With all the television stars it has spawned, Bury could be twinned with "Soapland".

The borough’s streets have been the starting place for many stars of British soap operas over the decades, many of whom have gone on to achieve iconic status.

Everyone is born somewhere, but the preponderance of those originating in Bury is remarkably high.

Equally curious are the links between the town’s famous actors….Jane Danson, who changed her surname from Dawson, arrived on Coronation Street in 1997 and was a member of the infamous Battersby family.

Jane DansonJane Danson (Image: ITV)

Up until the age of one, she lived in Chestnut Avenue, Bury, before the family moved to Warwick Road in Radcliffe.

The Bury Times often runs stories about local people who have won holiday camp competitions, and that's how Jane and her family first hit the headlines.

A vacation to the Pontin's holiday centre at Brean Sands, Somerset, in 1987 saw them dazzling other holidaymakers with their performance skills.

Mr Dawson, then a 42-year-old bricklayer, took the title of male disco dancing champion, Mrs Dawson was second in the Silver Lady contest, and Jane herself won the Junior talent competition with the comical song, Hannibal the Cannibal.

Impressed bluecoats spotted her talent and urged Jane's parents to take it seriously. So, they got her a place at Oldham's famous Theatre Workshop when she was 10.

At that age Jane's dream was to be a singer, rather than an actress and her heroes were Kylie and Jason. In fact, it was her singing voice that first made her stand out at St Andrew's CE Primary School in Radcliffe.

"It was beautiful," recalled her former headteacher, Mrs Alwen Bowes.

After her first holiday camp win, Jane entered contests every time the family went on holiday and in 1989 her rendition of The Bangles' hit, Eternal Flame, won her family a week in Scarborough.

Thanks to her involvement with Oldham Theatre Workshop, Jane quickly came to the attention of casting directors. This led to radio and television appearances in such programmes as Sloggers and Children's Ward.

But it was her role in Alan Bleasdale’s 1991 drama, GBH, that brought her most attention. As the disturbed Eileen Critchley, she was a central character in the drama which also starred Robert Lindsay and Michael Palin.

Another pre-fame soap star who first appeared in the pages of the Bury Times was Jennie McAlpine.

 Jennie McAlpineJennie McAlpine (Image: Supplied)

Born in Bury, Jennie grew up in Holme Avenue, where she would often put on shows for neighbours, charging them 50p each.

In 1997, we reported how the then-13-year-old Jennie came second in the Young Comedian of the Year competition in the final at the Comedy Store in London. Her set detailed what it was like to be a teenager, and her dad, Thomas’, obsession with the World Cup.

After that, she performed as a stand-up comedian at pubs and charity nights around Bury with her dad.

It was her dad who first encouraged her to go on the stage, and Jennie took up amateur dramatics at the age of eight. In one pantomime she performed with the Bury Parish Players, Jennie was the fairy and her dad was the dame.

Her first brush with soap came in 1999 when she played the character of Michell Morley in three episodes of Emmerdale.

The former Holy Cross College student was 17 when she auditioned for the part of Fiz Brown in Coronation Street, a role that saw her achieve national fame.

A fellow contestant of Jennie’s in the 2017 series of I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! was Bury’s Jamie Lomas.

Jamie is a contender for the UK soap crown, having appeared in Brookside, Coronation Street, Eastenders and Hollyoaks.

Keeping it in the family is his sister, former Philips High School pupil, Charley Webb, who played Debbie Dingle in Emmerdale for more than a decade.

Charley WebbCharley Webb (Image: Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Her soap grandfather, the legendary Zak Dingle, was played by Steve Halliwell, who died aged 77 in December.

Born in Bury in 1946, Steve worked in local cotton and paper mills before joining Mountview Theatre School.

Steve was a founding member of the Interchange Theatre in Bury, and wrote plays, which were performed at Bury Met.

Steve HalliwellSteve Halliwell (Image: Matt Crossick/PA)

In Emmerdale, Zak Dingles’ niece is Mandy, played by Tottington’s Lisa Riley.

In 1994 she appeared in Coronation Street as an uncredited Bettabuys supermarket worker. A year later she crossed the Pennines to become the iconic Mandy.

The impact she made earned her the Most Popular Newcomer title at the 1996 National Television Awards.

Since then her career has gone from strength-to strength, and includes hosting You’ve Been Framed and appearing in Fat Friends alongside James Corden.

Lisa RileyLisa Riley (Image: Supplied)

In 2012 Lisa reached the semi-final of Strictly Come Dancing, where she dazzled one and all by doing the splits.

Another local soap star who donned the Strictly sequins was Hollyoaks’, Gemma Atkinson.

The former Castlebrook High School, who once dated Cristiano Ronaldo, came second in the 2017 series of the dance show.

Despite her stardom, Gemma has never forgotten her Bury roots, and is the president of Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary.

Gemma AtkinsonGemma Atkinson (Image: Supplied)

With her partner, Strictly professional, Gorka Marquez, she has recently starred in the fly-on-the-wall documentary, Gemma and Gorka: Life Behind the Lens.

The roster of Bury soap stars also includes former Elton High School pupil Georgia May Foote, who played Kat Armstrong in Coronation Street, Anthony Cotton, who played Sean Tully, and Helen Flanagan, who played Rosie Webster.

Although not born in Bury, four iconic Coronation Street actors had strong links with the town.

Liz Dawn, who played loudmouth Vera Duckworth, lived in the large bungalow at the junction of Bury New Road and Well Lane in Whitefield.

At the height of her fame, she said she loved living there because it overlooked Elms council estate, which kept her close to her working-class roots.

Julie Goodyear, from Heywood, married her second husband, Tony Rudman, at Bury Parish Church in 1973, and was a regular shopper at Bury Market.

Peter Adamson, better known as Len Fairclough spent 30 years living in Bury. Born in Liverpool, he first came to the town in 1950 with the Fortesque Players, who produced their plays at the old Bury Hippodrome.

Three years later, he married local girl Jean Duncan, a weaver, and decided to make his home in the town.

The couple had two children, Michael and Greig, and over the years lived at several addresses in the area, including Andrew Street, Heywood Street and Walmersley Road, Bury, and Longsight Road in Holcombe Brook.

Finally, there was Doris Speed, who played the snobbish landlady of the Rovers Return from when the show began in 1960 to 1983.

In her later years she lived at Highbank Nursing Home, in Walshaw, Bury, where she died in 1994.