Sarah Lancashire’s connection to Coronation Street began well before she was serving pints behind the Rovers Return bar – her scriptwriter father had worked on more than 100 episodes of the long-running soap and inspired her curiosity for television.
Sarah landed her breakthrough role in 1991 as Raquel Wolstenhulme, the Rovers Return Inn’s scatterbrained, and kind-hearted barmaid, who dreamed of being a fashion model.
Sarah struggled with mental health issues for much of her Coronation Street tenure, made worse by her divorce from her first husband Gary Hargreaves, with whom she had two sons. She left the show in 1996 and later admitted that she struggled to cope with the attention the role brought her.
Born into a family of performers, both Katherine Kelly and her younger sister Grace are actresses.
It was for her role as no-nonsense, feisty Becky McDonald that Katherine won Best Actress at the 2009 British Soap Awards and Best Serial Drama Performance at the 2012 National Television Awards.
Katherine has landed a number of exciting roles since leaving the cobbles in 2012. The busy actress showed off her musical prowess as Baroness Schraeder in the triumphant live broadcast by ITV of The Sound of Music, she starred as Lady Mae in the television series Mr Selfridge, and appeared as Detective Jodie Shackleton in Happy Valley, alongside former Coro star Sarah Lancashire.
Born Sarah-Anne, because her family priest didn’t believe Suranne was a “proper” name, the star says she always wanted to be different.
Suranne joined the Coronation Street cast in 2000 as Karen McDonald. The sassy character has been described as a “bulldog in hoop earrings” and very quickly stole the hearts of many Coro Street fans.
Suranne was keen to prove her versatility as an actress and her decision to walk away from the ITV soap in 2004 shocked both Coro fans and producers. The determined actress said being in a soap opera was exhausting and that she found she was living and breathing her character Karen McDonald.
Julie discovered her love of performing at the tender age of eight, when she was made to prepare a speech and deliver it to her class.
Julie made headlines when she joined the soap in 1998 as timid shop assistant Hayley Cropper, who had a secret past as a man, and was the first transgender character to ever grace the screens in a soap opera.
Julie admitted she was worried about committing professional suicide when she left Coronation Street for good. She knew there was no possibility of her character coming back to the programme because only death could part her from her husband Roy. Plus, she was in her mid-40s, a tough age for an actress to find work. But Julie decided to risk it all and reinvent herself in her career.
Small-town girl Joanne Froggatt left home at the age of 13 to attend the Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead, England. At 16, she made her television debut as a teenage prostitute in The Bill*.
Joanne played Zoe Tattersall, a troubled teen mum who came to the cobbles in 1997.
A number of smaller television roles followed her time as Zoe, then in 2003 Joanne landed the leading role in the controversial one-off drama, Danielle Cable: Eyewitness. This told the true story of a teenage girl who witnessed the murder of her boyfriend in a road rage attack. Joanne was later commended on her portrayal by Danielle Cable herself.
Rob James-Collier stumbled into acting. His first experience with the craft was when he was asked by a desperate friend, who was one actor short, to fill in for his film shoot. Shortly after that, Rob found an acting coach in the Yellow Pages and started taking acting classes after work, and so began the career of this handsome English heart-throb.
The business and marketing graduate gained critical acclaim as Liam Connor in Coronation Street. Liam’s storylines centred on his relationship with his pregnant girlfriend, Maria Sutherland, who he agreed to marry. But secretly Liam was in love with Carla, and they pursued a tumultuous on-off love affair.
Throughout his time on Coronation Street, Rob also had a number of one-off appearances in other television programmes.