Last week, we were among the journalists who watched the episodes in which cancer patient Hayley Cropper decides it’s time to end her own life, and to do so, she takes an overdose while her bereft husband Roy (David Neilson) can do nothing other than lie by his wife’s side while she slips away.
The scenes are among some of the most powerful and moving that I’ve ever seen, and during an interview with Julie Hesmondhalgh – who of course plays Hayley – after the screening, we asked her to talk us through her final scenes.
She began by explaining that the final conversation between Hayley and Roy seems to be something of a “formal” event…
She said, “The language between them is quite formal. It’s like ‘Thank you for everything. I’m glad that I met you.’
“Hayley’s always been the emotional one, but [in those scenes] to see him in that role while she’s more contained was amazing.”
Julie then revealed that the entire Weatherfield community is set to be deeply affected by Hayley’s death.
She said, “There’s a scene in the Rovers when everybody finds out that Hayley’s died, and there’s one beautiful line when Emily [Eileen Derbyshire] says, ‘I can’t even begin to imagine what Roy’s going through…’
“And Rita [Barbara Knox] says, ‘You know what he’s going through’.
“There’s everyone’s history in Hayley’s story. It involves everyone who’s ever lost anyone in Corrie, so it all pulls together beautifully.”
Julie added, “Everyone talks about it being a pancreatic cancer storyline or a right to die storyline, but first and foremost, it’s a love story, albeit an off-beat one.”
Of filming her final scenes as Hayley, Julie explained that the emotion behind the camera was “almost holy” as the cast and crew fell silent while Hayley ended her life.
She said, “Kay Patrick who directed it was brilliant in that she created that atmosphere on set. It was a closed set, and I’ve never known anything like it actually…
“She didn’t want us to have to keep doing take after take, so everything was in place so that we’d only have to do it once.
“So I think that’s why it comes across as so ‘raw’ because it was the first and only time we’d done the scenes. We did it in one take. The whole thing.”
Here’s a sneak peek look at these incredibly moving scenes…