Hayley comes back from Africa and down to Earth with a bump! Returning Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh tells all…

Hayley comes home after her year doing charity work in Africa. Is she pleased to be back?

“I actually thought she’d be over the moon to be back, but she’s not. She’s experienced so much. Life was so colourful, vibrant and amazing out there – and life in Weatherfield’s not.”

But what about Roy?

“She tells Roy it was the most amazing experience of her life and that she wants to go back and wants him to go with her. Running up knickers and serving up sausage sarnies will seem so pointless in comparison.”

It’s not just the African life she’s missing though, is it?

“A friend from Mozambique, Tilly, comes to visit Hayley and it soon becomes clear Hayley has a crush on the man in charge of the building project in Africa – a gorgeous, charismatic Swedish chap called Olaf who plays a guitar and wants to change the world.”

Did anything happen between them?

“No and Tilly makes Hayley realise it never will.”

What does Tilly say?

“She tells Hayley she slept with Olaf and so did every female on the progect apart from Hayley. Hayley tries to take the moral high ground but Tilly says Hayley’s just jealous and she realises Tilly is right.”

So she won’t be going back after all?

“She goes home and tells Roy about her ‘sad, middle-aged’ crush and, fortunately, he understands.”

Will she be able to settle back into the Street?

“I’m sure she will although she hasn’t changed her mind about working in the factory or the cafe.”

Are you glad to be back after your year away?

“I loved spending time being a full-time mum to my daughter, Martha, seven, but, yes, I’m delighted to be back. Apart from the acting and the lovely people at Corrie, it’s great just to have time to sit in the Green room, have a coffee and flick through Soaplife!”