SHE was the star of the night after picking up three awards at the National Television Awards.
Happy Valley won Best Recurring Drama, while Sarah beat stiff competition for Best Drama Performance.
The actress too was overcome with emotion as she received a special recognition award for her outstanding career spanning four decades.
It was hosted by acting legend Sir Ian McKellen, who moved Sarah to tears and admitted: “There’s a limit to what you can take when people are nice to you.”
Humble Sarah also gave special credit for her role in the ITV series Coronation Street, where she played Raquel Wolstenhulme (later Watts) between 1991 and 1996.
“It’s one of the best training schools in the world,” Sarah told the crowd.
“The caliber of the people you work with in such an intimate way is extraordinary.”
“I’m very proud of my four years at Coronation Street. I’ve been terribly lucky to work with extraordinary people.”
In an exclusive interview with The Sun, Sarah revealed that despite her praise for the soap, she will never return.
“It’s pretty clear why I would never go back, because the show continues to evolve decade after decade.
“When people say, ‘I was on Coronation Street,’ you think, ‘Well, which one?’ They all have a crucial quality.
“I know when I was there in the ’90s it was very specific to that time and place with a voice of writers who were just absolutely brilliant.”
“My god, my character would be so old now, too old for short skirts.
“So no, but you can walk away from it and leave it because you never really leave the characters because they settle into you. A little part of you, kind there, behaves.”
“You don’t leave them completely behind. In a way, you take them with you, you collect them.”
Sarah added, “I always believe that characters choose you, not the other way around.”