Michelle Connor is in for a shock next week when she discovers unopened letters which make it clear that Steve owes over £10,000 in unpaid taxes. But little does she realises that Steve’s reaction will lead to an even bigger surprise…
“It’s a massive shock when she finds out about the arrears. Michelle had no idea there was a problem at all and she’s really troubled by it,” says actress Kym Marsh. “She tells Liz that Steve’s obviously been hiding the letters for months but she’s reluctant to tell him for fear of setting back his recovery. In the end, Michelle and Liz check with the tax office and confirm the bill is correct. Michelle’s gutted and she’s really not looking forward to the prospect of breaking the news to Steve.”
When he learns about the cash that’s owed, Steve is mortified and admits that he hid the letters away at the height of his mental health problems and forgot about them. Reeling from the guilt, Steve offers to fix things, but is Michelle worried about what he might do?
“She has no idea where he’s going to get the money from,” continues Marsh. “She’s impressed when she sees him calmly poring through the pub paperwork, trying to find a solution. But when she then catches him bulk buying toilet roll, she’s worried that he’s maybe not coping as well as she initially thought. It confirms her fears that this could really set his recovery back.”
Meanwhile, Liz is growing increasingly concerned that they could lose the Rovers as a result of Steve’s financial mismanagement and confides her worries in boyfriend Tony. He reveals that he’s just sold the house he bought for Eva and Jason and could use the proceeds to pay Steve’s tax bill.
But events look set to take an entirely unexpected turn when – in the midst of the financial crisis – Steve ends up proposing marriage to Michelle! “She’s stunned – it’s not what she is expecting at all. It comes as a bolt out of the blue.”
And is his timing way off? After all, he is still ill and now also owes thousands in tax. Wouldn’t it be better to wait? “It probably would be much better to wait and Michelle’s really not the sure the timing is right. But she does really love Steve and she’s not sure if she can bring herself to disappoint him.
“If she is to say yes, she may suggest a long engagement. She doesn’t want to put Steve under any more pressure and she wouldn’t want to rush things. But then she doesn’t want to disappoint him either. I guess it will depend on whether she lets her heart rule her head!”
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