EastEnders star Jenna Russell – “it’s hard for Michelle to get the audience’s sympathy”

The actress understands why fans aren't on Michelle's side

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EastEnders actress Jenna Russell has said that she understands why fans aren’t on the side of Michelle Fowler.

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Speaking about her current storyline – which has seen teacher Michelle get involved with a 17-year-old American student named Preston – Russell said:

“I think it’s hard for Michelle to get the audience’s sympathy at this point. I realised, once I’d joined the cast officially, that my first big storyline is not something you necessarily side with her on.”

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Recent developments have seen Michelle spiral out of control after her illicit relationship became public knowledge. Scenes broadcast last week saw Preston leave town after a drunken Michelle hit self-destruct and drove Phil’s car through the front window of the local chippy.

Now, in the wake of that particular drama, Russell hopes that viewers’ sympathies towards Michelle will be able to slowly build: “Ultimately Michelle can’t get any lower, so hopefully we can build her up and get to know her a bit out of crisis mode and know her as a woman – as the woman she is now, 20 years on from when we last saw her.”

Tonight’s episode of EastEnders will see best mate Sharon put in an uncomfortable position when Michelle insists on calling Preston. Eventually, Sharon will come clean and admit that she ordered Preston to leave after lying that Michelle no longer wanted to be with him.

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It’s fair to say that the news leaves Michelle fuming – but Russell believes that her character is more culpable than Sharon: “Michelle is a proud woman and she feels that it’s none of Sharon’s business and that she shouldn’t have handled it the way she did.

“Again, Michelle isn’t taking responsibility by saying she was wrong. She should say straight up, ‘thank you, because I’ve been trying to make him leave for weeks’. Instead she says it wasn’t Sharon’s job, that she was getting round to it and it wasn’t down to her.

“The only person who has stood by her through this situation is Sharon and she’s come back and handled it brilliantly. Sharon is the only person who knows the absolute truth. Michelle is too ashamed and embarrassed right now to apologise to the people she’s hurt.

“She has to make things up to everyone, to Martin, Bex, Ian, Louise, Phil, little Dennis. There are a lot of people she’s hurt.”

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