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Monday 31 March 2014

Michelle Collins talks about Corrie disappointment

Michelle Collins' autobigraphy has been serialised in some of the tabloids.  In The Irish Mirror, they include the section of her book where she talks about leaving Coronation Street as Stella Price.

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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njblas said...

About the only good thing Stuart Blackburn has done in his disappointing tenure, is cutting back the screen-time given to this previously over-exposed character...

NZ Coro Junkie said...

Perhaps these things become self-perpetuating.

Michelle Collins' self-consciousness from the rough beginning prevented her from socialising with other actors. Had she done so, her offscreen bonds with key cast members could well have helped her develop on-screen chemistry with them. Her character could then have become less 2D and more charismatic.

Kate said...

For me this character never worked, right from the moment she stepped onto the cobbles. Stella was ill-conceived from the getgo as Leanne's long lost mum. Janice was the mum Leanne never had, not Stella.

I have nothing against Michelle Collins as an actors and actually feel a bit bad for her. It wasn't her fault that she was turned into a very unbelievable character and thrust into every storyline possible. It would have been so much better if she had been allowed to keep her accent and integrated into the street in a different way, not a sudden and predictable "I've come back to find my longlost daughter."

I think Eva fits in really well (especially with Jason!) but Stella and Gloria definitely never worked for me. Karl had some potential but that was dashed when he was made so one-dimensional and then with Sunita.

Hing Hong Hung said...

I too have nothing against Michelle and wish her well but she never reached the dizzy heights as she did in the 'other soap' as Cindy Beale. The trouble was she came in as the producer at the time's pet and close friend, she was given far too much air time which often has the opposite effect and the character becomes disliked and ridiculed. Her taking people "in the back" as an example. I think being shoe horned into a scene that she should not have been in ie a much loved character Betty Turpin going though her things with her son Gordon which should have been a poignant Corrie moment just ruined her. It didnt work out, its a shame but get over it and move on.

Anonymous said...

She's still a lucky actress in finding and keeping steady work in a prickly business. I watch from Canada and I'm not as bothered by the differences in the accents. What bothers me more than the performances of the actors is overall lowering of the quality of writing. Actors need half decent material to work with and she along with the rest of the cast more often than not had and still have substandard characterizations and plotlines to work with. The dialogue thank goodness hasn't reached rock bottom... not yet anyway.

Still, I appreciate her candor in that revealing bit in her book. Too often, working performers layer a smooth sheen over their bad experiences so that they do not jeopardize their chances of future work, but she's obviously confident with her connections in the business that this isn't a risk for her. Well, good on her. I hope she has a better experience in her next job at the show "Casualty" which may hook her up with her former castmate who played her murdering partner "Karl".

Just sayiing says..... said...

1. She should have had been scripted with a heart to heart talk with Betty whose son Gordon did not know she was his mom until he was grown.
2. Someone else close to Betty should have been involved with Betty's death - the ownership of the pub was a mistake too.
3. As seen by posting of was not our imaginations...Stella was shoved in every scene imaginable.
4. Dougie was brought in as outside owner of the pub and that did not work either.
5. It also shows that the actors do see what is said about them....I pity poor Kate Ford...
6. Why force the accent. She did not have to be from the north of England did she? There was no mention of her to that degree.

Anonymous said...

I blame the writing team for the dismal persona that was Stella. I was really trying to like this character but actually found myself hoping she would have perished in the Rover's fire. Isn't that terrible? The slow introduction of Stella might have helped - shoved into our faces constantly and was popping up out of the blue in just about every scene. Then there was the gawdawful Gloria to deal with. Next Eva comes on like gangbusters. And why did Stella have to be from the North? Who would have cared? I guess they were trying to giver her a different accent so we, the idiot viewers wouldn't get confused and think we were watching Cindy Beale reincarnated. I did find that the viewers went a bit overboard with their nastiness though as if it were a real person we were watching. 'The Beige One'..St. Ella of the Back Room' etc. Oh well..NEXT!

MD said...

What put me off the character from the get go was Michelle's insistence on saying "Oh" at the begining of every sentence!
"Oh Karl", "Oh Leanne" etc, etc.
Absolutely did my head in.....aargh!

Humpty Dumpty said...

I remember MC saying at some point that she thought going into Corrie would be as easy as her previous work, and was taken aback that it was so hard. There you have it. Nobody prepared her for the task and she waltzed in, upsetting some long time actors in the first few weeks. Stella didn't have to be the Rovers landlady. Her personality would have suited a role of medical centre practice manager - and with her own accent. Karl could have been a Rovers barman and Gloria was never necessary. Eva's settled now and she's great now. Her supporters have said that MC didn't write her own interview material and the Corrie PR team are to blame for her OTT comments: 'Stella is like Mother Teresa'. However, she writes her own Twitter and she does come across as having an air of entitlement. She didn't seem at all humbled or grateful to have landed such a plum part in Soapland.

Rebecca said...

"My supposedly dodgy accent..." Really? What a pretentious snob! I'm Canadian and I could hear that she didn't have it right! I don't care how good her dialect coach was, either he's not really that good or she decided not to do her homework. After reading that little snippet I don't just dislike the St Ella of the Backroom character, I dislike the actress even more.
I'm just dumbfounded that she quit because she wasn't being shoehorned into every scene anymore. She really seems to think Corrie should have been the St Ella Show.

Tvor said...

I didn't mind the accent. I expect they didn't want her usual accent so as to distance her from Cindy Beale. I did find the studio PR was a desperate attempt at trying to get and keep viewers on side. That's always annoying. If neutral colours were supposed to be her "trademark", it didn't work. Too bland. Now she's always in black.

Just go. said...

From the beginning, her accent seemed more forced, likely attributed to nerves and too much effort - I think a lot of hoopla was made about having her use that accent. They could have modified her back story in so many ways to avoid having to get her to use a forced accent, although I suppose one could argue that she's an actress and transforming herself seamlessly into other characters is supposed to be her talent. Spending more time with the other cast may have also helped her to not only develop on-screen connections but also give her more practice time with her accent (listening to it as much as speaking it).

Outrageous if she genuinely believed she should have arrived and remained the center of the show ("shoehorned into every story line"). There's folk on that Street who are legends and spend a lot less time on screen. It sounds like MC was given some sort of misguided sell on what she meant to the show, when she was first brought in. She speaks as though she was the only thing holding the show together (a "head liner" at that) and the idea of being relegated to a supporting actress was beneath her.

Just saying said...

Eastender did not want her....or they would not have killed her off. They have murderers walking the streets of Walford! But Cindy was removed.

Frosty the Snowman said...

Well John Mitchie who is famous as the Glaswegian Rabbie in Taggart mananaged to do a credible Mancunian accent - that is what being an actor is all about. Sorry but Michelle is a mediocre actress that was trumpeted in as the bff of Phil Collinson, she wasnt very good and when a new broom comes........

Anonymous said...

This has obviously sprung on from the fact she hasn't got the support of her best mate Phil Collinson. Seriously, she had at least 2 years of storylines, some stuff she was involved in not even deserving (*cough* Betty's funeral). At least Stuart Blackburn gave her involvement in Karl's end. She isn't exactly the only actor to be given a supporting/background role.

Doubt after all this she will be coming back, Stella will just fade away and disappear.


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