An anguished Roy Cropper (David Neilson) is to be plagued by guilt after wife Hayley (Julie Hesmondhalgh) ends her own life against his wishes.
“Roy’s got to deal with the loss of the only person he’s ever loved, but in the run-up to the funeral, he struggles to let the grief flow because he’s so angry with her,” the soap’s producer Stuart Blackburn told RadioTimes.com. “He knows that on the day of the funeral, the odds are that Hayley could have been alive. She may have just had an hour but that hour could have been good and there’s guilt that he didn’t stop her.”
In emotional scenes to be shown on Monday 20 September, viewers will see Hayley prepare to bring her own suffering to an end before cancer treatment renders her incapable of doing so. Determined not to implicate Roy, Hayley makes plans for her own suicide, with even her husband’s last-minute pleas failing to soften her resolve.
“Roy has accepted Hayley’s decision because he loves her and would never leave her side, but he has never agreed with it. So there’s an anger that stays with him for a long time,” added Blackburn. “He could have taken that glass away and said, ‘no, you will live. You will get every moment of possible joy from your life.’”
Press reports have already speculated that Roy disappears after finding his grief too difficult to bear, a move that prompts friends Tyrone (Alan Halsall) and Fiz (Jennie McAlpine) to launch a desperate search.
When asked about the plotline, Blackburn did confirm that Roy spends time away from Weatherfield in upcoming episodes, but also revealed that the unassuming café owner would not be gone for long:
“I’ve just watched an episode set two or three weeks after the funeral when Roy returns and steps back into the flat. And, of course, the first thing he sees is Hayley’s red coat. I sat there thinking, ‘I thought we’d stopped crying at this storyline and here I am weeping again’.
“You don’t want to crucify your audience, so the temptation is to make Roy happy. But the reality is that it’s going to take months. The journey he goes on is unique to Roy – he deals with his grief in a way that only Roy can.”