In 1991 Sarah Lancashire burst onto our television screens as the nice but dim Raquel Wolstenhulme in Coronation Street. She stole the heart of nerdy Street resident Curly Watts (Kevin Kennedy) and quickly found herself in the middle of a love triangle with lothario, Des Barnes (Philip Middlemiss). Lancashire brought a sensitive side to what could have easily become a purely comedy role. She stayed with the long running soap until 1996, and her impact was such that she was quickly in demand for pastures new.
Playing Ruth in Where the Heart is alongside Pam Ferris and a role in Clocking Off. In 2000 she signed a contract with ITV for exclusivity which made her the highest paid actress in UK television.
Lancashire’s popularity has continued to escalate, drawing in crowds to the West End with her critically acclaimed performance as Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls in 2006.
Last Tango in Halifax has moved her career up another notch as she makes a dream team mother and daughter duo with legend, Anne Reid. Playing the part of Caroline who has declared herself a lesbian after her marriage to John (Tony Gardner) has effectively ended, has shown yet another dimension to Lancashire’s ability.
Sally Wainwright is the writer behind Last Tango in Halifax and also Happy Valley, the second series of which is currently airing on BBC One. It seems that Lancashire and Wainwright go hand in hand as the former takes the lead role of Catherine Cawood. This gritty drama which should more aptly be named Unhappy Valley, provides a stark contrast which showcases Lancashire’s talents, again.
It seems there are no bounds to Miss Lancashire’s acting talents and The Street was just the start. Raquel’s chandelier earrings are now abandoned in favour of a hi-vis vest!
*Feature photo courtesy of What’s On TV