Hayley says her final goodbye

Hayley says her final goodbye

Coronation Street's much loved character Hayley Cropper will say her final goodbye on Monday 20 January when she decides it is time to end her life.

For months viewers have watched as Hayley learned the devastating news that she had terminal pancreatic cancer and decided to make the most of the time she had left.

This included making a 'bucket list' that involved a trip to Blackpool, an unusual camping trip and a vow to make sure husband Roy finally learned how to drive.

But as Hayley's condition deteriorates, she finally decides to go through with her plan to bring her suffering to an end before the treatment for cancer renders her incapable of doing so.

Determined not to implicate Roy in her suicide Hayley has planned everything and even his last minute pleas for her to change her mind do not soften her resolve.

Since the storyline has been brought to TV screens, it has reignited the Right to Die debate.

And in coming weeks the two sides of the debate will be shown on the soap as Roy struggles to deal with the fact that Hayley took her own life against his wishes. Fiz will also voice her dismay at the decision when she discovers the truth.

Coronation Street Producer Stuart Blackburn explained the decision to explore this difficult and controversial issue.

He said: "Hayley has been through such a lot in her life and is very concerned about losing control as the disease progresses.

"The palliative care Hayley receives is superb but she is scared and fears that pain relief could cause confusion and a loss of clarity. She feels taking control is the right thing for her to do.

"She is concerned that she might regress back to being her former male self, Harold. She has already had one such nightmare.

Hayley came to the decision that she wanted to die in peace, to die with her clarity of thought still intact and most of all to die as Hayley - the identity she has spent her whole life fighting to be.

Stuart Blackburn, Coronation Street Producer

"Once she knew that she has a very short time left to live she set about getting her life in order so that she could take control of her final moments before the illness renders her incapable of doing so.

"This is a very sensitive issue and we will be exploring the effects of her decision on husband Roy who has a huge emotional and moral dilemma over her choice to die this way.

"Not everyone will feel Hayley's decision is the right one and we fully respect this, for that reason we will be exploring both sides of the debate on screen."

Actress Julie Hesmondhalgh said that she could understand Hayley's decision: "I'm a member of the British Humanist Association so I have quite strong views in favour of it, obviously with all the constraints that have to be carefully laid out to make sure it's not abused.

"I think everybody who is in favour of that bill will be at pains to say that as it is so easily exploited and misused in the wrong hands. When you see the cases that have gone through, it's hard not to be in favour of it.

"When you see people whose minds are extremely keen and alert but whose bodies have gone, it's heart breaking. I wouldn't want to live in that pain and anguish, or see my family and friends go through it."

I've always really understood Hayley's decision.

Julie Hesmondhalgh (Hayley Cropper)

Speaking about filming her last scenes, the actress said there was "an almost holy atmosphere" on set.

She filmed the scene in one take with David Neilson who plays her on-screen husband Roy and said she was "shocked" at how upsetting it was to watch it again.

She said: "It didn't seem like I was watching anything to do with me at all, it was just these two characters that I really loved and seeing the end of their love story, oh yeah there were tears. My husband was absolutely devastated".

"The way it had been directed was very carefully done. There was an almost holy atmosphere on set and we only did one take.

"Kay Patrick, the director, made sure that everything was in place before we went for it so we weren't having to keep doing it over and over which is why it's quite raw I think".

Coronation Street airs on UTV Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7.30pm.


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