This January, Coronation Street fans would have been hard-pushed not to be moved by the sad yet beautiful conclusion to one of the show’s greatest love stories…
Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh) first arrived in Weatherfield in 1998 as the clumsy, and slightly stalker-like friend of Alma Baldwin.
Desperate to establish her new identity as Hayley, having recently undergone gender reassignment surgery and the ongoing drug therapy that would see her birth identity Harold banished firmly to the past, Hayley tried to emulate Alma’s style, and hung on pretty much Alma’s every word.
However, everything changed when Hayley met Roy, the show’s loner cafe owner, and they began a very slow-burning, somewhat sweet and innocent romance which, unlike many others in the long-running ITV soap, really did stand the test of time.
Hayley and Roy (David Neilson) plodded along in the background of most storylines, continuously helping and supporting those involved in the drama around them, taking in foster kids and soothing pretty much everyone’s pain with a few kind words and a cup of tea.
Until, that was, they were thrown into their own drama when, after Julie Hesmondhalgh announced her decision to quit the soap, the powers that be decided that Hayley was to be diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.
As this storyline played out on our screens, the audience was alerted to just how important these two characters were to each other, and everyone else in the Street, as the entire Weatherfield community came together to spend Hayley’s last days on earth with her.
The plotline then came to a very sad when, after previously telling Roy that she wanted to end her own life on her terms, Hayley said her goodbyes and took her final breath, leaving the nation utterly heartbroken.
Since Hayley’s death, the ripples of the storyline continue to be felt throughout the soap and in the lives of the characters, so it seems only fitting that in acknowledgement of their contribution to raising awareness of not only pancreatic cancer but also of the issues facing the transgendered community, Julie Hesmondhalgh and David Neilson are rewarded at this year’s British Soap Awards.
This year, Julie and David are nominated in the categories of Best Actress and Best Actor respectively, and you can vote for them by clicking here. They’re also nominated in the panel-decided awards as follows:
Single Best Episode – Hayley’s death
Best Dramatic Performance – David Neilson
Best Storyline – Hayley’s cancer
And Best On-Screen Partnership.
Watch a clip of the pair in Hayley’s final scene before passing away below: