirsty Soames told Tina, Rita and Dennis that Rick had been formally charged, denied bail and his associates were in the process of being rounded up. Fearing that he could be released in a matter of days, Kirsty allayed Tina's fears and stated that Rick would be looking at a minimum of eight years' imprisonment.
By 2019, Rick was released from prison, and turned up at the Builder's Yard in Weatherfield on 31st March demanding £9,000 owed to him by Gary Windass. However, Gary did not have the money on him, but assured Rick he would get him his money as soon as he could. Rick threatened Gary and later showed up outside 8 Coronation Street, where he told Gary he had until 6pm the next day to get him his money; and pointed out the fact that 9 years ago, an ex customer of his named Joe McIntyre, used to live at the same house until he accidentally drowned. Rick tried to force Gary to work for him to pay off his debts as he could not get the money, he turned on Rick and saved Vicky and allowed her to run away. Gary left Rick's work and then later Sarah, Toyah, and Leanne raided Rick's office in the beliefs that Nick took out a loan from Rick. Rick's associate Sharon came in and Sarah knocked her out, she later turned Gary his passport. Sharon told Rick one of them was called Sarah after she recovered.
Gary was in an alleyway and Rick came to him and knocked him out in a mask and a balaclava, he later unmasked himself as he kidnapped Gary in the back of his van. The next episode saw Gary kidnapped in the office. The episode after saw Gary left Sarah a message which was later revealed to be the fact that he was the one who destroyed the Underworld factory roof, he told her as he thought he was at deaths door via the voicemail, however Sarah, had lost her phone, later discovered to have been stolen by Carla. Sharon runs away as Rick plans on killing a bloody Gary, and puts a towel on the rug to keep it clean, the police come knocking, and Gary crawls out alive.
Rick first appeared outside the Platt household asking for Gary, when Bethany told him Gary did no longer live there, and he later asked for Sarah, who Bethany remarked was out on a business meeting. She took a picture of Rick and showed it to Gary in the Rovers. Gary later called Rick at a hotel and asked where Sarah was, and if he had her as to which he said he did, and agreed not to hurt her as Gary had asked if he met him somewhere however told nobody that he was doing so. Gary looked for him in a woodland, and he popped up from behind a tree, Gary felt as if he were being followed as he discovered a grave that he had believed that Rick had dug, he turned to find Rick. It seemed Rick dug Gary a grave in a plan to bury him alive! He told Gary he should not have tried to get him arrested, as he pinned him down in the woodlands that had no signal, as he tried to choke him, and remarked that he 'doesn't deserve oxygen!'. It was later revealed that Gary killed Rick, and was later shown burying his body. Gary dug it back up in search of his St. Christopher’s necklace, that he thought he had lost during Rick's burial, it had seemed that it was not there, as Gary later reburied the body.
In December 2020, Sarah informed the police that Gary had killed Rick and where she believed the body was buried. However when the police went to visit the site, they were unable to locate Rick's corpse, so Gary wasn't charged for murder.
- The character was credited in a "voice only" capacity on his penultimate appearance.
List of appearances