Julie Hesmondhalgh reveals to Soaplife that Hayley’s hospital test results in next week’s Coronation Street are bad news. Very bad…

Hayley had no idea she’s seriously ill, did she?

“No. She was tired but put it down to Roy’s sleepwalking. She had no kind of agenda regarding her own health, she only had a check-up to encourage Roy to see the doctor about his sleep problem.”

Why hasn’t she said anything to Roy?

“Because she thought it would be nothing and didn’t want to worry him, especially as he’s only just getting over his own problems.”

And he isn’t with Hayley when she gets the bad news?

“It’s Carla who drives Hayley to hospital. Carla sees Hayley’s very upset about something and insists on taking her. They are two very different women but have a very real bond. But Hayley sees the consultant alone and is told she has stage two pancreatic cancer.”

No! Does Hayley understand how ill she is?

“Not at first. The consultant explains she has to have a small operation to clear her bile duct, which is what is making her tired, and then a big operation to remove the tumour, if they can. Then he gives her the statistics regarding survival rates… after two years, only two out of ten people who’ve had a similar diagnosis are still living healthy lives.”

She must be devastated.

“Yes… but Hayley is a very sunny, positive person and she is hopeful. The prospect of telling Roy, however, and also the prospect of her ultimately leaving him worries her. She thinks she can cope with this but he might not be able to…”

And how does Roy react when she tells him?

“We’re straight into Roy and Hayley mode and it’s rather wonderful because it’s not all doom and gloom. He goes into full research mode and makes her drink herbal tea and eat broccoli. She gets really fed up with him, but that’s his way of coping. And he is there to support her when she has her operation.”

Hayley doesn’t want people to know she’s ill but they find out. How?

“Roy finds Hayley drinking at a party at the Bistro and is furious as she’s supposed to be looking after herself. He ends up making an announcement. This is definitely not what Hayley wants. She doesn’t want pity and sympathy and people talking about her…”

Coronation Street continues weeknights on ITV.