Sue Johnston forever changed by sexual assault

Sue Johnston was attacked when she was 27 credit:Bang Showbiz
Sue Johnston was attacked when she was 27 credit:Bang Showbiz

Sue Johnston is still affected by the sexual assault she suffered 50 years ago.

The 78-year-old soap legend can't bear to have someone run up behind her and has to move out of the way because it brings back memories of her horrific ordeal when she was 27.

She said: “I can’t, even now 50 years later, have somebody run up behind me.

“I have to step aside. I think it’s just an instinct. People do things and they walk away from it and have no idea of the impact and the horror of how they have affected people’s lives. And it does, it changes your life.”

In 1986, Sue had to relive her ordeal when her 'Brookside' character, Sheila Grant, was raped, and she admitted she was "so scared" that she'd lose control filming the harrowing scenes, but ultimately it was "good therapy".

Speaking to Sandi Toksvig on Channel 4 TV show 'Extraordinary Escapes', she said: “I had been sexually attacked when I was 27. And I’d never talked about it.

“When they called me and said they were going to do this storyline, I told them it happened exactly how I’d been attacked.

“I was so scared that the reality would cross with the fantasy, that I wouldn’t be able to control myself. But actually it released something in me that I was able to talk about it. It was good therapy for me.”

Sandi admitted she was "proud" of her friend for opening up to her on the programme but wasn't sure at first producers would broadcast their emotional conversation.

She said: “There’s a surprising conversation that she and I have over a cup of tea.

“She started talking so honestly about her life. I thought there’s no way they’ll broadcast this because I had tears running down my face but it’s in the show and I’m proud of it.”

The 'Royle Family' actress first spoke about her ordeal in her autobiography, writing that she feared she'd be killed before she was able to fight off her attacker and escape.