Former Coronation Street star Sarah Lancashire has criticised "ludicrous prejudice" against soap actors by producers and agents, and says she has not ruled out a return to a soap role.

Lancashire, who played barmaid Raquel Wolstenhulme on the soap between 1987 and 1996, with a brief reappearance in 2000, told Radio Times magazine: "Soaps are a double-edged sword."

"There can be prejudice from some writers and producers who feel you will lower the currency of their work if you've been in one. You have to rise above such ludicrous prejudice," she said.

Lancashire went on to star in Lark Rise to Candleford and Last Tango in Halifax after Coronation Street and currently plays a police sergeant in new BBC One drama Happy Valley. 

"Sometimes it's necessary for soaps to hang on to an audience by sensationalising, but it's a beast I don't understand any more, an art form that has fostered extraordinary talent," she said.

"It's a great arena to learn your craft before you move on. There's no such thing as a 'soap' actor, though."

Lancashire added that she would never rule out a return to soapland. 

"I won't say I'd never go back to a soap because an actor's life is so precarious. You can have the most wonderful patch when everyone wants to work with you, and in the blink of an eye the phone won't ring for a month, even a year," she said.