Michelle Collins in Coronation Street
So Michelle Collins has crossed the great divide – from EastEnders to Coronation Street.
Sexy Cindy is now “Stella”, the new manager of the Rovers.
In so doing, she has become soap’s Denis Law or Alex McLeish in a skirt (NOT an attractive image).
True, it’s happened before. Tricky Dicky did a stint as Liz McDonald’s boyfriend, but no one as high profile or iconic has defected like this.
How should we feel about it? To paraphrase the Whitney Houston song: “It’s not right, but is it OK?”
I like Michelle Collins, but I loved Cindy.
I doubt she can ever make us see Stella without thinking of Cindy, despite a northern accent seemingly perfected by studying Hovis ads.
Of course, in their defence, Cindy is dead. She was killed off in 1998 in prison (off-camera, weirdly) after hiring a hit man to shoot Ian Beale – which you’d have thought was not so much a crime as a public service.
And so Collins arrived on Thursday without fanfare, walking into the Rovers, arms crossed, in classic pose.
“Just ask her out,” she advised Tommy Duckworth about Tina. “All this innuendo, you sound like Austin Powers.” As opening lines go, this was rubbish, so low key it was the antithesis of the high-impact nonsense EastEnders comes up with.
Things looked promising when the writers dangled the prospect of Collins and Simon Gregson (two of soap’s great sex maniacs) getting together when Stella was moving upstairs next to Steve.
But disaster struck on Friday when it transpired Stella had brought her fella (DI Robbie Ross from Taggart) and daughter, Eva, (a cross between a mini Cindy and Raquel).
Still, I doubt that will stop her. There’s no point in casting Collins if she doesn’t cop off with someone. My money is on Dev.
Corrie’s producers probably see securing an EastEnders legend as a coup.
Corrie is certainly in the mire right now, having gone downhill since its brilliant anniversary week faster than the tram plunging over the viaduct.
The preposterous John Stape and unbearable Fiz have taken over.
Graeme has left, having spent his last weeks trapped in a storyline that saw him marrying Xin to stop her being deported (yawn!) and then choosing her over Tina (what!?).
“You know the sad thing is, I genuinely believed Graeme loved you,” Rita told Tina. Yes! So did we!!
The perfectly poised, barbed battle between Becky and Tracy has been absolutely ruined by the return of Kylie and Max going into care, causing Becky to go off the rails. Again.
Suddenly, Corrie has A LOT of dead wood.
There are the deadly boring Christian lesbians and junior Ken Barlow; Gary and Izzy; Lloyd and Cheryl.
The trademark Corrie comedy provided by Sunita’s aunties is falling flatter than a stag night with the Dalai Lama.
Then last week Sean got one of those fateful soap phone calls revealing that Violet had been in an accident.
This resulted in Sean and Marcus taking care of Sean’s baby, Dylan, and far too much screen time for Antony Cotton.
“Oh no, poor Violet,” said Maria. Oh no, poor us more like.
“This is a complete nightmare!” Sean cried. Well, he said it.
So all in all, Michelle Collins has got her work cut out.
She’ll probably be good in Coronation Street but her biggest problem is that you can’t help thinking, now that EastEnders is over-run with kids, how great Cindy would have been now – Walford being where she really belongs.