Former EastEnders star Michelle Collins tells TV Times magazineus about her new role – behind the bar of the Rovers Return…

Are you playing a Londoner?
“No, I think at first they were toying with the idea of her being from the South, because she could easily have been. But I think it would’ve been a cop-out for me, doing a Southern accent. And doing Northern was part of me creating a completely different character. Obviously, I want her to be as far removed from Cindy as possible.”

You had a screen test. Do you think they were worried about casting you after EastEnders?
“I suppose I carry a lot of baggage, even though I left Walford 13 years ago. But I think that was probably one of the things that was going to lose the part for me or win it. I think what Corrie wanted was somebody experienced, because it’s quite a weighty role and, to be honest, it’s so speedy that if you haven’t got the experience, you could fall apart.”

And did you have any reservations?
“I always said that if I was ever to go into a soap again, it would be Coronation Street. And this came at a time when my daughter [14-year-old, Maia, from Michelle’s relationship with Italian car mechanic, Fabrizio Tassalini] is at an age where she needs a bit of routine. I’ve been doing a lot of theatre, a bit of TV here and there, and I felt like I needed to steady myself. Although she’d probably much prefer I was in Coach Trip or Come Dine with Me! And she’s still an EastEnders fan. But hopefully, I can get her to start watching Corrie now.”

What has been the hardest thing so far?
“The funniest thing was walking down the cobbles in my heels and everyone laughing at me. This woman came past with a broken arm, and she said, ‘Be careful or you’ll end up like this!’ So get a pair of comfy shoes, straight away, is the lesson I’ve learnt!”