Sally Ann Matthews was born in Oldham on 19th September, 1970, the daughter of local headteachers. Although she planned to go to university and train as a speech therapist, she had joined the Oldham Theatre Workshop as a child, appearing in many productions and it was because of the links of the theatre (who also provided Anne Kirkbride, Sally Whittaker and Sean Wilson for Coronation Street) that she successfully auditioned to play the part of papergirl Jenny Bradley and thus bring her father Alan into Rita Fairclough's life. As she was only fifteen at the time she first appeared in the Street in January 1986, she initially combined her acting work with her continuing studies at the Blue Coat School in Oldham.
Jenny was involved in some of the biggest storylines in the programme in the late 1980s and stayed as a regular until March 1991. She returned briefly in September and October 1993, before resuming the role between February and June 2015 and again from January 2016 onwards. Matthews has appeared regularly on television in series such as City Central, Heartbeat, Emmerdale and Doctors. She has also had many stage and radio roles.