Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh says it’s tough for her to switch off from filming her harrowing cancer storyline.

The actress, who will leave the ITV soap in January 2014, has been exploring another side to her transgender character Hayley Cropper, after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Hayley is now trying to fulfil a bucket list before she dies.

“Sometimes it is hard as I have more lines to learn for the next day, but I have a lovely husband and children who keep me very busy and that helps to leave Hayley and her troubles at work,” she told the Radio Times.

“I feel very blessed that I came in with such a big storyline that really made a difference to people’s lives and now I’m being given the opportunity to do something which can help again. It’s very challenging to play a storyline like this as you feel the responsibility to get it right for all the people out there who are really going through what Hayley and Roy are.”

Hayley is hoping to build bridges with her estranged son Christian (Andrew Turner), despite being left battered and bruised after their last encounter when he discovered his father was now a woman.

“She would like a reconciliation and to know that he accepts her for who she is now,” said Julie.

“But she doesn’t want him to do that just because he thinks she’s dying, so Hayley keeps that information to herself. She would love to meet her grandchildren, but she knows that is a big ask.”

Their reunion will be shown on Coronation Street on September 27.