Coronation Street‘s stars David Neilson and Julie Hesmondhalgh tell TV Times the behind-the-scenes story of Roy and Hayley’s wedding…

How do you feel about Roy and Hayley getting wed?
“I’m really pleased because of what it represents to the wider world. There’s a lovely line where Roy says that he and Hayley haven’t changed in 10 years, but the world has. People tend to forget that Hayley is transgender and this flags it up a bit. The transmission also coincides with Gay Pride in Manchester. And for me, it’s a bit of a nod. It tells David and I that they must like what we’re doing in the show.”
David: “I thought they were married! I got a bit confused. The good thing about a soap wedding though is not the marriage, but all the things that go wrong and this one is no exception.”

How long did it take to film?
“It went on for weeks! We only just finished filming the final scenes two weeks ago. Cast members usually hate being invited to weddings and funerals because it means sitting in church for hours on end with crossword puzzles on your lap, but this was different, because we got to go through the Lancashire countryside on a steam train and we filmed at Tatton Hall stately home in Cheshire and we did outdoor shots at Heaton Park, near Manchester.”
David: “It took six weeks in total. It went on and on, but I really enjoyed it. In the end, I forgot which bit of the story I was at, but I am sure it will all make perfect sense when I see it on screen.”

What was the highlight for you?
“The steam train. It was gorgeous. Like going back to another era. Antony Cotton who plays Sean, liked it so much, he booked it for his 35th birthday party. We all dressed up and had this Orient Express experience. We drank champagne and ate Betty’s hotpot. Antony can really do things in style.”
David: “Roy gets to have a go at driving the steam train and although I am not as into them as he is, it was fantastic. It’s such a powerful, noisy thing. You feel as if you are part of the engine when you are in the cabin, chucking coal on the fire.”

What happens when an angry Mary derails the last carriage containing Hayley, Becky and Fiz?
“Hayley is having such a good time toasting her good fortune with Becky and Fiz – as I did between takes with the girls in the carriage – that she doesn’t realise something is up until it’s too late. The rest of them are long gone. They have to catch up on a pump wagon, but luckily I stood there regally with my veil billowing in the wind because I’m the bride – Becky and Fiz do all the hard work and end up really disheveled. It was really hard work and Fiz is supposed to be pregnant! There was a bit of an incline, so much so, I had to apply the brake on the way back.”
David: “Roy is at the stately home fretting. He does a lot of pacing about.”

Was the weather on your side?
“Oh yes, we were so lucky. We filmed during that lovely sunny period in June. It was 80degF some days. And we were in this gorgeous countryside. There was a lot of waiting around, so people caught up on gossip, read books, nodded off etc. It felt more like doing a film than a soap.”
David: “I can think of worse ways to earn a living!”

Was this different to your own wedding?
“We had a small wedding in Wales, somewhere that was special to us. It was nowhere near as lavish as Hayley and Roy’s wedding.”
David: “Ours wasn’t a mammoth do either. We had a registry office service followed by a honeymoon camping in Cornwall. We were due to fly to Greece, but a civil war broke out in Cyprus and our flight was cancelled. It was great. What I find incredible is how quickly they organised this – we’ve got a wedding happening in our family and so far, they’ve been planning it for a year.”

Will married life change anything for Roy and Hayley?
“No, they will always be Roy and Hayley.”
David: “They are a conservative couple with a small ‘c’ and what they really care about it is fitting in. Roy is proud of his relationship with Hayley, but I don’t think marriage will change anything – although they will certainly be a bit poorer. They’ll carry on as normal. They won’t have an uneventful married life because this is a soap, but I can’t imagine them going off and having affairs or anything.”