Michelle Keegan - Stockport star bids farewell to Corrie

Michelle Keegan British Soap Awards, Manchester. Photo by David Fisher/REX

Michelle Keegan British Soap Awards, Manchester. Photo by David Fisher/REX - Credit: David Fisher/REX

The Stockport lass is destined to become an Essex girl. It’s farewell to Michelle Keegan as her character Tina McIntyre makes a grisly exit from Coronation Street

Michelle Keegan as Tina McIntyre in Coronation Street.

Michelle Keegan as Tina McIntyre in Coronation Street. - Credit: not Archant

Michelle Keegan is hot. Not sexist comment, but statistical fact. For that hotness has been put to a democratic vote over and over again. The British Soap Awards crowned her sexiest female in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, and she’s shortlisted for that title again at the 2014 event on May 24.

Every year, it seems, the soap-watchers of this nation gauge the phwoaarr factor of continuing dramas like Coronation Street, then plump unerringly for the girl with the huge hoop earrings.

Consult the list of the world’s sexiest women, compiled by lads’ mag FHM, and there’s Michelle again, in fourth place behind Mila Kunis, Rihanna and another Corrie escapee Helen Flanagan.

And it’s not just lads who appreciate her charms. A poll for National Cleavage Day found that 25 per cent of women admire Michelle’s décolletage, rivalled only by that of Kelly Brook. As Corrie colleague Kym Marsh said: ‘She’s stunning. Even I fancy her.’

All of which makes you wonder why her character Tina McIntyre has so consistently played below her league: creepy David Platt, feckless Jason Grimshaw, oddball Graeme Proctor...the list goes on, right through to sleazy Peter Barlow. Ah, but these are the slings and arrows of soapland romance.

In real life, Michelle has done rather better. After an engagement to Swinton-raised Max George of the Wanted, marriage to the dashing Mark Wright of The Only Way Is Essex now beckons, and Essex is where the happy couple will set up home.

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But first there is her imminent exit from the Street. The world knew that Tina would be bumped off before the scenes had been filmed, and William Hill was offering odds on whodunnit before we even knew exactly what had been done. Michelle’s final scenes in Corrie are due to be seen in June.

Giving up a pay cheque as reliable as Corrie’s, you would think that Michelle had been lured by a better offer, aside, of course, from the prospect of becoming Mrs Wright. But no. ‘There’s no plan,’ she has said. ‘I’m going to go with the flow and if I get another job straight away, great, but if I don’t, then I don’t. I have things in the pipeline but nothing’s set in stone.’

It’s the same refreshingly blasé attitude with which Michelle got into acting in the first place. It was on only her second-ever audition that she bagged the part of Tina, and thus a five-year stint as continuing drama’s hottest hottie.

Michelle was born on June 3 1987 in Woodley, daughter of a police officer and a schools’ facilities manager. Spanish heritage on her mother’s side gave Michelle her olive complexion and sultry good looks.

She later lived in Irlam and attended St Patrick’s RC High School in Salford, then Manchester School of Acting. Michelle has earned a wage on a check-in desk at Manchester Airport - once checking in her future Corrie co-star Jack P Shepherd - and was working on a beauty counter at Selfridges in the Trafford Centre when she got her part in the soap in January 2008. Up to that point, she said, she had not considered acting as a career. Neither did she think of herself as a great beauty.

‘I sooo wasn’t the pretty one at school,’ she told the Mirror. ‘I don’t think anyone would have thought that about me. I was a late developer. My teeth were really bad. They were all wonky. I was so paranoid about my teeth I never ever smiled because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself, and it started to affect my confidence.’

After four years in braces, Michelle couldn’t stop smiling. And she swapped her tomboy style for the kind of glamorous garb in which she is seen when out and about in Manchester.

Generously, she’s used her fame to promote charities including Help For Heroes, Breast Cancer Awareness, Inspiration Ovarian Cancer North West (a cause close to home as her grandmother died of ovarian cancer), The Christie and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

She’ll be no stranger to Manchester after her move down south, Michelle says. But where we will get our next televisual fix of Britain’s sexiest actress once Tina McIntyre breathes her last..who knows?

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