Coronation Street is to explore the emotive issue of ‘the right to die’ when Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh) decides that she wants to take control of her own death following her diagnosis with terminal pancreatic cancer.
Viewers have this week seen Hayley come to terms with the fact that she has just months left to live after doctors proved unable to operate.
Determined to make the most of the time she has left, Hayley sets about compiling a wish list of things she wants to do before she dies. But, with her health deteriorating, she will make the momentous decision that she will take her own life.
Husband Roy (David Neilson) will refuse to back her decision when she breaks the news to him in scenes to be shown this October. Subsequently, Hayley will attempt to convince Roy that she should be able to choose how and when she dies.
Hayley explains that she does not want Roy’s help but, fearing the effects of the painkilling drugs, insists that when the time comes, she wants to be in control of her final moments.
Producer Stuart Blackburn said of the plotline: “Hayley has been through such a lot in her life and is very concerned about losing control as the disease progresses.
“The palliative care Hayley receives is superb but she is scared that the pain relief can cause confusion and a loss of clarity. She is concerned she could regress to being Harold. She's already had one such nightmare. She wants to die in peace with clarity of thought, she wants to die as Hayley, the identity she has spent her whole life fighting for.
“Once she knows that she has a very short time left to live she sets about getting her life in order so that she can take control of her final moments before the illness renders her incapable of doing so.
“This is a very sensitive issue and we will be exploring the effects of her decision on husband Roy who has a huge emotional and moral dilemma over her choice to die this way.”
Speaking to Radio Times back in July, Julie Hesmondhalgh, who has been a mainstay on the Street since 1998, said of her exit: “I knew ultimately Hayley would have to die because she’d never leave Roy. One of the writers told me they were willing to send Hayley to Africa for ten years, but it just wouldn’t have been right.”