As we reported recently, Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh has quit the show, and will leave later this year.
And this morning, the Daily Mirror reports that her exit will be a permanent one as her character, transgendered Hayley Cropper, will die of cancer in what promises to be a hugely emotional storyline.
The paper adds, “Julie, 42, is understood to have agreed to the hard-hitting scenes even though it means she can never return to the cobbles.”
And while of course Hayley’s death will devastate her loving husband Roy Cropper (David Neilson) the paper adds that he will “be given an exciting new beginning.”
As fans of Corrie will know, Julie has been away from the show for several weeks – her character jetted to Florida to care for Roy’s mother – as she was starring in a play that was based on the real life death of teenager Sophie Lancaster.
Entitled, Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster, Julie starred as the tragic teenager’s mother, Sylvia.
Back in October, when Julie left the show to begin touring with the play, she took to Twitter to say, “Right that’s me done. Bye bye weatherfield til October! #bitoftheatre #sicksinmouth.”
But returning to the subject of Julie’s permanent Corrie exit, she recently said, “The decision to hang up Hayley’s red anorak was a tough one…
“But doing the play made me realise that there’s life in the old dog yet and that there are other things I want to try.
“Whatever happens next I’ll always be proudest of lovely Mrs Cropper and, in particular, what we achieved in changing attitudes to transgender and in portraying possibly the most loving, faithful and steadfast couple in soap history.
“I’ll always be the show’s biggest fan.”
Corrie’s Executive producer Kieran Roberts added, “We’ll be sorry to say farewell to Hayley, and to Julie, but we’re planning a screen exit worthy of one of our best-loved characters.”
It seems that the show’s bosses are hoping to highlight the issue of cancer – as they did with Sally Webster (Sally Dynevor) when she developed breast cancer – in Hayley’s dramatic plotline.
Will you miss Hayley? Here’s a reminder of one of her most memorable Corrie moments…