Next week Michelle Keegan bows out of Coronation Street in spectacular style as Tina McIntyre falls to her death at the hands of a familiar Weatherfield resident…
The Custard TV were invited to a special press day earlier this week to watch the episodes that culminate in her fall and were fortunate enough to talk to Michelle herself, who spoke about her exit from the Street. She was initially shocked when told by producer Stuart Blackburn that she would be leaving the cobbles permanently, especially after being told previously that the door would be left open for her.
“I was called in for a meeting over a lunch break and Stuart told me about the storyline. I was shocked at being told [that Tina would be killed off] but I felt more sorry for Tina.”
However, she felt it was such a good storyline that it was too good an opportunity to turn down and felt lucky that she had been handed a big exit storyline, especially given that she had first set foot on the Street as an unknown actress (Coronation Street was only her second ever audition when she landed the part of Tina).
As regular viewers know, Tina has been having an affair for several months with Peter Barlow, a married father of one, alcoholic and serial cheater. Some viewers were initially baffled as to why Tina would be so attracted to Peter, but Michelle had her own understanding as to why he appealed to her:
“Tina has always craved love and affection from men, especially after her dad died and Peter filled that role, he looked after her and she sees him as a bit of a father figure.”
However, Michelle didn’t think that Tina was being cruel by having an affair with a married man, rather that she had made bad choices but she wasn’t an inherently bad person. Shooting the scenes where Tina falls from the balcony of the builder’s yard were something of a nightmare for Michelle as she is afraid of heights and admitted she had cried on her first attempt at falling, citing her fear and the fact that a lot of the crew had come to see her film the scenes (as well as her boyfriend, ex-TOWIE star Mark Wright, who also helped her learn her lines).
Some of Tina’s final scenes feature Rita, a character who has essentially been a surrogate mother to Tina during her time on the cobbles and Michelle admitted that they were emotional to film, especially as she is very close to Barbara Knox in real life and revealed she even consulted her when deciding to leave the show. Things do not end well between the characters before Tina’s fall and Stuart Blackburn revealed that it is something Rita will struggle with in the aftermath as well as during Tina’s funeral.
As for the future, Michelle disclosed that she was moving to Essex as she had just bought a house there, as well as auditioning for new roles. But she couldn’t leave Tina behind entirely, revealing that she had taken some of her hoodies are earrings from the set before she left.
“I will really miss playing her and I will miss dressing for her and not myself, she didn’t really care what she looked like so I will miss that every day.”
Tina’s fall airs next Monday and Tuesday at 9pm on ITV but here is a little teaser to get you excited…
The week begins with Tina planning her escape to Portsmouth with Peter but everything doesn’t quite go to plan. She visits her biological child, Jake, one last time to say goodbye before going to see Rita and confides in her that she is leaving the Street to set up a new life with a married man… Peter Barlow. Rita is shocked that Tina would do this to Carla, her friend, but also warns her that she is risking everything by taking a chance on a man who is untrustworthy and selfish (and not to mention that he is also an alcoholic and serial adulterer, Tina literally chose the most unsuitable man on the Street). In retaliation Tina goads Rita about her own disastrous love life resulting in a slap across the face from a horrified Rita. The audience inevitably side with Rita but the scene is all the more sadder considering their close bond and the fact that it is their final scene together before Tina’s fall. Unsurprisingly, unbeknownst to Tina, Peter has no actual plan to join her, deciding that he cannot leave his pregnant wife Carla after her pregnancy is announced at Tracy and Rob’s engagement party in the Rovers Return (que a very unforgiving Tracy who doesn’t take too kindly to her special night being ruined by her sister in law’s announcement). Tina’s world falls apart but her night gets worse still after a visit from two familiar faces before ending up on the balcony of the builder’s yard…
The episodes are extremely strong and feature strong scripts by Jan McVerry and Simon Crowther, with a perfect mix of humour and drama, as you would expect from Coronation Street. Stuart Blackburn teased that there is a huge twist in the aftermath of the fall whilst the affair storyline has merely been a prologue for the stories coming up in Autumn/Winter. Tina will be sorely missed but the aftermath of her death will provide great drama in the coming months and affect many of the residents on the cobbles.
Do Not Miss Coronation Street next Monday and Tuesday at 9.00pm on ITV.
Contributed by Rachael Miller