Coronation Street star Sally Dynevor has said she is “still in shock” at being made an MBE for services to drama.
The actress has played the ambitious Sally Webster in the soap since 1986, having made her television debut a year earlier in an episode of police drama Juliet Bravo, playing Wendy Cunningham, a troubled schoolgirl who becomes a heroin addict.
The 57-year-old said: “I am humbled, grateful and very proud to have received this honour. I am still in shock.
“I didn’t believe it was real when I first found out earlier this month that I was to be given an MBE. Keeping it a secret has been so difficult.
“During the 60th anniversary of Coronation Street I was reminded daily of my time on the show – the young girl in those scenes 35 years ago could only have dreamed of the incredible things that were going to happen in the coming years.
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“I am so blessed to have met and worked with some wonderful people, not only on Coronation Street but also through the incredible charity Prevent Breast Cancer, their founder, Lester Barr, and their amazing fundraising team. This honour is as much for them as it is for me.
“I also want to thank my beautiful family, Tim, Phoebe, Sam and Hattie, for their constant love and support.”
Dynevor’s character arrived in Weatherfield on January 27 1986, when Kevin Webster, played by Michael Le Vell, drove past her in his van and accidentally splashed her while she was waiting for a bus.
She went on to have an on-off relationship and then marriage with Kevin, which has been one of her defining storylines.
She was later the victim of domestic violence at the hands of boyfriend Greg Kelly (Stephen Billington), and was also diagnosed with breast cancer.
Among other prominent storylines, she has survived a minibus crash, embarked on a political career and become mayor, been wrongfully imprisoned for fraud, and been injured when the roof of the local factory collapsed.
In 2013, Sally began a relationship with Tim Metcalfe, played by Joe Duttine, and the couple eventually married.
In 2015 Dynevor praised the writers for reinventing her character and said she was delighted to be given the chance to do more comedy in the role.
John Whiston, managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the North for ITV Studios, said: “We on Coronation Street are thrilled that Sally Dynevor has been honoured by the Queen.
“Every episode of Coronation Street is cheerier, warmer and much, much funnier for having the character she plays, Sally Metcalfe, in it.
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“It takes a uniquely special talent to create such a beloved character and then sustain that over an incredible 35 years.
“Sally Dynevor has that talent in abundance. But she is also a hugely generous actor, taking younger actors under her wing and generally making our world of work a better and kinder place, and for that we are all hugely grateful.
“And just imagine how proud Sally Metcalfe would have been had it been her who had got an MBE. You’d never have heard the end of it!”
Off screen, Dynevor is married to Emmerdale scriptwriter Tim Dynevor and has been followed into acting by her daughter Phoebe, 25, who is the star of new Netflix series Bridgerton.
The couple are also parents to daughter Harriet and son Samuel.