She was an Albert Square favourite when she played Hattie Tavernier in Eastenders from 1990 to 1993 and won an army of fans for her starring role. The Tavernier family, including Clyde, Jules, and Lloyd were the first collective Black family to join the soap together.
But Michelle Gayle would go on the conquer more than the acting world and scored herself several chart hits after leaving EastEnders. The stunning star managed to score an incredible seven top 40 hits in the 1990s, with tunes like Sweetness and Do You Know, along with two smash hit albums.
However, her life as a pop star was not to last and in 1997, Michelle split from her record label and returned to her acting roots. EastEnders wasn’t the 52-year-old’s first TV role, however, and she first burst onto our screens all the way back in 1988 when she was cast as Fiona Wilson, who was part of the rap group Fresh ‘n’ Fly, in the children’s BBC television programme Grange Hill.
Since then she has been a regular on the small screen with parts in Doctors and Holby City. Michelle even joined the Loose Women panel back in 1997.
Just last year Michelle guest starred on This Morning, and viewers were wowed at how young she looked. One tweeted: ‘Michelle Gayle looks at least 30 years younger. #ThisMorning,; tweeted someone else with another insisting: ‘No way is Michelle Gayle in her 50s!! #ThisMorning.’ In an interview with The Mirror in 2019 on stying in shape, Michelle said: “‘I’m not one of these clean-eating people. I’d never starve myself, I cannot bear to be hungry. I just try to eat sensibly.”
“Hitting 50 doesn’t bother me at the moment. Being 48 is tricky with casting. I think the industry has improved. I think it used to be that you had to be under 30 as a woman to be a lead.” She added: “Now there are so many kick-ass women over 40 on TV and the audience loves them.”
And now, the ageless actress has secured herself another iconic role, playing Hermoine Granger in the fourth, fifth and sixth year cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre in London. It isn’t Michelle’s first time treading the West End boards as she played Belle in Beauty and the Beast all the way back in 1999.
Michelle has also branched out from the world of showbiz and published her first novel in 2010, Pride and Premiership. It tells the story of two girls who are desperate to become footballer’s WAGs. At the time, Michelle said: “In the time of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice a woman had to get married to support herself. We’ve got to an age where a woman can support herself but still wants to marry a footballer to support her. I’m not WAG-bashing or footballer-bashing, I just want girls to make informed decisions about their future.”