Coronation Street: I’m dreading having to say goodbye to Hayley, says Julie Hesmondhalgh

"There’s a lovely line where Roy says that it’s like the gas light going out and that she’s fading in front of his eyes," reveals the actress

Corrie star Julie Hesmondhalgh, who plays Hayley Cropper, has admitted that she is apprehensive about leaving the ITV soap.

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“I’ve cried when other people have left, let alone me,” she said to RadioTimes.com. “So I am dreading it. I’m very sentimental.”

The actress is to exit after 15 years, with her character set to face a tragic demise after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Speaking at a press event in Blackpool, Hesmondhalgh revealed that viewers should expect heart-rending scenes in upcoming episodes:

“In the car on the way here, I was looking at some scripts in which Hayley goes to the Rovers and some of the characters are shocked at how frail she is. Just reading that made me a bit upset.

“There’s a lovely line where Roy says that it’s like the gas light going out and that she’s fading in front of his eyes. I do love Hayley as a completely separate entity to me, so it’s hard for me to watch her demise.”

This week, though, finds the Croppers in good spirits as they head to Blackpool after Roy (David Neilson) surprises his wife with a surprise trip to the seaside resort. But what the actors weren’t expecting was for Street fans to be turning up en masse to greet them.

“There were hundreds of people lining the streets. We’ve never felt as famous. And everyone was so lovely. We even got to go on the Big One at the Pleasure Beach. It was brilliant.”

And what is Hesmondhalgh making of the current storyline that finds Hayley attempting to tick off items on a wish list as she tries to make the most of her final few months?

“Well, the thing that we were most fearful of was mawkishness. But we knew we were going to be fine after we read the script that came immediately after Hayley telling Roy that she had cancer.

“It was written by Carmel Morgan, who’s one of our really great comedy writers. And it featured Roy going onto the internet to find out all the information that he could about the cancer and driving Hayley mad in the process.

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“Reading that reassured us that it was going to be all right. We were straight into Roy and Hayley world. Not everyone would be as upbeat and brave as Hayley. But that is very much who she is.”