David Neilson has been talking about his character Roy Cropper’s reaction to wife Hayley’s suicide in this Monday’s episode of Coronation Street.
“To him it’s a very selfish act,” says the actor. “Roy feels that he’s absolutely on his own. He’s very confused and conflicted that she has removed herself from their relationship, which is such a tight and unique one. So he’s not at all understanding of it, but he’s trying to be supportive of the woman he loves.”
Last Friday, viewers saw Hayley (Julie Hesmondhalgh) tell Roy that she’d decided that the time had come to end her life. And it’s in Monday’s double bill that we’ll witness Hayley preparing to bring her suffering to an end before the treatment for cancer renders her incapable of doing so.
Determined not to implicate Roy in her suicide, Hayley has planned everything in advance, with even last-minute pleas to change her mind failing to soften that resolve.
When Anna Windass (Debbie Rush) and Carla Connor (Alison King) arrive at the flat, they find a devastated Roy struggling to come to terms with the death of his soulmate.
“When she’s died, there is tremendous grief, which displays itself in all sorts of ways. It all feels so sudden,” reveals Neilson. “He kept telling her, ‘you could have life tomorrow’. So now he feels betrayed and almost like he’s fallen out of love with her.”
Yet despite the anguish, one thing Roy doesn’t end up experiencing is guilt, which is mainly down to the fact that he doesn’t actually aid Hayley in her plans.
“No, he doesn’t feel guilt. What he feels is anger and confusion. He maybe even doubts the basis of their relationship – it makes him question everything. The cancer is a horrible thing but the fact that she takes herself away from him before time is horrible too and something he can’t really understand.
“Plus he ends up having no say in anything. She’s organised the funeral, she’s planned how and when she’d die and Roy feels like he’s not been considered.”
And how does Roy feel about keeping the truth concerning Hayley’s demise a secret? “He doesn’t want to take part in the charade anymore. Moving forwards, we will continue to see him struggle and even take himself away from Weatherfield. He has a long way to go yet before he can move on with his life after what she’s done.”