From Walford to Weatherfield: Michelle Collins joins Corrie

Former EastEnders actress will be joined by Taggart star John Michie at the Rovers Return

Former EastEnders actress Michelle Collins will join Coronation Street as Stella, the new landlady of the Rovers Return, ITV has confirmed.

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She will be joined behind the famous bar by on-screen husband Karl, played by Taggart actor John Michie. The pair is expected to make their debut on the Weatherfield cobbles in June.

Now that Jim McDonald’s (back) in the nick and Liz has done yet another disappearing act (presumably to the Iberian peninsula), relations continue to sour between child-snatching cab touting looters, Steve and Becky.

In a desperate attempt to keep one of Newton & Ridley’s flagship boozers afloat, Steve hires Cindy Beale (Stella) to manage the bar. Although at first she looks like the perfect sub Kat Moon solution to front his backstreet speakeasy, it turns out she has a dark secret.

After moving in her easy-going Alfie Moon-esque man, DI Ross from Taggart (Karl), it transpires that her dark past might haunt other characters on the street.

Executive producer Kieran Roberts said: “I’m thrilled to be welcoming John and Michelle to the cast of Coronation Street. In Taggart, John has kept viewers on the edge of their seats for the last ten years. Karl is a very different character for him, though, and the ladies of Weatherfield need to watch themselves, as this sexy charmer will quickly make his presence felt.

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“Michelle’s acting credentials are first class with more than a decade leading some brilliant and memorable drama series. I am certain she is going to be fantastic as the warm, funny, steely, flawed and larger-than-life northern matriarch Stella. Karl and Stella’s fiery marriage is sure to keep viewers hooked through 2011 and beyond.”