Monday, 31 March 2014
Michelle Collins talks about Corrie disappointment
From The Irish Mirror:
Michelle Collins writes in her book about joining Coronation Street: “I didn’t even dare watch my first episode, which aired on 16 June 2011. Apart from the fact that I was nervous, I really don’t like watching myself on screen – I never have. The first clue I had that all might not be hunky-dory was when I received a text from a concerned friend the day after it aired. ‘Don’t take any notice of them, Michelle. Ignore them’.
“What? Ignore who? This was in the days before I was on Twitter, but plenty of other people were and pretty soon the jungle drums were beating. The lowdown was that my northern accent was absolutely laughable and many people were saying I shouldn’t have been cast at all. I should have known it was on the cards.
Some people wanted me to fail before I’d even started, and talk of my supposedly dodgy accent was just the ammunition they needed. I didn’t get it. I’d worked hard with a great dialect coach called Mark, and as critical of myself as I often am, I really didn’t think I sounded bad at all.
My opinion didn’t matter, though – it was the public that counted.
“I couldn’t seem to avoid it. I turned on the radio to hear someone chuckling about it on a phone-in. Then I heard it was trending on Twitter. I had no idea how to deal with it. I’d never really suffered any tough criticism about my performances and this couldn’t have been more public.
“I was deeply upset but I didn’t want to show it, so I began to disengage from everything and everyone.”
Michelle says she shut herself off from the other actors. “If you had asked anyone else in the Corrie cast what I was like in that first few weeks they’d probably have said something like, ‘Oh, she’s a bit uptight, that one’.
“It felt like a witch-hunt, with the world and its mother having their say about my appointment to the show.”
In April 2013, new producer Stuart Blackburn made changes, bringing back Bev Callard’s Liz McDonald and ousting Michelle’s character from the Rovers. It was a bit of a blow, to be honest,” Michelle writes. “In fact, I’m not sure I would have signed up for another year if I’d known it was going to happen.
I wasn’t sure how it was going to work if Stella wasn’t running the pub, and I can’t pretend I wasn’t disappointed.”
She adds: “Once Stella’s murdering husband Karl had been locked up and the Price family had moved out of the pub, my fears were realised.
“Stella just seemed to be hovering around without purpose, popping in here and there with the odd wise word for her daughters. That wasn’t enough for me, especially when it meant being away from my family.”
She says: “I’m walking away from Corrie with no malice or bad feeling.”
And she adds: “It’s funny, though – after all that time working on the show, I’d never plucked up the courage to hang out in the green room. I’m not really sure why but just the thought of it made me nervous. It’s not like there was anyone I dislike intensely or wanted to avoid, but it harked back to those first rough few weeks. Perhaps it was a bit like being traumatised by a bad childhood experience that never leaves you.”
© Michelle Collins 2014. Adapted by Dan Wight from This is Me published by Michael O’Mara books on April 3 at £20.
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