Cindy, the bitch. Or perhaps one should more sensitively refer to the late Cindy, that misguided, duplicitous, hard-as-nails EastEnders anti- heroine, who has just departed from this soap earth. Michelle Collins played the role of Cindy Beale, the spectacularly unfaithful spouse of the bitter and twisted anorak that is Ian Beale, from the soap's early days until her recent tragic demise. Michelle is also known for her colourful love life. Now she has announced to the ever sympathetic Hello! that the "volatile" relationship with the father of her child is over.
Ageing Marbella sun lover. Skeletal grin and smoulder. Poor man's Courtney Cox. Owner of sophisticated sunbed and hairdressing salon for the ladies.
Ever since she stepped into the world's least cheerful soap as the girl who worked on the hat stall and scored with Wicksy, Cindy has been making trouble like you wouldn't believe. Oooh, the nasty little slapper. Oooh, the temper tantrum throwing little snake. Like a fags-and-peroxide Alexis Carrington, Cindy worked her way from market stall to prison as a celebrated 'ard cow to a nation of addicts.
Michelle, 35, has enjoyed, shall we say, a colourful love life. "I probably haven't been very good at choosing the men in my life," she says. Her most public affair was with a motorbike dealer she met in a bar. She had an on-off relationship with said Romeo, one Fabrizio Tassalini, gave birth his child, Maia Rose, now two, and underwent a frenzy of turbulent tabloid-flavoured love dramas. "He wasn't the violent Italian stallion people painted him as," says Michelle. "Two people who love each other can still destroy each other," she adds.
That scheming hussy Cindy Beale drifted in and out of the Square for a decade. Good riddance to the little madam. Now tired of playing nasty bits of work, Michelle is enjoying a most suitable role: as a head holiday rep in a Cyprus resort. This is in a series equally suitably entitled Sunburn. Michelle is also filming another series of Real Women with Pauline Quirke. Cor luvaduck.
"I'm pretty tough. I'll always be all right," claims our protagonist. And though Michelle will no doubt forever be followed with squawking cries of "Cindy" or "Ooh you cow", she is already busy proving that there is life after soap. A fondness for the celebrity circuit party and the paparazzi camera should do the rest.