28 May 1962 |
Hackney, East London, England
|Occupation||Actress, television presenter|
|Known for||Cindy Beale in EastEnders (1988–90, 1992–98)
Nicki Matthews in Sunburn (1999-2001)
Abby Wallace in Two Thousand Acres of Sky (2001-03)
Stella Price in Coronation Street (2011-14)
|Partner(s)||Fabrizio Tassalini (formerly)|
|Children||Maia Rose (b. 1996)|
Collins played Cindy Beale in the BBC soap EastEnders from 1988-1998, with a two-year break between 1990 and 1992. She played Stella Price in the ITV soap Coronation Street from 2011-2014. Her other TV roles include the BBC dramas Real Women (1998-1999), Sunburn (1999-2001) and Two Thousand Acres of Sky (2001-2003).
Early life and education
After her exams, Collins landed a role in Bulgakov’s The Crimson Island at The Gate Theatre, directed by Lou Stein. Her career changed direction when, having performed in the 1978 video for the Squeeze song "Up the Junction", she joined Mari Wilson and The Wilsations as the backing singer, "Candide". The band spent eighteen months touring the country, working with artists such as Marc Almond, Level 42, Altered Images and Kid Creole and the Coconuts.
When the band broke up in 1982, she went back into acting and with the help of her friend, the British actor Tim Roth, she successfully gained a part in a musical with Gary Hutton and Gary Shail known as H.M.V. Collins had also been in The Illustrated mum by Jacqueline Wilson.
Collins's first TV appearance was with Gary Oldman in the BBC drama Morgan's Boy. Other TV credits included: two series of the sitcom Running Wild, where she played Ray Brooks daughter; a part in ITV drama The Bill; a Screen Two production Lucky Sunil, directed by Michael Caton Jones and a BBC play Pressures. She later appeared in three films: Personal Services, Empire State and Poliakov’s Hidden City. Collins appeared in an episode of the BBC's Bergerac (series 4) in 1985.
While she was filming the BBC play Pressures in 1988, Collins was spotted by EastEnders's producer Julia Smith, and was asked to audition for the role of Cindy, who was due to feature in eleven episodes of the soap. Collins excelled in her role. The manipulative, reckless nature of her character was a hit with viewers so her contract was extended and became a renowned villain in the series. She played Cindy Beale, the unfaithful wife of EastEnders stalwart Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), between 1988 and 1998. During breaks from EastEnders she filmed the drama Real Women for the BBC, with Pauline Quirke and Frances Barber. The drama was a success and it helped to confirm Collins as a versatile actress of considerable stature. Contrary to popular belief, she did not appear in the popular comedy show Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge 1994. "Michelle Collins" is credited as a magician's assistant, but the role was played by a different actress with the same name, as confirmed in the audio commentary on its DVD release.
After leaving EastEnders in 1998 (when her character met an untimely demise offscreen), her career flourished with a series of drama roles. These include: two series of Real Women (BBC One); two series of Sunburn (BBC One), for which Collins also sang the theme song (which was a no. 28 hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1999); Daylight Robbery (ITV); The Sleeper (BBC One); Uprising (ITV): three series of Two Thousand Acres of Sky (BBC One): the two-part series Perfect (ITV); Lloyd and the Hill (ITV) and Ella and the Mothers (BBC One). In 2003 Collins played Sarah Barton in Single.
In 2003, Collins filmed the BBC drama Sea of Souls and then went on to star in a film for Granada/Channel 4 called The Illustrated Mum, which told the story of two girls coping with the unpredictable behaviour of their depressed, alcoholic mother. The film, written by Jacqueline Wilson, was based on the children’s novel of the same name. It was screened to great acclaim over Christmas 2003 and won an Emmy Award and two BAFTAs.
In 2004, she starred in an episode of French and Saunders and also starred with fellow EastEnders actor Martin Kemp in the ITV drama Can't Buy Me Love, which was watched by nearly eight million viewers. The programme was inspired by the real-life story of Howard Walmsley, who was jailed for fraud after pretending to win the lottery in order to keep his wife Donna (played by Collins) from leaving him. Their lives and marriage were subsequently turned upside down by the events that unfolded.
She starred in the West End musical Daddy Cool, and while working during the night there shot sequences for a cameo in the short film Broken written and directed by Vicki Psarias, which went on to win the several international awards. She also featured in the film Don't Stop Dreaming, released in 2007. She left Daddy Cool in January 2007 to shoot the Doctor Who episode "42".
In July 2009, Collins expressed interest in returning to EastEnders, despite the fact her character Cindy died off screen in 1998. She acknowledged it would be unlikely that producers could come up with a believable storyline.
In June 2010, it was announced that Collins would be making a six-episode guest appearance as a patient's mother in the BBC One drama series Casualty. She will return to the programme in the summer of 2014 playing the guest role of Samantha, a patient who will be involved with paramedic Jeff. 
Also in 2010, she was a guest star in Romeo & Juliet at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton, playing the Nurse. From 7 April - 7 May 2011, Collins starred as Sheila Grundy, Fred Dibnah's third wife, in The Demolition Man at The Octagon theatre, Bolton.
In January 2011, a rumour was posted on Digital Spy that Collins was in talks to join EastEnders' main rivalling soap Coronation Street, after she allegedly met with soap's producer and close friend Phil Collinson. Three months later it was confirmed that Collins had joined the cast as Stella Price, new landlady of the Rovers Return pub, beating Lisa Maxwell for the role. Her first episode aired on 16 June 2011 and gained a high rating of 8.4 million.
It was announced on 22 August 2013 that Collins had decided to leave Coronation Street. In January 2014, Collins claimed she was "unhappy" over the lack of screen time for her and her character. Collins filmed her final scenes on 19 February 2014, and made her final appearance as Stella on 2 April 2014.
|1988–1990, 1992–1998||EastEnders||Cindy Beale||Regular Role|
|2001-2003||Two Thousand Acres of Sky||Abby Wallace|
|2005||The Last Detective||1 Episode|
|2006||The Family Man|
|2007||Doctor Who||Kath McDonnell|
|2011-2014||Coronation Street||Stella Price||Regular Role|
- The Paul O'Grady Show (1 December 2004, 30 March 2006, 25 November 2009) - Guest
- All Star Family Fortunes (13 September 2008) - Contestant
- What Do Kids Know? (31 January 2010) - Guest team captain
- Loose Women (2010) - Panellist
- The Alan Titchmarsh Show (26 October 2010) - Guest
- Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (August 2011) - Contestant with William Roache,
- Let's Do Lunch with Gino & Mel (30 August 2011, 16 July 2014) - Guest
- Celebrity Juice (13 October 2011) - Panellist
- The Chase: Celebrity Special (5 November 2011) - Contestant
- Paddy's 2011 Show and Telly (29 December 2011) - Contestant with Melanie Sykes
- 12 Again (7 June 2012) - Guest
- Show Me the Telly (26, 29 November, 3, 5, 9, 12, 19 December 2013) - Panellist
- Catchphrase: Christmas Special (29 December 2013) - Contestant
- Weekend (26 April 2014) - Guest
- Saturday Kitchen (3 May 2014) - Guest
Collins has a daughter by ex-partner Fabrizio Tassalini, Maia Rose, (born 1996) who herself has appeared in various acting roles, such as the short film Play. Her pregnancy was written into her return to EastEnders the same year. Although having separated some time ago, Tassalini lives in Italy with his new family. She also has a god daughter, Sancha Worthington, whose mother Sharon Worthington is godmother to Maia Rose.
Collins's complex love life includes dating cameraman Mark Waters, whom she met while filming the BBC travel rep drama Sunburn, for two years. Collins and her Welsh boyfriend Parry Cockwell called off their wedding in February 2005, saying things were moving too fast, before splitting in October 2005.
Collins came out in support for the Labour Party, in the 2010 general election, mentioning the success of sure start centres, which had been introduced by Labour in government, she said "There is nothing more important than giving children the best possible start in life", going on to say "it would be a big step backwards to cut them now".
Collins is involved in charitable causes. She is an ambassador for Oxfam and has visited Brazil, South Africa and Armenia, promoting the need for the basic right to education. She is also an ambassador for Ambitious about Autism, the national charity for children and young people with autism. She also continues to be involved with a variety of fund raising projects for Stonewall, Smart Justice; and Breakthrough Breast Cancer where she is a spokesperson for a project to recruit 100,000 women to research the causes of breast cancer.
- "BBC One - Coming Home, Series 4, Michelle Collins". Bbc.co.uk. 2010-06-28. Retrieved 2012-05-08.
- "Michelle Collins: I've been knocking a year of my age for years. Now I'm happy to admit I'm really 48.". Daily Mail (London). 19 December 2009. Retrieved December 20, 2009.
- "Lifestyle - TV - WM interview: Life after Cindy". WalesOnline. 2009-07-17. Retrieved 2012-05-08.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 115. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "BBC Drama - Two Thousand Acres of Sky - Michelle Collins". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- [dead link]
- "Michelles not so Cool now". The Sun (London). 2007-05-04.[dead link]
- "Collins cast". BBC Doctor Who website. Retrieved 2007-01-31.
- "Michelle Collins lands 'Rock Rivals' role", Digital Spy. URL last accessed 2007-07-02
- "EastEnders" Star Auditions for "Housewives", Digital Spy, July 14, 2009
- Michelle Collins Has "Desperate Housewives" Audition, What's On TV, July 14, 2009
- Michelle Collins "Would Do Soap Again", Digital Spy, July 30, 2009
- Lilly (2009-07-30). "EastEnders Blog: Michelle Collins ''Cindy wish''". Eastenders-soaps.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-05-08.
- "Michelle Collins for 'Coronation Street'?". Digital Spy. 2011-01-23. Retrieved 2012-05-08.
- "Michelle Collins joins Coronation Street". BBC News. 2011-04-15.
- "Michelle Collins's 'Coronation Street' debut nabs 8.4m". Digital Spy. 2011-06-17. Retrieved 2012-05-08.
- "Exclusive Michelle Collins On Her Looks, The Toyboy, Pole-Dancing, Yoga.. And Why She Stopped Watching X Factor - News". People.co.uk. 2008-03-09. Retrieved 2012-05-08.
- "Michelle Collins The Home Breaker: Victims In Her Wake". Sunday Mirror. 2002-02-17.[dead link]
- "Walford Gazette: Cindy May Be Long Dead, But Michelle Collins Remembers her NY Fans". Wgazette.com. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- Kerins, Suzanne (2005-02-27). "Radar: Michelle Collins". Sunday Mirror.
- "Cindy'S Shop Strip - News". People.co.uk. 2006-01-08. Retrieved 2013-02-13.Collins had a 2 month fling with Hugo Boylan in 2013, a friend of her daughter.
- Charalambous, Anthi (1999-06-06). "How We Met: Michelle Collins & Aldo Zilli". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2010-05-12.
- "Star Gazing: Michelle Collins GOES WALKIES". Sunday Mirror. 2005-07-31.[dead link]
- "Countries we work in | Oxfam GB". Oxfam.org.uk. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- "Ambassadors". Ambitious about Autism. Retrieved 2013-02-13.
- [dead link]
- [dead link]