Coronation Street’s Julie Hesmondhalgh tells Soaplife why Hayley takes the shocking decision to take control of her death – and how that could end her marriage.
Hayley’s been making the best of things since learning she has terminal cancer, but after an idylic day out in Blackpool with husband Roy, she makes a decision that shocks him to the core, Julie tells Soaplife. But Roy is so traumatised by her decision and their marriage may not survive. . .
What’s Hayley going to do?
“Rather than getting worse and worse, Hayley wants to spare Roy the nightmare of seeing her in terrible pain – she wants to be remembered as being full of life and so decides to end her life when she feels the time is right.”
That’s not all that’s behind Hayley’s decision, is it?
“Her new friend, Jane, who also has terminal pancreatic cancer, suddenly becomes extremely ill and is heavily medicated and not with it. Jane thinks she’s young again. Hayley can’t face anything like this happening to her. While Jane was very happy as a youngster, Hayley – as Harold – most definitely was not.”
So she’s scared in case she believes herself to be Harold again?
“Yes – absolutely terrified. The second half of Hayley’s life is in such stark contrast to the beginning. So this is what kind of prompts it – plus the fantastic trip to Blackpool that Roy arranges is like the icing on the cake. She wants to go while life is still good.”
But Roy doesn’t like her plan at all, does he?
“It’s a horrible, terrible shock for him. While they were having an amazing time in Blackpool, Hayley was obviously thinking about ending her life. It seems like a massive betrayal to him. He thinks she’s being incredibly selfish – he just wants every possible last second with her.”
Doesn’t Hayley understand this?
“She feels she’ll be saving Roy a lot of heartache. She wants him to remember her as she is now. She’s confident she’ll know when it’s time and will take control so Roy isn’t implicated. She knows she’ll have to be well enough to do it herself.”
So Roy can’t change her mind?
“No. She’s not budging – and neither is Roy. That’s very unusual for them as they’ve always found some common ground. Hayley needs Roy’s blessing on this, but he won’t give it. There’s a terrible row and Hayley ends up leaving and going to Fiz and Tyrone’s.”
The marriage isn’t over, surely?
“Hayley’s suddenly rushed into hospital. She’s really scared the cancer has spread. It turns out to be a bacterial infection, but it proves to Hayley how important it is for her to end her life when she feels it’s right.”
“He visits her in hospital and they’re both devastated she was rushed in while they were apart. Roy feels terrible about it, but he hasn’t changed his mind…”