Kym Marsh as Michelle Connor (2014)
|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Kym Marsh|
|First appearance||3 April 2006|
|Created by||Steve Frost|
|"East Street" (2010)|
|Occupation||Barmaid (2006–11, 2013–)
Cruise Ship Singer (2011)
Factory P.A. (2011–13)
Pub Landlady (2013–14)
Party Planner (2014–)
|Home||Rovers Return Inn|
Michelle Sinead Mcdonald (née Connor) is a fictional character in the ITV soap opera, Coronation Street, portrayed by Kym Marsh. The character first appeared on-screen during the episode airing on 3 April 2006. Marsh took maternity leave in January 2011, and the character returned on 3 November 2011.
Michelle's storylines have included a serious relationship with Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson), discovering that her son had been swapped at birth, the death of her eldest brother Paul (Sean Gallagher), in 2007, and the murder of her other brother Liam (Rob James-Collier), in 2008. Other storylines have focused on the relationships with her sisters-in-laws, Carla (Alison King) and Maria Connor (Samia Ghadie), and her failed engagement to Ciaran McCarthy (Keith Duffy).
Michelle first appears when she auditions as a background singer for Vernon Tomlin's (Ian Reddington) band. Michelle becomes the new barmaid at The Rovers. She is soon joined by her son Ryan (Ben Thompson) and brothers Liam (Rob James-Collier) and Paul (Sean Gallagher). It is established that Michelle was impregnated with Ryan as a teenager, and that Ryan's father and her long-term partner Dean was killed in a car accident five years previously. Steve McDonald falls for Michelle immediately when she begins work at The Rovers. Unfortunately his mother, Liz McDonald (Beverley Callard), does not approve of Michelle as Vernon clearly is attracted to her.
When Michelle's sister-in-law, Carla Connor (Alison King), hints that Paul and Liam have a secret, that they are concealing, she confronts them. Paul denies that but Liam cracks under pressure and admits that Paul actually drove on the night Dean died, not him. She lashes out violently at her brothers for secrecing Paul's crime and struggles to forgive them but does keep the truth from Ryan.
After having a brief fling with Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson), Michelle begins a relationship with the manipulative Sonny Dhillon (Pal Aron) but decides to leave him after discovering he is bisexual. Michelle also turns on former friend, Sean Tully (Antony Cotton), as he admits to Michelle that he was having an affair with Sonny.
During December 2007, Ryan is followed repeatedly by Nick Neeson (Robert Horwell) in a blue car. He appears constantly and scares Ryan, who wonders why the man is following him. He tells Michelle, who tells Steve and Liam, but initially, the claims fall on deaf ears. On 9 December 2007, the driver of the car starts a conversation with him, using his name. Ryan, frightened, flees to the Rovers and tells his mother and uncle. Liam attempts to catch the mystery man but he escapes. He reappears on 17 December and is followed to a house in the suburbs. The Connors follow, determined to find out why this man is following Ryan. Michelle rings the doorbell and the door is answered by another 15-year-old, Alex Neeson (Dario Coates). She is horrified to see that the teenage boy in front of her is the image of her late partner, Dean. Her worst fears are confirmed – Alex and Ryan were swapped accidentally just after birth, making Alex Michelle's biological son, not Ryan. Alex later appears in The Kabin and tells Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden) that his mother would pay for the sweets he wanted. Norris asks who his mother is and Alex tells him his mother's name is Michelle Connor. Later that day, news spreads about Ryan not being Michelle's son and Ryan is not amused when Amber Kalirai (Nikki Patel) comments on the news. The police later arrive at the Rovers with Alex. He has been shoplifting and tells them Michelle is his mother. They ask her if this is true and Michelle tells them it is and that it is okay for him to stay at The Rovers. When Michelle and Alex are talking, she goes to get something from the kitchen but Alex calls her back, calling her "Mum". Michelle is shocked. Alex stays with Michelle for a couple of weeks, causing problems for everyone and making Ryan move in with Liam and Maria Connor (Samia Ghadie). He 'loses' Steve's daughter Amy Barlow (Amber Chadwick) and barricades himself in the pub, but Michelle cannot not bring herself to tell him to return to his adoptive mother, Wendy Neeson (Jane Slavin). She meets Alex again and has taken him to Ireland to meet his grandparents. She later tells Alex and his family that she cannot have Alex in her life because she feels Ryan is her son.
Michelle's remaining brother, Liam, dies in a hit-and-run accident arranged by Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien). Michelle is distraught, especially as her brother, Paul, had died just over a year before. Michelle attends Tony and Carla's wedding and later discovers that Liam had an affair with Carla as Sally Webster (Sally Dynevor) drunkenly reveals the truth to Maria. This infuriates her and she confides in Michelle and Tom Kerrigan (Philip McGinley). This confuses Michelle and Tom as they thought she might have got the wrong idea about the situation. Steve has a drunken one-night stand with Becky Granger (Katherine Kelly), following a dispute with Michelle. He doesn't tell Michelle but she becomes suspicious when Steve and his best friend Lloyd Mullaney (Craig Charles) act nervously around her. When Liz tells Michelle that Steve has a close friendship with Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson), she blames her, as she knows that Steve has had a one-night stand. Steve tells her that he is in love with Becky and Michelle ends their relationship. After the break-up, Michelle quits her job at the Rovers as she and Ryan move in with Maria.
Michelle leaves to do another tour with JD for six months. That night, before Michelle leaves, she has sex with Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne). Michelle and Ryan walk in on Maria and Tony kissing on the sofa and furiously storm out, however, she later apologises to Maria and helps her announce her relationship to Michelle's parents, Helen (Dearbhla Molloy) and Barry Connor (Frank Grimes). She returns to the tour and tells Luke that she will be gone for a couple of more weeks, returning in early September. Following Luke's departure, Michelle has a fling with builder Jake Harman (Kenny Doughty) before he leaves Weatherfield due to work commitments. Michelle catches the eye of Rovers colleague Ciaran McCarthy (Keith Duffy) who rentlessly pursues her, despite Michelle giving him the cold shoulder in an attempt to mask her true feelings towards him. Ciaran is leaving for a cruise, he persuades her to come with her, she later accepts. They drive off into the distance together.
After 10 months away, Michelle and Ciaran return to Weatherfield and are shocked when a shaken Carla tells her that while she'd been away, she was raped by her partner, Frank Foster (Andrew Lancel). Michelle and Ciaran help Carla cope during her ordeal and persuade her not to sell the factory because of Frank's lies. Carla eventually returns to work, much to the relief of Ciaran and Michelle. However, Underworld begins to suffer as Carla struggles, and Michelle gratefully accepts the help of ex-worker Nick Tilsley (Ben Price). Michelle and Ciaran's romance soon begins to suffer as they realise that they want different things in life, and Ciaran secretly has doubts about dating Michelle. Ciaran tells Michelle that he is returning to the cruise ships and Michelle decides to go with him but changes her mind, feeling that she can't leave Carla. Michelle tells Ciaran she will always love him and tearfully watches on as Ciaran leaves in a taxi.
Michelle steals a contract from Carla's ex-partner, Frank Foster (Andrew Lancel), to stop him putting Carla out of Underworld. When Frank is later found dead in the factory, everyone is a suspect including Carla, Michelle, Peter, Sally, Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell) and many other residents who had a vendetta against Frank. Carla is arrested on suspicion of killing Frank but is soon released without charge. Michelle worries that she will be arrested because she went to see Frank (and stole the contract) shortly before he was killed but doesn't admit stealing the contract and lets Frank's mother Anne Foster (Gwen Taylor) accuse Carla of being the culprit. Michelle later admits stealing the contract to a shocked Carla, who later burns it. It is later discovered that Frank's mother, Anne, killed him after hearing Frank taunting Carla and admitting that he raped her.
A few months later, Carla's younger brother Rob Donovan (Marc Baylis) arrives and starts work at Underworld with Michelle and Carla. In July, Michelle is overjoyed when Ryan (now played by Sol Heras) returns from university but is angered when he sets fire to Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson)'s curtains while helping Sophie Webster (Brooke Vincent) clean the house. Further questioning by Michelle forces Ryan to admit that he was expelled from university for taking drugs. Michelle takes Ryan to work at the factory and puts Kirk Sutherland (Andrew Whyment) in charge of showing Ryan how to pack orders. However, when alone, Ryan fakes an injury to get time off and Michelle believes he is really hurt so she and Rob take him to hospital. Later, when they return home, Ryan announces that he plans to sue Underworld and Michelle tries to talk him out of it but he is unmoved and tells her that he will do it anyway. Michelle eventually realizes that Ryan is uninjured when Rob and Eva Price (Catherine Tyldesley) expose his deceit by making sure she sees him doing the limbo in a pub.
On a night out, Ryan offers Kylie Platt (Paula Lane) some cocaine but she turns him down in disgust and tells Michelle but she believes Ryan when he says that Kylie offered him the cocaine. However, Michelle later catches Ryan snorting cocaine in The Rovers Return toilets. She is livid, and has him arrested but he is released with a caution. Michelle and Kylie almost fight in the street but are stopped by Lloyd and Gail McIntyre (Helen Worth). Steve begins helping Ryan so that Michelle will go out with him. She eventually does, and they rent the flat above the kebab shop. When Michelle's sister-in-law, Carla, gives Peter Barlow a share in Underworld, Michelle is wary of Peter destroying the factory, like he did the bookies. After arguing repeatedly with Peter, Michelle quits and goes to work at The Rovers Return. Steve later announces that he has bought The Rovers from Stella Price (Michelle Collins) and intends to make Michelle landlady. However, what he doesn't mention is that his mother, former landlady Liz, owns half of the pub. She returns to Weatherfield and resumes her place as landlady. Michelle moves into the pub with Steve, Liz and Steve's daughter, Amy (Elle Mulvaney). Michelle and Carla reconcile but Michelle continues to work The Rovers and is replaced by Eva Price (Catherine Tyldesley) at Underworld.
Creation and development
The character of Michelle was first created as a cameo appearance for singer/actress Kym Marsh with the possibility of returning. She was later signed up to return on a more permanent basis. Of the decision to become a regular on the show, Marsh said: "If anybody had told me I'd end up starring in Coronation Street one day, I'd have laughed and told them to shut up. I've always said this would be my dream job. My mum has watched the show for years so I've grown up with it." In June 2008, Marsh signed a contract for £100,000 after keen producers nearly doubled her salary to keep her as part of the show. Marsh stated she wanted to be on the show for a long time.
The Inside Soap Magazine announced that a Coronation Street spokesperson had denied reports that Kym Marsh is leaving the show to go to Hollywood. Despite confirmation that her boyfriend Jamie Lomas is heading to LA, Kym will be staying put. With Kym confirming herself that she had just signed another one year contract. Of the decision to stay, Marsh said: "I am absolutely delighted about it. It's not necessarily always my decision. I mean, if the producers don't want you, you're out. I'm lucky the writers feel that they can still write for my character, Michelle Connor, after doing so for three years." Marsh said she is unsure about her future in Coronation Street. Speaking to PA, Marsh said that she is unsure of what plans producers have for her and that she will have to wait until 2012 to see what happens. She said she would like to stay and added that she is excited to see how the story develops for her character.
Michelle's character has a multi-faceted personality. of this actress Kym Marsh said: "The good thing about playing a character like her, she's got so many sides. She can be a bitch, she can be sensitive and she can be feisty too. She's just so well-rounded – there's plenty more mileage left in her." Marsh also discussed her character's personality during an interview with Inside Soap magazine stating that she thinks her character has a more devious side because she is part of the Connor family. Going on to say that her character has got quite a temper on her and that she enjoys portraying her tough side. 
During a magazine interview Marsh spoke about the effect her relationship with Steve had on her character stating: "I'd like to see a lot more of the old, feisty Michelle. She became a bit too dependent on Steve and now she is an independent woman again I think she needs a bit of a challenge." Of her character's relationship with Peter, Marsh stated: "I think it might be interesting to see where things might go with Peter Barlow. Peter's quite a deep character. He's got a lot of layers, some good and some bad." Going on to comment about wanting her character to be more feisty unlike when she was with Steve explaining: "I think she is suited to Peter because there's bound to be drama. He's not exactly got the best track record."
On 5 December 2008, Marsh announced that she and boyfriend Jamie Lomas were expecting a baby. She was due to go on maternity leave in June 2009 and return at the beginning of 2010. On 12 February 2009, Marsh's son was born 18 weeks early and died shortly after birth. On 27 February 2009, it was revealed that Marsh had returned to filming earlier in the week. Marsh's second pregnancy was announced in 2010 and she took maternity leave in January 2011. It was confirmed in July 2011 that she would return to filming in September 2011. Upon her return in November 2011, Michelle announced that she was engaged to Ciaran, she learns of Carla's rape ordeal culminating in confronting Frank and taking charge of Underworld while Carla headed off to the US for a while.
As Michelle settled into the canvas, she became an increasingly large focus of storylines as well as airtime. In 2007, Kym Marsh won a number of awards for her work as Michelle. At the 2007 TV Quick and TV Choice Awards, she won the Best Soap Newcomer award for her portrayal of Michelle. She also won 'Best Newcomer' at The British Soap Awards. However, in 2008, as the character dominated more storylines, some fans began to tire of her as well as her behaviour. The baby-swap storyline, which Michelle was central to, was largely panned by both fans and critics, columnist Grace Dent said of the plot; "...It feels like something ripped from a copy of Pick Me Up magazine and read to me laboriously over 22 weeks". In September 2008, the Kym Marsh won the award for 'Best Dressed Soap Star' at the Inside Soap Awards.
In 2009 Ruth Deller of entertainment website Lowculture who runs a monthly feature of the most popular and unpopular soap opera characters, profiled Michelle, criticising her personality stating: "She’s continuing to get more and more entitled and unbearable, but we’re not sure the Coronation Street writers have noticed how much we all hate her yet…" Later that year Deller criticised Michelle again stating: "It really is the month for all our old hate figures to resurface. Michelle’s still apparently irresistible, and her hatefulness was amplified when the show paired her up with the equally detestable Jake. Do the writers realise we hate her? Are they deliberately torturing us? It’s beginning to look more and more the case…"
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- Inside Soap Yearbook: 2009 Issue. London: Hachette Filipacchi (UK). April 2006. p. 71.
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