Happy Valley actress Sarah Lancashire praised Coronation Street when collecting her Special Recognition gong at the NTAs yesterday (September 5).
The cobbled streets of Weatherfield are of course Lancashire's old stomping ground, where she played Raquel Wolstenhulme (later Watts) between 1991 and 1996.
Speaking to press (including Digital Spy) backstage at the National Television Awards, Lancashire was asked whether she believes her career proves just how powerful soaps can be for a star's trajectory.
"When I was in Coronation Street, we had a phenomenal writing team in the '90s and every soap evolves every decade, and my decade was blessed with Paul Abbott, Sally Wainwright [and] Frank Cottrell-Boyce," replied Lancashire.
Lancashire continued: "It's one of the best training schools in the world, it really is, but the calibre of people that you're working with and in such immediate fashion is extraordinary.
"I'm very proud of my four years in Coronation Street. I was terribly lucky to work with extraordinary people."
Meanwhile, having presented Lancashire with the Special Recognition Award, Lord of the Rings star Ian McKellen went on to compare her to British acting greats like Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith.
"There are in this country great theatre actors, there are great film actors, cinema stars, but do we ever think of our actors on television as being great in the same way?" he said.
"This is Sarah Lancashire and she's doing it in your own homes on your television, [and that] just makes it more special than all the rest, frankly."
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm on ITV1 and streams on ITVX.
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