Michelle Collins was turned down from another legendary EastEnders role

Michelle Collins found fame as Cindy in EastEnders but she has revealed she could have played someone else in Albert Square.

The actress – who recently made her comeback in the BBC soap, years after Cindy was thought to have died – recently shared that she actually tried out for another role. She was in the frame to play punk Mary Smith back in the early 80s, when the soap was still in the planning stages with the working title E8.

Speaking to What To Watch and other press this summer, Michelle said: “Interestingly enough, I originally went up for the part of Mary the punk when it was called E8 and I didn’t get that." Luckily, all was not lost when Michelle failed to nab the part of single mum Mary, and there was another chance for her to get into Walford.

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It came about when she was doing another BBC drama, entitled Pressures. There, she caught the eye of screenwriter Tony Holland, who co-created EastEnders with director and producer Julia Smith.

Tony thought she was right for the soap so she landed an audition to play Cindy, who went on to wed Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and became a fan favourite. The 61-year-old actress said she was initially told that the part was for just 11 episodes in the BBC soap, with the possibility of a longer run.

She said: "When my contract was up my agent actually didn’t want me to stay because I was working quite a lot, and I said, ‘No I really want to stay as I feel this character is really progressing’, so I did for quite a long time!"

Cindy went on to become a major character in Albert Square from 1988 to 1990, before leaving and then returning a couple of years later. She was involved in some juicy storylines and fans loved her relationship with Ian.

She left the soap in 1998, fleeing with her children. In the show, Ian had a private investigator looking into her whereabouts and he later received news that she had died in childbirth while in prison.

However, this year she came back from the dead, as it were. Viewers were gripped by all the drama as it became clear that George’s long lost wife Rose was actually Cindy, and she has now reappeared in Walford.

The part of Mary ended up going to Linda Davidson, and she was in the soap from 1985 to 1988. The character made a brief return in 2019 to attend the funeral of Albert Square stalwart Dr Legg.

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