IT is many people’s worst nightmare; discovering your online account has been hacked and intimate photographs of you have been shared all over the internet.

For Melissa John’s, it marked a real turning point in her life.

“When this happened to me in 2018 I had two choices,” said Melissa who has starred as Imogen Pascoe in Coronation Street and Miss Scott in Grantchester.

“I could hide away and pretend it didn’t happen and didn’t exist and always carry around this weird shame or embarrassment thinking that the world was talking about me but I couldn’t talk back.

“Lots of people have chosen to do that and I don’t blame them at all for dealing with it in that way.

“But perhaps it’s because I’m a bit too gobby but I just thought I can’t not say anything about this.

“Yes, initially when my agent phoned me on a Monday morning to tell me a newspaper had got hold of the photos and was planning on using them I felt like the world was falling apart around me. I did lots of crying but then I did something that made me to do something about it; I forced myself to go online and see how the pictures had been used an what people were saying about me and my body.

“I’d never read anything like it in my life, it was utterly disgusting and that’s what fuelled the fire.”

The result was Snatched, a one-woman show which Melissa is bringing to The Lowry tomorrow night for its world premiere before it transfers to London and which she will then take on tour around the country.

In it she champions everyone’s right to be proud of their body.

“If this happened to somebody, if their body was suddenly shown to the world it is terrifying and with Snatched I never want to take away from anybody that you should be angry and upset when someone disrespects your privacy.

“What happened to me shouldn’t have happened, that’s the bottom line. Someone shouldn’t have hacked my iCloud and put images of me on porn sites and all over the internet.

“I have every right to continue to be angry about that but what I don’t want to be angry or upset or ashamed about is my body. I don’t want to feel shame for what I did; I am entitled to enjoy my body in any way that I can.”

Melissa was born without a right forearm or hand and is now an active campaigner for disability rights and as a leading member of TripleC an organisation which works with deaf, disabled, and/or neurodivergent people across the arts was part of the group who received a special award at the recent Bafta Craft Awards.

But she admits that for many years she tried to hide her disability.

“I hated the body that I had,” she said. “I would hide my arm from the world. You become a master of manipulation; you know how to stand and conduct yourself so people don’t realise you only have one arm. I would go on dates and hide it; I’d say I was going to the toilet but really I was going to the kitchen and asking them to cut up my food. It was like a full time job but when I got to 26 or 27 I just thought I can’t do this any more, it was too draining.”

Although the photo leak was the catalyst which led to Snatched, the show also looks at how Melissa came to embrace her body and not shy away from it.

“My grandad, who sadly is no longer with us, got a video camera in 1990 the year I was born and effectively documented my life growing up,” she said. “In 2017 I remember watching some of these beautiful videos which showed this little girl who had so much freedom and didn’t care how people saw her and I suddenly realised that I wasn’t giving that little girl the life she deserved.”

Melissa is quick to point out that Snatched is an highly entertaining night out.

“If I’d wanted to do a Ted Talk, I’d have done a Ted Talk,” she said. “It’s just me on stage taking the audience on a journey, having a good laugh and hopefully opening up their minds to a few things along the way. I certainly haven’t held back.

“I didn’t ask for this to happen to me but the world wrote a story about me without my voice in it and hopefully this is my time to talk back.”

Melissa has never found out who hacked her account but it’s not something she’s interested in pursuing.

“I could either use my energy to try and track down the people doing it and probably not get anywhere or I could spend time letting the next generation know that they shouldn’t be ashamed of their bodies and that’s the path I took with Snatched."

Snatched, The Lowry, Salford Quays, tomorrow and Saturday. Details from