Skip to main content

'Coronation Street saved my life' — Weatherfield legend Sally Dynevor reveals the shocking moment life cruelly imitated art

Coronation Street's Sally Dynevor attends the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards
Sally Dynevor has revealed a Coronation Street storyline saved her. (Image credit: Getty)

Coronation Street legend Sally Dynevor has opened up about how playing the role of Sally Metcalfe has saved her life. 

The Coronation Street favourite has played the role of Sally since 1986, but while the character might have survived prison, had a grand total of ten affairs and been the subject of domestic abuse, Sally's most memorable storyline came when she discovered she had breast cancer in 2009. 

During Dynevor's research for the storyline, she then made the devastating discovery that she also had breast cancer in real life.

"Unfortunately, or fortunately, at the same time, I found out I had breast cancer. Life imitating art, I suppose. If I didn’t have these scripts, I would never have checked myself. Coronation Street saved my life," Sally told The Guardian (opens in new tab)

Sally's night of passion turns sour.

Sally has been in Coronation Street since 1986.  (Image credit: ITV)

Oncology surgeon Lester Barr, who was a consultant on Sally's cancer storyline on Coronation Street was the one who told Dynevor she had cancer: "I thought he was mixing me up with the character. I had to leave the show for six months, but I wanted to carry on because I had this great storyline. It sounds crazy now. I thought ‘I’ll have the lumpectomy and be back at work on Monday.'"

But sadly Sally's treatment was more extensive than that, and she faced a grueling round of chemotherapy to fight cancer.

Luckily Sally's treatment was a success and she was able to return to the job she has now been doing for the last 36 years... "I was wearing a wig and I walked on the cobbles on my own. I was so glad to be back. It was a place just for me, away from real life, from my children. I was thinking: ‘I am so lucky to have this job’ and I still feel that today."

Sally Dynevor says she's watched 'Dancing On Ice' for years.

Sally recently appeared in Dancing On Ice.  (Image credit: ITV)

Most recently Sally has taken on the challenge of a lifetime appearing in Dancing On Ice 2022. But despite new challenges away from the cobbles, her heart has always belonged in Weatherfield, even when Jean Alexander, who played Coronation Street's Hilda Ogden told her she should go out and explore the world just five years into her time on the soap. 

Thankfully for soap fans, Sally didn’t take her advice... “Some actors don’t like it – they don’t enjoy the length and the process. But some thrive there, and I’m one of those.”

Coronation Street airs hour-long episodes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8 pm on ITV — see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on episodes on ITV Hub.

Claire Crick
Claire Crick

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 


After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off


She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 


As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.