National Television Awards 2023: Sarah Lancashire’s NTA speech, career history - who is husband Peter Salmon?

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Sarah Lancashire took to the stage twice last night as she won two awards - here’s what they were, what she said and her background including career history and her husband

Sarah Lancashire fought back to tears as she delivered an emotional speech at the National Television Awards as she was honoured with the Special Recognition Award following a heartwarming welcome on stage by Sir Ian McKellan.

Addressing the audience following a rousing standing ovation, Sarah said: “You have no idea what it’s like to have so many lovely things said about you by so many people you love and admire. This gentleman [Sir Ian] in particular.

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“I have been so very fortunate to spend my working life doing a job that I love, made possible by brilliantly talented people - producers, directors, writers, actors - and I am exceptionally lucky to have enjoyed every moment of it.

“But there are also enablers who stand very quietly in the wings without expectation or due credit, they are my family, my husband, my children, my friends, my agent Nick, thank you.

“And of course a very vital component in this is you, the audience. Without you, all this would grind to a crashing halt. So carry on doing what you’re doing, keep watching, and we’ll keep doing what we do. Thank you so much for this, it’s very special.”

Prior to this, Sarah took to stage as she scooped up the award for Drama Performance for her portrayal of Sergeant Catherine Cawood in BBC’s Happy Valley - which also won the Returning Drama prize.

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She told the crowd upon accepting the gong: “Thank you so much for this. I have adored every scene, every moment of Happy Valley. And I know I will never forget it, nor the brilliant people that I’ve worked with, the way the BBC have supported us.”

The 58-year-old has a long career spanning four decades. After graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1986 she was cast in television programmes including Coronation Street (1991–1996, 2000), Where the Heart Is (1997–1999), Clocking Off (2000) and Seeing Red (2000) all of which earned her widespread recognition.

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In July 2000 Lancashire signed a two-year golden handcuffs contract with the ITV network, which made her the UK’s highest-paid television actress. Since 2010, her career has really kicked on, with roles in the drama series Last Tango in Halifax (2012–2020), Happy Valley (2014–2023) and Julia (2022–present).

Lancashire has three children and since 2001, has been married to British television producer and executive Peter Salmon. He is Chief Creative Officer of global content creator, producer and distributor Endemol Shine Group.

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