She's just won a BAFTA and is a hit with the critics for her performance as gritty cop Cartherine Cawood in Happy Valley.

Sarah Lancashire has come a long way since first appearing on the small screen as ditzy Raquel Watts in Coronation Street.

 

The BBC One police drama continues tonight at 9pm - but until then, here's a few facts about the Lancashire actress making big waves in on the small screen.

  1. Born in Oldham, Lancashire, on October 10, 1964. Sarah will celebrate her 50th birthday this year.
  2. She attended the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama, which boasts Trainspotting and Moulin Rouge star Ewan McGregor, Homeland actor Damien Lewis, Hollywood star Orlando Bloom, singer and pianist Myleene Klass and Britain's Got Talent's Amanda Holden among its alumni.
  3. After graduating from Guildhall, Sarah taught drama at Salford University, which she said gave her confidence.
  4. Sarah's breakthrough role was barmaid Raquel Watts in Coronation Street, a character she played from 1991-1996 before returning for one last episode in 2000.
    Click below to watch Sarah Lancashire's time on the Street
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  5. Sarah is the daughter of Geoffrey Lancashire, a television scriptwriter who wrote 150 episodes of Coronation Street before Sarah joined the cast.
  6. From 1997 to 1999 she played Ruth Goddard in Where The Heart Is, filmed in Marsden.
  7. In 1999 she also appeared alongside comedienne Dawn French in series four of dark comedy Murder Most Horrid.
  8. As well as television, Sarah has also performed in radio programmes, including BBC Radio 4's legal drama Chambers.
  9. Sarah was also cast in the television version of the sitcom, reprising her role as Ruth Quirke in 2000.
  10. In 2000 Sarah won a National Television Award for her portrayal of actress Coral Atkins in TV drama Seeing Red.
  11. In the same year, she bagged a Television and Radio Industry Club Award for Clocking Off, a BBC One series about a Manchester textile family.
  12. Happy Valley is not Sarah's first crime-based drama - in 2004/2005 she played Rose Lindon to Phil Davis' Marion Maloney in ITV drama Rose and Maloney.
    Sarah Lancashire played Rose in Rose and Maloney, alongside Phil Davis.
    Sarah Lancashire played Rose in Rose and Maloney, alongside Phil Davis.
     
  13. And her dulcet Lancashire tones narrated critically acclaimed costume drama Lark Rise to Candleford, as the adult voice of Laura Timmins, from 2008-2011.
  14. Sarah returned to Huddersfield for Sally Wainwright's BAFTA-winning drama Last Tango in Halifax, partly filmed in Marsden. Scenes for the second series were also shot at Blackley Baptist Church, near to Ainley Top.
  15. Sarah was nominated for the BAFTA for supporting actress two years in her row for her performance in Last Tango in Halifax, playing Celia's daughter Caroline.
  16. At the 2014 awards, held at the Theatre Royal in London, Sarah finally triumped in the category, beating her Last Tango in Halifax on-screen sister Caroline Walker, who played Gillian.
    Happy Valley star Sarah Lancashire won the Supporting Actress Award for Last Tango in Halifax
    Happy Valley star Sarah Lancashire won the Supporting Actress Award for Last Tango in Halifax
     
  17. Sally Wainwright said she wrote the part of Catherine Cawood in Happy Valley with Sarah Lancashire in mind after being 'blown away' by her performance in Last Tango in Halifax.
  18. Sarah went out with police officers in Calderdale in preparation for the role, and even learned how to correctly put someone in handcuffs.
  19. She is a mum-of-six, with three sons of her own, and three she is step mother to, aged from 11 to late twenties.
  20. She is married to the director of BBC North, Peter Salmon.

Happy Valley trivia: 20 facts about the police drama set in Sowerby Bridge

BAFTA glory for Broadchurch, In The Flesh and Last Tango in Halifax star Sarah Lancashire  

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