Former Rovers Return barmaid Tina McIntyre has revealed that the imminent demise of Michelle Keegan, the actress who has portrayed her for the past six years, will stir some powerful emotions. “First of all, I’d like to thank the writers for inventing me”, the fictitious character remarked in an exclusive interview with the Weatherfield Gazette, “and the casting team for choosing someone so fit to play me. Obviously, when someone portrays you for so long, you develop a certain affection for her, and feel that she’s become a part of you in some way. It’s going to come as a huge shock to those of us who’ve known about it for several months in advance when her unspeakably gorgeous body hits those famous cobblestones with a sickening thud.” McIntyre also admitted to confusion over whether the millions of men who “only watch[ed] it for her wi’ top bollocks behind’t bar” were referring to her, or her lovely doppelgänger: “Listen, Michelle’s been voted the Sexiest Woman in Real Life by Weatherfield residents for several years running, which commands respect” she observed frankly, “and she didn’t have to suffer the ignominy of being David Platt’s first girlfriend. Then again, she has to worry about a subsequent career, and looking like a dickhead for quitting such a successful role, whereas I get to disappear quietly into oblivion.”
The actors who played her on-screen lovers have been open with their dismay at the actress’s being written out of existence so ruthlessly. “Clearly, I couldn’t even look at a woman like Tina McIntyre in real life” confessed Craig Gazey, who played Graeme Proctor (sidekick of the late Steven Arnold) in the soap from 2008 to 2011, “I can only hope and pray for a Bobby Ewing style ‘it was all a dream’ scenario, or an almost equally ridiculous staged death plot device.” Chris Fountain, similarly, was unable to conceal his fury at the fickleness of fortune: “My fictional alter ego Tommy Duckworth actually got to do it with McIntyre on a number of occasions” the disgraced former star raved, shaking his fists at the heavens, “I haven’t even seen her bum. It’s all so howlingly unfair!”
Norris Cole, uncharacteristically, declined to comment.