|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Kym Marsh|
|First appearance||3 April 2006|
|Created by||Steve November|
|"East Street" (2010)|
Cruise Ship Singer
|Home||Rovers Return Inn
14 Victoria St
Michelle Sinead McDonald (formerly Connor) is a fictional character in the ITV soap opera, Coronation Street, portrayed by former Hear'Say singer 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-law, Carla (Alison King) and Maria (Samia Ghadie), her failed engagement to Ciaran McCarthy (Keith Duffy), surviving a minibus crash and become pregnant with Steve's baby, not knowing that Steve got Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) pregnant.
Michelle auditions as a background singer for Vernon Tomlin's (Ian Reddington) band and also gets a job as barmaid at The Rovers. She is soon joined by her son, Ryan (Ben Thompson), and her brothers. It is established that Michelle had Ryan when she was a teenager and that Ryan's father was killed in a car accident five years before. Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) falls for Michelle immediately but 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, she confronts them. Paul denies it but Liam admits that Paul actually drove on the night Dean died, not him. She lashes out violently at her brothers for hiding Paul's crime and struggles to forgive them but does keep the truth from Ryan.
After having a brief fling with Steve, Michelle begins dating Sonny Dhillon (Pal Aron) but ends it after discovering he is bisexual and having an affair with Sean Tully (Antony Cotton). Devastated, Michelle ends her friendship with Sean.
During December 2007, Ryan is followed repeatedly by a man in a blue car. He appears constantly and scares Ryan, who tells Michelle, but initially, the claims fall on deaf ears. On 9 December 2007, the driver starts a conversation with him, using his name. Ryan, frightened, flees to the Rovers and tells his mother and uncle. Liam tries to catch the mystery man but he escapes. He reappears on 17 December and goes 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 it. 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. He stays for a couple of weeks, causing problems for everyone, so Ryan moves 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 send him back 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 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, also died in a car accident 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 tells Maria. This infuriates her and she confides in Michelle and Tom Kerrigan (Philip McGinley), confusing them as they thought she had 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) are nervous when she's around. Liz tells Michelle that Steve is good friends with Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson), so 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. The night before she left, she sleeps with Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) and Michelle and Ryan walk in on Maria and Tony kissing and furiously storm out. She later apologises to Maria and helps her tell Michelle's parents, Helen (Dearbhla Molloy) and Barry Connor (Frank Grimes) about her new relationship. She returns in early September and has a brief fling with builder Jake Harman (Kenny Doughty). 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. Ciaran is leaving for a cruise and persuades her to go too and she accepts. 10 months later, Michelle and Ciaran return and are shocked when a shaken Carla tells her that while she was away, her partner, Frank Foster (Andrew Lancel), raped her and that he is on bail, awaiting trial. Michelle and Ciaran help Carla cope and persuade her not to sell the factory because of Frank's lies. Carla eventually returns to work, much to Ciaran and Michelle's relief but Underworld suffers as Carla struggles, and Michelle gratefully accepts help from Nick Tilsley (Ben Price). Michelle and Ciaran's romance also suffers as they realise that they want different things and Ciaran has doubts about Michelle. Ciaran tells Michelle that he is returning to the cruise ships and Michelle decides to go too but changes her mind, feeling that she can't leave Carla. Michelle tells Ciaran she will always love him and tearfully watches as Ciaran leaves.
Michelle steals a contract from Carla's ex-partner, Frank Foster (Andrew Lancel), to stop him putting Carla out of business. When Frank is found dead in the factory, everyone is a suspect and Carla is arrested on suspicion of murder but is 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 what she's done until after Frank's mother, Anne Foster (Gwen Taylor), accuses Carla. Michelle later tells Carla what she did and Carla burns the contract. Carla later persuades Anne to tell the police that she killed Frank accidentally after she heard 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's curtains while helping Sophie Webster (Brooke Vincent) clean the house. Further questioning by Michelle forces Ryan to admit that he was expelled for taking drugs. Michelle takes Ryan to work with Kirk at the factory. However, when alone, Ryan fakes an injury to get time off and Michelle thinks that he is really hurt so she and Rob take him to hospital. Later, Ryan tells her that he plans to sue and Michelle tries to talk him out of it but he is unmoved, insisting 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 he insists that Kylie offered him the cocaine. However, Michelle later finds Ryan snorting cocaine in The Rovers Return toilets and is livid. To make him realise what he is doing, she calls the police 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, they reunite and 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, he doesn't mention that his mother, 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 stays at the Rovers and is replaced by Eva Price (Catherine Tyldesley) at Underworld.
In January 2015, Steve is diagnosed with clinical depression and not wanting to burden Michelle, he decides to end their relationship without explanation. This leads Michelle to believe that he does not love her anymore so she goes on a date with a client from her party planning business, Hamish Young (James Redmond). Whilst driving the Underworld staff to an awards' ceremony, Steve is chased by some boy racers who eventually cut him up and cause him to swerve. Steve crashes the minibus, leaving the staff trapped in the wreckage. Michelle escapes and goes to find Steve, much to the other passengers' worry. Whilst at the hospital, Steve tells Michelle that he has depression and that this is the reason why he ended their relationship. Michelle promises to help him recover.
In March, Michelle discovers that Steve owes £10,000 in tax which he had been ignoring. Liz's boyfriend, Tony Stewart (Terence Maynard) offers to lend him the money to clear his debt, but after starting an affair with Tracy, the couple plan to take the Rovers from the McDonalds' so Tony tells Steve that he needs his money back. Subsequently, Steve proposes to Michelle but is convinced that she doesn't really want to marry him, and only said yes out of pity, so he calls off the engagement. Later, Steve finds a candlelight dinner prepared and assumes that Tony has prepared the meal for Liz, and calls Tony out in front of the entire Rovers at the Butler Auction. Michelle then confesses that it was actually her who prepared it for them, and calls Steve up onto the stage to explain that she had said yes because she loves him. Michelle then proposes to Steve, getting the engagement back on track.
In May, after some persuasion from Liz, a reluctant Steve agrees to sell his share of the Rovers to a company called "Travis Limited", who, is actually Tony. Tony then persuades Liz to sell her share to Travis Ltd, in order to start a new life in Spain. However, Carla steps in and offers to buy Liz's share, so Michelle no longer has to worry about being kicked out of their home, and Liz accepts as Carla promises to keep Steve and Michelle as the pub managers. Liz then learns about Tony and Tracy's affair so she stops the sale. On 26 May 2015, Steve and Michelle finally marry. In Late 2015, Liz persuades Tony to give their relationship another go but only does this to make him sign the Rovers over to Steve. Once he has done this, she dumps Tony in front of the whole pub and he leaves, humiliated. Michelle is overjoyed, because the Rovers is hers again.
In 2015, Steve leaves Weatherfield for a while. Michelle stays as she has too much work on, including planning a wedding for a client named Saskia. Saskia introduces her fiancé, Will, to Michelle. She is surprised as Will was Michelle's first boyfriend. Michelle and Will spend time together and develop feelings for each other. Michelle tries to back away from Will by refusing to organise the wedding, then getting help so she does not have to deal directly with the couple but this does not work. Michelle and Will acknowledge their feelings for each other. When Steve does not come home for Michelle's 40th birthday, Michelle goes to Will's home and they kiss. As Michelle and Will are about to sleep together, Michelle sees photos of Will and Saskia and leaves. Michelle goes home and finds Steve has come home. Michelle tells Carla about what happened with her and Will and he tells Michelle that he has called off his wedding for her but Michelle tells Will that she loves Steve. Michelle tells Liz about kissing Will. Liz tells Michelle not to ruin her marriage over it but Saskia tells Michelle to stay away from Will. Steve is shocked but later forgives Michelle and they reconcile. Michelle discovers she is pregnant but Steve then says he does not any more children, unaware that Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) is also pregnant as a result of a one night stand during Steve and Michelle's separation over Will.
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.
In January 2015, it was revealed that Michelle would reunite Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) in the aftermath of the upcoming mini bus crash storyline. It was also confirmed that Michelle and Steve would be the next Weatherfield couple to tie the knot. Speaking of this Marsh said; "I'm delighted, absolutely delighted. It'll be weird after being Michelle Connor for nearly nine years, but it totally makes sense for us as characters. Simon and I love working together, and nobody likes to see us broken up." It was also revealed that Michelle would get "feisty" again when her Steve is blamed for the mini-bus crash.
Kym Marsh also revealed that Michelle and Steve's mum Liz would clash over the best course of action for Steve. With Michelle now focused solely on helping Steve to get better with his depression following their reconciliation, she faces opposition from his mum Liz as it becomes apparent that they have very different approaches. While Liz adopts a "tough love" approach with her son, Michelle thinks they should tread more carefully around him, worried about his vulnerable state. Marsh said: "They both obviously want to help Steve but because both of them are so worried about him and love him so much - they both want to help him in their own way. Understandably they clash as they're both so concerned about him. They both have different approaches - Liz is more of the tough love approach and tries to get Steve up and doing things, whereas Michelle is much more trying the softly-softly approach." Marsh added: "Liz doesn't think it's the best way because Michelle is so protective of Steve and doesn't want to hurt or upset him. After everything that's happened with the crash, Michelle thinks they should go easy on him." Despite the disagreement, Marsh believed that the pair would be able to put their differences aside eventually in order to work together to help Steve.
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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- Nicole Carmichael (April 2009). "News". Inside Soap Magazine: 28 March – 3 April 2009 Issue. England. p. 19.
- The People: Take it Easy Magazine: 10 May 2009 Issue. London: MGN Ltd. May 2009. pp. 22, 23.
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