Sarah Lancashire is an English television, film and theatre actress who has also presented and directed for television. Lancashire trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 1986. She began her career in the theatre, also making occasional television appearances. For the first five years of her acting career Lancashire also taught drama at Salford University in order to supplement her income.
In 1991 Lancashire began her first prominent television role as Raquel Wolstenhulme in the ITV1 television soap opera Coronation Street . She remained part of the series' cast until 1996 before departing in order to experience other roles. Following this she went on to play Ruth Goddard, an inaugural lead in the ITV drama series Where the Heart Is between 1997 and 1999. After a one-off return to Coronation Street and achieving critical and popular success with performances in the BBC drama series Clocking Off and as Coral Atkins in the television film Seeing Red in the year 2000, Lancashire signed a two year golden handcuffs with the ITV network, making her the highest paid salaried actress in UK television.