Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Lancashire, Sarah (1964-)

Actor, Director

Main image of Lancashire, Sarah (1964-)

Sarah Lancashire made her name playing Raquel Watts in Coronation Street (ITV, 1960-), but succeeded where others failed by leaving the soap and forging a successful TV career.

Coincidentally Lancashire was herself born in Lancashire, specifically Oldham, on 10 October 1964, and trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her father Geoffrey Lancashire was a journalist and scriptwriter who penned 171 episodes of Coronation Street in the 1960s, and his daughter joined the soap briefly in 1987, playing nurse Wendy Farmer. Four years later she returned to the Street as barmaid Raquel Watts, where she enjoyed a five-year run in the show.

From 1997 to 1999 she played Ruth Goddard in Where the Heart Is, a warm- hearted family drama series based at a local health centre. During this period she also starred in Bloomin' Marvellous (BBC, 1997), a comedy about a thirtysomething couple trying to have a baby. After the first series of the popular BBC drama Clocking Off (2000), ITV executives saw that Lancashire's appeal would suit their perceived target audience for their evening drama slot and in July 2000 they signed her up for an exclusive two-year deal for her to star in a number of series. The move paid off when she won a National Television Award for Most Popular Actress for Seeing Red (ITV, tx. 19/3/2000), the drama based on the life of actress and child-carer Coral Atkins.

During this period Lancashire became the female face of ITV drama starring in programmes such as The Glass (2001), the detective series Rose and Maloney (2002-2005) and playing Gertrude in an adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers (2002).

In 2004 Lancashire turned director for Viva Las Blackpool (tx. 29/1/2004) for the BBC's Afternoon Play slot, which garnered her a nomination for Best New Director at the BAFTA television awards. She returned to Blackpool in 2006, this time as a presenter of Disappearing Britain (Five, tx. 20/11/2006), a documentary about the Wakes Week holidays of cotton mill workers.

In recent years Lancashire has continued to appear in popular dramas, starring in the BBC's All the Small Things (2009) and costume dramas such as Oliver Twist (BBC, 2007) and Lark Rise to Candleford (BBC, 2008). She has also broadened her appeal to younger audiences by appearing in E4's cult teen drama Skins (tx. 11/9/2007) and popping up in an episode of Doctor Who (BBC, tx. 5/4/2008).

Eddie Dyja

More information


From the BFI's filmographic database

Related media

Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Clocking Off (2000-03)Clocking Off (2000-03)

Smart, lively series of urban stories created by rising star Paul Abbott

Thumbnail image of Coronation Street (1960- )Coronation Street (1960- )

Britain's longest-running soap opera marked its half-century in 2010

Thumbnail image of Coronation Street - The 1990sCoronation Street - The 1990s

Trying times for the denizens of the North West's most famous street

Related collections

Related people and organisations