Coronation Street’s Julie Hesmondhalgh: ‘I’m still mourning Hayley’

Former Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh says she’s still really missing playing Hayley Cropper, who took her own life this January in heartbreaking scenes.

“Yes I’m still mourning Hayley, I miss her terribly,” Julie told Radio 2 this afternoon. “It was a weird thing separating Hayley from myself and watching her go. So I’m still mourning the part of my life that was so joyful.

Corrie is a lovely place to work, the crew and the cast are amazing. My choice to leave was a positive one, and not because I was unhappy. Everyone there was mad at me, in fact, because actors who are new to the show always quoted me as having said to them on day one: ‘I’ll be here for ever, they’ll have to carry me out. I’ll never leave – I love it!

“I had no idea the impact Hayley’s story would have, although I knew Hayley would have to die, because when I said I was going to leave [Coronation Street], it would have been a betrayal of the 16-year relationship between Roy and Hayley not to let Hayley die – it’s the only thing that would ever part them.

“I’m thrilled there’s a big petition going on at the moment to get more funding for pancreatic cancer research. Hayley really started a conversation that needed to be had.”

Julie is about to hit the London stage at the Royal Festival Hall in the play Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster, based on a true story about the murder of a goth teen in Lancashire in 2007, near to where Julie grew up. And she has a busy year ahead of her.

“I have a few television projects lined up through the summer, which I can’t reveal too much about at the moment,” says Julie. “I’m also doing a 10km run for Reuben’s Retreat, a small charity, and I’ll be auctioning off Hayley’s famous red anorak for Meningitis Now, so which this space for that, as it’ll be a big auction to raise money.”