Coronation Street: Julie Hesmondhalgh on Hayley cancer story – “This week’s episodes are beautiful”

But the actress admits that some of the more emotional scenes will be "pretty hard to watch"

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Julie Hesmondhalgh has praised this week’s episodes of Coronation Street which see her character Hayley Cropper diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

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“I think these five episodes are possibly the best and my favourite five episodes that I’ve ever done,” said the actress.

On filming the scene in which Hayley reveals the extent of her illness to husband Roy (David Neilson) and Roy’s mum Sylvia (Stephanie Cole), the actress told the soap’s official website:

“After she said the words, it hung in the air on the set. Everybody was a little bit quiet afterwards. Because that’s the thing about it – it’s something that affects everybody. That’s what Corrie does really well: it takes something universal and makes it personal.”

Describing how the storyline honours Roy and Hayley’s 15-year-long love story, Hesmondhalgh went on to say, “The episodes are just beautiful. You’ve got Hayley being irritated with Roy and Sylvia undercutting everything. And then, right at the end, you’ve got Roy and Hayley coming together and talking about what it actually means and what the possibilities are for the future. That was hard to do and it’s going to be pretty hard to watch.”

Show bosses recently announced that throughout the rest of the year, viewers will follow the Croppers on their journey as they come to terms with the devastation that the disease causes. But fans are also promised a balance of light and shade as Hayley deals with the diagnosis in her own inimitable style.

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You can see a clip from tonight’s episode, in which Hayley and Carla (Alison King) await the appointment at the hospital, below: