We all love to hate a soap baddie don’t we? And for me, Michael Moon is one of the best ever soapy villains…
And that’s because Steve John Shepherd plays him in such an understated way – with just a hint of the malevolence that lies beneath – that it’s a joy to watch, even when Michael’s fleecing poor, vulnerable Jean Slater.
As we saw a few weeks ago, not only did Jean (Gillian Wright) give her scratch card winnings of £8k to Michael by way of an ‘investment’ in the boxing gym, but she also handed over Alfie’s (Shane Richie) life savings too, which he has yet to find out about.
And in coming weeks, as her finances are increasingly strained, Jean begs Michael to give her the money back. When he refuses, Jean ‘fesses up to Alfie about what she’s done, however, when Alfie confronts Michael, he denies all knowledge of the transaction…
By the time it all comes to a head, Michael and Janine (Charlie Brooks) are off to Paris on their honeymoon, but when Michael returns, he continues to deny ever having taken money from Jean, and wickedly points to her bi-polar disorder, claiming she’s imagined the whole thing.
While talking to All About Soap magazine about the plotline, Steve said, “The trip gives Michael some time to reconsider what he’s done.
“He’s started a war by denying knowledge of Jean’s money, so now it’s really a case of who can outfox who.
“Michael knows he can’t give Jean any of her cash back, because it’s gone.
“He’s spent it all on taking Janine out for posh suppers. Michael might be good at getting money, but he’s no good at keeping it.
“With Jean, it’s her money and that’s that, but with the money from the Queen Vic, it’s also implicating Kat [Jessie Wallace] and Alfie of course.
“Michael has shifted into dangerous territory, and he knows he’s on dodgy ground.
“He’ll have to pull off something pretty major to get himself out of this mess.”
Finally, of Michael and Janine’s relationship, Steve said, “The ground the couple have built their relationship on is very shaky – it must be doomed to failure.
“But you never quite know where you are with Michael. The wedding might just happen, but then again it might not!”