Julie Hesmondhalgh wins best Serial Drama Performance at NTAs 2014

The woman who played Hayley Cropper takes home the gong for best performance in a serial drama at the NTAs for her performance in Coronation Street

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Julie Hesmondhalgh wins best Serial Drama Performance at NTAs 2014
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Julie Hesmondhalgh, the actress who has played Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street for 16 years, has won best performance in a serial drama at this year's National Television Awards.

Hesmondhalgh bid a touching farewell to the soap on Monday 20 January. Her final storyline has captured the public's imagination and reignited the right-to-die debate, as well as drawing in an extra 2 million viewers for her final episode.

The audience screamed their approval when Hesmondhalgh's name was announced by DJ Nick Grimshaw. She brought actor David Neilson on stage with her, who plays her husband Roy, saying, "There ain't no Roy without Hayley, and there ain't no Hayley without Roy!"

Hesmondhalgh's fellow cast members have been urging viewers to vote for her performance as Hayley over the past week, and the public responded. Hesmondhalgh was voted ahead of fellow Coronation Street star Michelle Keegan, David Neilson (the actor who played her husband Roy), as well as EastEnders favourite Jessie Wallace.

Hesmondhalgh recently told Radio Times, "It became clear that Hayley would have to die. For her to leave Roy and one of the most steadfast and long-lasting soap relationships ever (revolutionary in itself!) would be a betrayal of everything they’d been through together; only death could part them."