Corrie boss 'took time' with cancer story

Published Tuesday, 14 January 2014
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Coronation Street Producer, Stuart Blackburn, has said he felt a responsibility to take his time with the Hayley cancer storyline, otherwise it would be an insult to those dealing with the disease.

Corrie boss 'took time' with cancer story
Coronation Street Producer Stuart Blackburn. (© Ken McKay)

Fans of the long-running programme have watched as the much-loved character Hayley Cropper learned she had terminal pancreatic cancer and how she dealt with the devastating news.

The storyline has chronicled how Hayley broke the news to her family and friends as well as her resolution to make and complete a 'bucket list'.

The story also portrayed Hayley's controversial decision to take her own life before the treatment for cancer renders her incapable of doing so.

Speaking to This Morning, Blackburn said he felt a responsibility to show Hayley's cancer journey from beginning to end.

"That was a big fear when we were talking about it," he told hosts Dermot O'Leary and Holly Willoughby.

"We knew that to do it right it would have to be months and that's a really painful journey.

"But through it, like Roy's birthday and Hayley doing the karaoke, we found moments of lightness and moments of real tenderness and love, so I hope we have got it right.

"I think it would be an insult to anyone out there who is going through the same thing for us to rush it.

"So we had to take that responsibility and say we are in it for the long haul here."

Hayley's decision to end her life before the medications she is on means she is not herself, has sparked the Right to Die debate once again and has been featured on the front page of a number of newspapers.

"It's such a sensitive subject," said Blackburn. "It's not just about the right to die, which is big enough, but cancer is something which affects all of us so we knew putting the two together...it was a kind of perfect storm, if you like.

"So the onus on us to get it absolutely right was massive."

Asked if he was surprised by the response the storyline has received, he replied: "It still surprises me now, you think you have got quite used to it and there will be a story that you think is quite small and then suddenly it is all over the front page. It's bigger than anything I've been used to before."

Blackburn took over the helm at Coronation Street last year and has overseen the move of 500 cast and crew from their central Manchester studios to a new state-of-the-art studio in MediaCityUK, as well as being responsible for a huge number of headline-grabbing storylines.

Viewers are particularly keen to see Tina McIntyre's exit later this year, after it was revealed she would be killed off in a murder plot.

"Tina's exit is going to be something really quite spectacular," said Blackburn

"I promised (actress) Michelle Keegan when we knew she was leaving I would leave the door open if she wanted to come back.

"And then one of the writers came up with this brilliant story, I had to sit down with Michelle and say "never trust a producer".

"But it is such a fantastic story, it was irresistible."

© UTV News
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