How have you, as an actress, approached the progression of Hayley’s illness?
I lost quite a lot of weight, which it’s really noticeable on screen. Also, my natural rhythm is very fast, so I’ve had to really slow myself down. I think it will be quite shocking to see because Hayley’s always been so quick and bubbly. The make-up has also been very good but quite horrible to look at.
You say Hayley is usually so full of life – so does she still want a big Christmas or a quiet one with just her and Roy?
Roy would like a quiet one, but what happens is that it all gets completely out of hand. Everyone ends up in Roy’s Rolls and then they go to the pub, but Hayley’s absolutely knackered. There’s a lovely scene where there’s a snowball fight and the residents make snow statues of Roy and Hayley. There’s all this joy and life around her and she loves that, but she is tired and she does fall asleep a lot over Christmas, which is really sad.
What presents does Hayley receive at Christmas?
Roy gives her loads of stuff because he's had so much advice. There's some smelly things that Mary has suggested and some fluffy slipper socks that are Tyrone's idea, but her main present is a DVD about Amsterdam, which holds many memories for her and Roy.
Is Roy getting increasingly worried about how she’s doing?
He’s shocked when Hayley tells the nurse that she’s been in a lot of pain and they say that they have to up the medication. It's also the last thing Hayley wants to hear. She doesn’t want to be on medication but she needs it. She’s in horrible pain and she’s been up all night.
So how is Hayley feeling as the day of her scan dawns?
She’s very nervous, but she’s trying her best to remain positive. She even gets Roy to book a holiday but he doesn’t think it’s such a good idea. He’s very aware the results may not be what they want to hear and to be honest they’re not.
One thing that’s also been noticeable is the disharmony between Roy and Hayley these past few months, which is quite unusual for them…
Well, Roy and Hayley have always bickered and always had disagreements. But, obviously, dealing with how you want the end of someone’s life to be is going to cause a lot of problems.
The turning point was when they came back from that magical trip to Blackpool and things started to go downhill straight away. That was quite a jolt for us. But what’s not been forgotten is the fact that this first and foremost a love story. Everything else - the transgender, the cancer, the right to die - is secondary to that. It’s a love story between two people and their journey together – and now that love story is coming to an end.