EAST Lancashire's former Corrie star, Julie Hesmondhalgh scooped the award for best Serial Drama Performance at last night's National Television Awards.

Accrington-born Julie, whos portrayal of Hayley Cropper suffering from pancreatic cancer gripped the nation won her the gong.

Julie was also up against Coronation Street co-stars David Neilson, who plays Roy Cropper, and Michelle Keegan, who plays Tina McIntyre. Jessie Wallace, from EastEnders was also nominated.

When she collected the award with her on-screen husband Roy, Julie who played the part for 16 years, said that without him there would have been no award.

She said: "We said if either of us were lucky enough to get this tonight that we’d come up together – cos there ain't no Roy without Hayley.

"And there ain't no Hayley without Roy.

"Thanks to our Corrie family – all the way through.

"You know how I feel about all of you – I love you and I miss you – thank you for everything."

David said: "We all love and miss Julie so much, no-one more than me. She stands opposite me and tells me I've got a bogey."

Julie laughed on stage and said: "On a different note, we’re so proud of this storyline – we’d like to thank Samaritans and all the cancer charities, especially Pancreatic Cancer – good luck on your quest for more funding."

Roy and Hayley were introduced by Alma Baldwin back in 1998 and the fictional pair had a blessing ceremony in 1999.

Dedicating the award to three special men in her life, Julie said: "To the great John Hes, my dad who died this time last year and who shared so many of Hayley’s ace qualities, my husband Ian Kershaw for making our beautiful girls.

"And I’d like to thank finally – this man, the great David Neilson - 16 years of wonderfulness."

  • Julie is set to star in two plays at Manchester’s Royal Exchange.

Blindsided, opening on January 23, is written by Simon Stephens and tells the story of a girl growing up in Stockport who falls in love with a man who breaks her heart.

After that Julie will also be reprising her award-winning role as Sylvia Lancaster in Simon Armitage’s moving play Black Roses, about the murdered Bacup teenager Sophie Lancaster, which opens at the end of February.