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EastEnders' Michelle Collins reveals the role she missed out on

EastEnders star Michelle Collins has shared the Walford role she missed out on, ahead of Cindy Beale's anticipated return to the square.

Collins reprised her role as Cindy earlier this year, in a twist which saw her revealed as the mother of newcomer George Knight's daughters Gina and Anna after faking her death and living under police protection.

Speaking to Digital Spy and other media, Collins revealed that she had originally auditioned for the role of Mary Smith aka Mary the Punk, Walford's original wild child, before being cast as Cindy.

"Interestingly enough, I originally went up for the part of Mary the Punk when the show was called E8," she said. "I didn't get that, obviously."

michelle collins returns as cindy beale in eastenders
BBC

Related: EastEnders lines up fire storyline for Kathy Beale's cafe

The role ultimately went to Linda Davidson who played the character from 1985 to 1988. She later reprised the role in 2022 to pay her respects during Dot Branning's funeral.

Collins went on to explain how she got the role of Cindy. She landed an audition after working with EastEnders co-creator Tony Holland on the BBC drama Pressures.

"Suddenly Tony said I think you'd be really great in EastEnders so I got an audition and I went to meet Julia [Smith, co-creator and executive producer]," she said.

"It was only for eleven episodes and I thought the character was called Karina and the producer was called Cindy, but it was the other way round! I don't think she was too happy when I called her Cindy!"

cindy beale and ian beale in eastenders
BBC

Related: EastEnders: Cindy's return to Walford causes shockwaves

Collins has played Cindy on and off since 1988. Her current stint is the first time she has appeared as the character since 1998.

Cindy will make her long-awaited return to Walford alongside Ian Beale in scenes that are set to air next week – sending shockwaves through the square as the truth is finally revealed.

EastEnders airs on Mondays - Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer.

Read more EastEnders spoilers on our dedicated homepage.

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