Coronation Street legend Liz Dawn has revealed her unhappiness in her final two years playing Vera Duckworth, due to her increasing health problems.

Liz, who suffers from the incurable lung disease emphysema, told the Daily Mirror how she struggled to cope with the pressure of working in the popular ITV1 soap during her final years on the show.

The 72-year-old actress said: “My breathing was so bad I thought I was dying. I’d smoked for many years and I’d always had a bit of a cough and a splutter but I was getting worse and worse and I was struggling to breathe.

“I was frightened of letting people down when I was filming. I would cry sometimes because I was so stressed.”

Liz quit the show in 2008 after 34 years in the role, five years after her initial diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in 2003.

The illness meant Liz had difficulty playing her character Vera Duckworth, who died in her sleep next to her husband Jack, played by Bill Tarmey.

She said: “I couldn’t walk more than a few steps without having to sit down and I was so tired I couldn’t even learn my lines.”

Since being diagnosed with the illness, commonly caused by smoking, Liz has become the celebrity ambassador of the British Lung Foundation.

The actress said: “I’d urge anyone to get checked over. As long as you get the right medication you can have a life.

“If I hadn’t got treatment then I’d have had to leave Corrie years before.”