Coronation Street’s Hayley Cropper is to be diagnosed with cancer, according to a tabloid report. It is thought that the illness will put strain on her marriage to Roy (David Neilson) and also mark the beginning of Hayley’s exit from the ITV soap, following the announcement by actress Julie Hesmondhalgh back in January that she was leaving to pursue other projects.
“News of Hayley’s cancer will leave viewers wondering whether she will lose her battle with the disease,” reports the Daily Star. “Corrie bosses have been working closely with cancer specialists and charities to make sure the emotional storyline is handled in the best way possible.”
ITV today declined to comment to RadioTimes.com on the accuracy of the leak, but a show insider reportedly told the newspaper: “Getting the news that she’s got cancer is a massive blow. Hayley will put up a fight but whether she wins is another matter. Her diagnosis may be fatal or she may well beat it but decide life is too short to stay in Weatherfield and head off on a globe-trotting adventure. It’s going to be heartbreaking saying goodbye to Hayley.”
Factory worker Hayley Cropper (formerly Patterson) was introduced by then producer Brian Park in 1998 as the first transsexual character in a British soap opera. Speaking at the start of 2013, Hesmondhalgh said of her decision to leave Corrie: “I’ve had the most wonderful and happy time in the life-changing 15/16 years I’ve been in Corrie, and I owe so much to the show and the special team that make it happen.
“The decision to hang up Hayley’s red anorak was a tough one, but doing the play at the Royal Exchange last year made me realise that there’s life in the old dog yet (!) and that there are other things I want to try. Whatever happens next I’ll always be proudest of lovely Mrs Cropper and in particular what we achieved in changing attitudes to transgender and in portraying possibly the most loving, faithful and steadfast couple in soap history! I’ll always be the show’s biggest fan.”