'Enders star Michelle in soap return at Rovers
Former EastEnders actress Michelle Collins has been practising her pint-pulling to take up her new role behind the bar at the Rovers Return.
Collins is swapping Albert Square for Coronation Street to play new Rovers manager Stella Price. She is drafted in by owner Steve McDonald after a series of bust-ups with his wife Becky.
But Steve gets more than he bargained for when Stella brings along her feisty daughter Eva (Catherine Tyldesley) and partner Karl Munro, played by Taggart actor John Michie.
Collins and her new co-stars posed on the famous cobbles to mark their arrival.
The actress, famed for playing Cindy Beale in the BBC soap, recalled how her scenes behind the bar took her back to her early days as a little-known actress.
"I hadn't pulled a pint for a long long time but at one point years and years ago I did work in a pub when I was a struggling young actress. It's a bit like riding a bike."
Remembering the first pint she pulled at the Rovers, Collins said: "It's a bit surreal now actually. I think it was a pretty good pint."
Collins also admitted that perfecting a northern accent to play Stella has been a struggle -- and she is bracing herself for criticism.
"I know there will be people going, 'Oh that's awful, that's not right' -- but, you know, you can't pin everybody down to one place, that's what Corrie's about -- everyone's from very different places."
Coronation Street executive producer Kieran Roberts said: "I am thrilled to be welcoming John, Michelle and Catherine to the cast of Coronation Street.
"Of course Michelle's soap credentials are superb and, in the same way she made Cindy Beale one of EastEnders' most memorable bitches, I am certain she is going to be fantastic as the warm, funny, steely and flawed northern matriarch Stella. Karl and Stella's fiery marriage is sure to keep viewers hooked through 2011 and beyond."
Collins will appear on screen on June 16 with John and Catherine making their debuts on June 17.