I was born in Stockport, then we moved to Irlam in Salford. My dad was a police inspector and my mum was a dinner lady. They worked long hours and I grew up with a strong work ethic. I remember my brother and me playing out in the garden, seeing tractors driving past, waving at farmers, then hearing the ice-cream man come down our road. I loved it.
I wish I could sing, but I can’t. I can dance, though. I’d entertain the family when I was little. My brother and I would spend hours rehearsing, then he’d introduce me into the room and we’d do a little skit.
I always wanted to act. I never had a plan B. That’s the reason I didn’t go to university: I didn’t want to pick a subject for the sake of getting a degree. I still haven’t got a backup plan.
The moment I got the role of Tina McIntrye in Coronation Street the whole world went quiet. I’d just turned 20, it was one of my first auditions and getting the part was a shock. I drove home in silence, completely numb, the scripts on the passenger seat next to me. On my first day I was in the green room watching people eating toast who I’d seen on TV for years. I had become part of a British institution. The whole thing was surreal.
I’m a people-pleaser. My friends laugh at me because they think I’m a pushover. I’m trying to minimise it as I get older, but I think I just want to be liked. That’s why, when I get negative comments, I don’t really understand.
I feel less exposed filming an intimate scene than I do public speaking. I don’t like standing up in front of a lot of people, I get very nervous. You won’t be seeing the Michelle Keegan standup tour any time soon. No one would buy tickets anyway. Except for my mum… She’d be in the front row cheering.
I don’t go out as much any more. If I’m out now, I’ll probably be out all night. I tend not to be the ringleader, I’m the one that’s easily led. I’ll come in in the early hours with a terrible hangover. And I’ll wake up the next day hating myself.
I was ID’d recently. I was buying alcohol. I was in shock. I said: “Are you sure?” They’d never seen a customer so happy to be asked. I didn’t get the wine, but I was over the moon.
I’ll be 40 in five years. Do I feel good about ageing and about where I am now? Yes. People say your 30s are your best decade or that your 40s are the best… I just feel more confident the older I get.
Geographically, I’m an Essex girl now, but I’m still very much a Manc. When I’m in Essex, my northern accent stands out a mile. Mark [Wright, Michelle’s husband] tries to do a Manchester one, but for some reason he sounds Yorkshire. It’s so bad.
I have no grand masterplan. I just live every day as it comes. Hopefully I can keep doing what I’m doing. What’s something on my wishlist? I’d love to do some theatre. With TV, there’s always a chance to reshoot a scene, make a creative change, but with theatre there’s no safety net. It’s much more in the moment.
Michelle Keegan is an ambassador for Vital Proteins
September 3, 2022 at 06:53PM Nick McGrath