Doctor Doctor Who Guide

Michelle Collins

Last updated 26 July 2015


Michelle Collins - Image Credit: Chuck Foster
Image Credit: Chuck Foster (this image appears for illustrative purposes only and no attempt is made to supersede any copyright attributed to it)

Michelle Danielle Collins

Born: Mon 28th May 1962 (age: 55)

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Michelle Collins is a British actress best known for her roles on television in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, as Cindy BealeCoronation Street as Stella Price, and BBC dramas Sunburn and Two Thousand Acres of Sky. At one time, she was also a TV presenter on The Word.

She appeared in the 2007 Doctor Who story 42.

Collins trained at the Royal Court Activists and Cockpit Youth Theatre from the age of fourteen, and then Kingsway Princeton College where she studied drama and theatre at O/A level. Born in Hackney, East London, to an English father and Welsh mother in 1960, Collins and her older sister were brought up by their mother.

After her exams, she 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 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 AlmondLevel 42Altered 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 the late Gary Hutton and Gary Shail known as H.M.V.

Collins's first TV appearance was with Gary Oldman in the BBC drama Morgan's Boy. Other TV credits included: two series of the sitcomRunning Wild, where she played Ray Brooks daughter; a part in ITV drama The Bill; a Screen Two production Lucky Sunil, directed byMichael Caton Jones and a BBC play Pressures. She later appeared in three films: Personal ServicesEmpire 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'producer Julia Smith, and she 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 Cindy 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 EastEndersshe 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. 

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 minor hit in the UK Singles Chart in 1999) reaching the official UK top 40 at Number 28; Daylight Robbery (ITV); The Sleeper (BBC One); Uprising (ITV): three series of Two Thousand Acres of Sky (BBC One): the 2-part series Perfect (ITV); Lloyd and the Hill (ITV) andElla and the Mothers (BBC One). In 2003 Collins played Sarah Barton in Single, which further established her reputation for playing tough, contemporary women who also have a touching vulnerability.

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 the British comic sketch show French and Saunders and also starred alongside fellow EastEnders actorMartin Kemp in the ITV drama Can't Buy Me Love, which was watched by nearly 8 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.

In 2005, Collins starred in the ITV drama The Last Detective and she starred in the BBC drama The Family Man, alongside ex-EastEnderDaniela Denby-Ashe, which aired in March 2006.

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.

On 2 July 2007, it was announced that Collins has been cast for the lead role of Karina Faith in new ITV drama series, Rock Rivals, produced by Shed Productions.

In 2009 Collins took part in the BBC Wales programme Coming Home about her Welsh family history.

On 21 May 2009, it was rumoured that Michelle had auditioned to star in hit US drama Desperate Housewives, but she will not join the cast for its sixth series.

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 2010 she was a celebrity guest team captain on What Do Kids Know? along with Rufus HoundJoe Swash and Sara Cox on Watch. 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 dramaCasualty.

In July 2010 Michelle was a guest panellist twice on ITVs Flagship show Loose Women.

In 2011 Michelle starred as Sheila Grundy in The Demolition Man at The Octagon theatre, Bolton. She played the part of Fred Dibnah's third wife.

Biography from the Wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA