Sarah Lancashire (born 10 October 1964) is an English television, film and theatre actress, from Oldham. She trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 1986. In order to support herself, she taught drama at Salford University for five years alongside her acting career. Following a stint in the musical Blood Brothers in London's West-End in 1990, Lancashire was cast as Raquel Wolstenhulme in the long-running ITV soap opera Coronation Street in 1991. After leaving the series in 1996 Lancashire found further popular success with roles in Where the Heart Is (1997-1999), Clocking Off (2000) and the television film Seeing Red (2000). In the Summer of 2000 Lancashire signed a two-year golden handcuffs contract with ITV, making her the highest paid actress in UK television.