Michelle Keegan is cradling a cushion and confessing she’s suffering from tonsillitis.
But there’s no rest for the actress right now, as she waves goodbye to her Coronation Street character Tina McIntyre, after six years on the soap. Befittingly, feisty young Tina won’t be disappearing quietly in the back of a taxi. Instead, she’ll dramatically drop from the balcony of a builder’s yard after a confrontation with her (as yet) unnamed killer.
“I came in as a new actress and to leave with such a massive storyline, I feel very lucky,” says the dark-haired Keegan, showing off her petite figure in skinny white jeans and a black and white shirt.
After four years in the soap, she began thinking about taking the next step in her career and eventually felt the moment was right to share the news with the show’s executive producer, Stuart Blackburn. “When I first decided to leave, the door was initially being left open and I thought, ‘Oh yes, thank God’,” reveals the 26-year-old, who hails from Stockport, Greater Manchester. It was only on being summoned to a meeting a while later that she was told the door was, in fact, being slammed shut.
Blackburn, a former script writer for the soap, felt terrible. “The writers came up with the story and there was part of my brain going, ‘This is brilliant’ and another bit going, ‘You can’t kill her, I told her the door was going to be left open!’ I was gutted for Michelle but I absolutely stand by it and think she’s got a brilliant future in acting.”
After the initial shock had waned and she was told how her death will affect the whole street.
“I felt sorry for Tina, for it to end this way,” she admits. “I’ve played her for six years and she’s not had the best of lives.”
Tina was only supposed to be a short-lived character, someone brought in to help David Platt forge a better life for himself, but her feistiness proved a hit with viewers.
Fans of the show will know there are four potential killers in the frame. There’s Peter Barlow, who’s had his way with Tina and discarded her in favour of his wife Carla. She herself, pregnant and wronged, could also prove to be a suspect. There’s also Carla’s brother Rob, a former prisoner whose dodgy dealings have been rumbled by Tina. And finally, Rob’s fiancee and Tina’s arch-enemy Tracy, who’s committed murder before. In the run-up to the killing, viewers have the chance to watch four alternative showdowns between Tina and the four possible killers,
Coronation Street airs on ITV and Tina will be pushed from the balcony on Tuesday, May 27.