When Hayley is taken ill and rushed to hospital, does she think that the cancer has spread?
She’s really scared, especially after they’d had such a terrible row. It turns out to be an infection but it brings home again the importance to Hayley to be able to end it when she can. Roy thinks that she’ll change her view as a result of the infection, but it doesn’t.
Hayley, for her part, thinks it will change things for Roy but it doesn’t. They’re just devastated this happened when they were apart, but at the end of it there’s still an impasse. When he leaves the hospital nothing’s been solved.
Do you understand why Hayley wants to be in control of her own death?
Completely. I understand that it’s a very delicate issue in terms of the law and you have to be incredibly careful about allowing individuals to not take advantage of vulnerable people, but there are past cases that have broken my heart.
You have to ask yourself: what is life? It’s not just about having a heart beating; it’s about being able to live and having a quality to your life. You don’t want to see people you love suffer.
What’s the response been from the viewers?
Amazing, I’ve had so many messages and it’s been overwhelming. I did think that people might be angry about it because a lot of people don’t want to be watching this sort of thing in Corrie, especially with a character that’s likable like Hayley. But a lot of people have found it moving because it’s been so true to Roy and Hayley.
For me it’s a love story with a beginning, middle and an end and this is the end. In a way, she has to die because it would be much more of a betrayal of everything if she just left Roy. She’d never do it.
The story touches real life and it’s a part of life. I wish it wasn’t but it is and therefore I think it’s completely valid for us to address it and we’ve done so in a very Corrie way. We’ve kept it true to the style of the programme and the characters. I’m proud of the way it’s been done and the response that we’ve had.
Are you touched that people seem so genuinely devastated to be saying goodbye to Hayley?
It’s been incredible. People have been really kind. I couldn’t be happier with the journey I’ve had at Corrie. There was Hayley’s transgender stuff, which I’m so proud of, and now we’ve got this tragic but beautifully written cancer storyline. Plus we’re also touching on the right to die issue, which is important and so topical.