(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog May 2014, reposted to this blog with permission.)
Here's a Q&A with Michelle Keegan, who's leaving Coronation Street as Tina McIntyre:
Q. Was it a hard decision for you to leave?
Yes. I first thought about it about two years ago when I’d been in the show for four years, but I realised I wasn’t quite ready. When my contract then came to be renewed again, I knew it was either now or never. It took me a long time to come to a final decision.
Q. Was there anyone you discussed it with in the cast before you decided?
I talked it over quite a lot with Kate Kelly, both before and after she left the show. She always said, when the time is right you’ll know. That’s what happened with me - the time felt right.
Q. Were you shocked when you found out Tina was being killed?
I was shocked. Initially we thought that the door would be left open for her, which I think is every actor’s ideal scenario. A few months later the producers came up with this amazing exit storyline for Tina - that she was going to be killed! My heart stopped when I first found out. I do completely understand why she’s being killed, though - it’s an amazing storyline and it will affect so many characters on the Street for the next year.
Q. What did you think when you found out your exit storyline was going to involve kissing Chris Gascoyne for months on end?
In an interview a few years ago I remember saying Peter Barlow was quite sexy, so maybe they picked up on that! (laughs). I’ve loved working with Chris and Ali (King) so it’s been a great few months.
Q. Lots of scenes have involved the bedroom, how do you find those scenes?
Chris makes me feel so at ease and so calm. He’s so professional and makes sure I feel comfortable. Now we know each other so well we can just have a laugh about it.
Q. Do you know about the outcome of the story? How will the viewers feel about it?
I don’t want to give too much away, but whichever of the four endings we use, I think the viewers will completely get it and see why things happen the way they do. I think it’s so interesting and it’s going to be so exciting for the viewers. It’ll keep them guessing!
Q. The week of the murder, Tina is thinking of running away with Peter and then she finds out that Carla is pregnant. Can you talk us through the run up to it all?
Tina’s been so vulnerable throughout her life - she’s never had a stable relationship apart from the closeness she shared with her dad. I think Tina craves love and affection and in many ways she believes Peter can take care of her. She’s in too deep and in a complete mess. In the week leading up to the murder, she’s built her hopes up so much around Peter leaving with her, but she’s had to also prepare herself for leaving Weatherfield behind. For him to then let her down again, it’s the final straw.
Q. Can you tell us why each of the four suspects might want revenge on Tina?
Well, obviously there’s Peter, who doesn’t want Tina to tell Carla all about their affair. He’s on the brink of losing it all and he knows if she opens her mouth then it’ll be game over. If Carla finds out about the affair then that’s her motive, and the fact that their affair started on her wedding night! Rob has a motive because Tina finds out that him and Tracy have been doing dodgy dealings again and also Tina’s been having an affair with his sister’s husband. Finally, there’s Tracy, who has always had it in for Tina. She too is worried that Tina will report them for their dealings in Barlow’s Buys and I also don’t think she’s ever gotten over her and Rob’s kiss.
Q. Can you talk about the attack?
A row takes place on the builder’s yard balcony and Tina ends up falling back off the balcony. We had to use a stunt double. We both had to fall back off the balcony and onto a crash mat. It was so scary. I hate heights and I have never been so scared in all my life. It sounds so easy when someone tells you you need to fall back, but it’s not natural. All your instincts are saying don’t do it. I was such a baby!
Q. Have you worked out in your own mind how Tina could bring herself to have an affair with Peter?
When I first heard about it, I couldn’t believe Tina would do that - she has always tried to have good morals and her and Carla were growing as friends. But I think Tina has been hurt so many times she’s so vulnerable and she’s not exactly been having a good time. She’s met a man who looks after people and she likes that. I think she could also see elements of her dad in him, too - both addicts, both try and do their best for the people they love but have addictions they can’t get past. Tina’s so young and I think Peter’s charm misled her completely.
Q. Peter’s completely been messing her around - right up until the end does Tina think he’s going to leave Carla for her?
Yes, definitely. I think she’s been ignoring his excuses. But then he gives Tina his credit card to buy the train tickets for them to run away - he’s just buying time, but Tina thinks this is a sign of commitment. She believes his lies.
Q. How do you feel about the future?
I feel really excited. Initially I was so nervous about whether I was making the right decision. This is all I’ve ever known, so I’m going into the unknown completely. I quite like that. I’ve got no ties at the minute, and I don’t want to look back in ten years and think, ‘what if’.
Q. What are you most proud of from your time at Corrie?
To be honest, I’m just proud that I’m still here six and a half years on. I came in as a new actor; this was my very first acting job. I didn’t even know what a camera looked like before I started here! It was also a big achievement to win Best Newcomer - winning that award made me feel accepted as a young actor.
Q. Do you have any work lined up?
Nothing set in stone yet, I can’t say what but a few things are in the pipeline.
Q. Will you move down south straight away?
No, not straight away. I’ll spend a few months commuting.
Q. What is your dream job?
I’ve always said I’d love to a period drama because I love them - something like The Tudors - I love that show! Corrie is drama-based so it would be good to do something different too, like a comedy.
Q. Would you do any reality?
I think I’d be too nervous to do reality! Never say never but right now I wouldn’t do one. I couldn’t get up in front of a live audience - I’d be so nervous.
Q. When will you watch Tina’s death and where will you watch it?
I’ll watch it at my Dad’s house. That’s where I watched my very first episode too, so we’ll all be watching it over there. It’s going to be so emotional!
Q. How will your family find it watching Tina die?
I think it’ll be hard for them. I’ve got some pictures on my phone of Tina in hospital and they’ve found even those hard to look at.
Q. Is there a lot of blood from the attack?
Tina has swollen eyes and pressure on her skull so I’ve had a prosthetic eye piece made and lots of bruising and swelling.
Q. What did you think when you looked in the mirror?
I didn’t like it…although I did take pictures!
Q. This means an end to you winning soap’s sexiest title...how do you feel about that?!
I’ve always said it’s so nice that people take the time out to vote. We always laugh about it because people who know me don’t see me as sexy at all! It’s great when I get it.
Q. Will you watch the funeral?
Yes - I had to pick the song that is played! There are reasons behind the choice.
Q. What are your Corrie highlights?
Working in the Rovers - that has been so great because it’s so iconic. I absolutely loved working with Reece Dinsdale who played Tina’s dad. We got on so well and him leaving was so sad. Working with the Platts has been amazing - I always feel at home there. I’m so used to being in their house. Giving birth was great too, especially without the pain! (laughs). I’ve had so many great storylines, it’s hard to pick out just one!
Q. Tina’s always been a very popular character. What have reactions been like to Tina’s affair?
I thought I was going to get worse than I’ve had. I’ve had a few comments on twitter, but I think the way it’s been written has been so cleverly done. Despite her wrongdoing, I think the audience still feel really sorry for her.
Q. Did anybody cry when you told them you were leaving?
I don’t think it sunk in when I first announced it as it seemed like such a long way off. It’s starting to feel real now though. Until people leave the show you don’t realise - you do feel it when people leave.
Q. Is there anyone you would have wanted to have had more scenes with?
Paula Lane, who plays Kylie. We’ve always had fighting scenes but I would have liked to have touched on their jealousies with David. I think they’re also really similar in lots of ways, so I always thought they might become friends. She really goes for it in fight scenes!
Q. Who will you be most sad to say goodbye to?
That’s really hard - no matter if you’ve worked with people a little or a lot, we’re like a big family here and we spend time with each other in the green room. Even when you don’t see people for a couple of weeks, you can pick up where you left off when you see them again on set.
Q. Who will you keep in touch with?
Quite a lot of people. Definitely Brooke, because we’ve been friends since day one and we share a dressing room. I’ll also keep in touch with Paula, Cath, Helen, Alan...loads of people! Too many to name.
Q. Do you think you’ll be able to watch Corrie as a viewer again?
I think so - although I know all the tricks of the trade though! (laughs). I’ve grown up with Corrie, it used to be my bedtime TV programme.
Q. Do you think you could ever be tempted to another soap?
I can’t see myself in any other soap, no. I’m a Corrie girl!
Q. So what’s the plan when you finish here?
I’ve got a really busy few months. I’ve got meetings, photo shoots, the move down to Essex and everything else. Nothing needs doing to the house luckily, apart from a lick of paint - but I won’t be doing that!
Q. Will you miss the north?
I will, but I’ll probably see family and friends up here even more than I do now! I’ve been working so much recently that I haven’t had much time to spend with my family at all. When I’ve got a week off, I can come up and spend quality time with family up here instead.
Q. Will you be better placed down there for work?
Before I even met Mark, it was always my plan to move down to London because I’ve got some friends that have done it and they’ve always said I had to do it. I’ll be better placed in Essex for getting to London for auditions and meetings.
Q. Do you get recognised quite a lot when you’re out and about?
Yes I do. I wear my hair up quite a lot and don’t wear much makeup in the day, so I’m quite like Tina in that sense.
Q. What’s the weirdest fan mail you’ve ever received?
A guy sent in an engagement ring and asked me to wear it on screen so everybody knew I was his! It was gorgeous!
Q. Have you got any aspirations to tread the boards?
I’m so used to acting on camera that theatre is a completely different ball game. I think I maybe need a few more things under my belt before I can go there.
Q. If you could sum up your time on the show, how would you describe it?
I was able to live out my dream here, for six and a half years, which is amazing.
Follow the Bluenose CorrieBlog on Twitter and Facebook