Actress Julie Hesmondhalgh has been talking to RadioTimes.com about her first TV role since leaving Coronation Street.
“Hayley is gone, but Cleo lives,” she said of her part in new Channel 4 drama Cucumber. “It’s an absolutely wonderful script from Russell T Davies, so you can’t go wrong, can you? I’m very lucky to be a part of it.”
Davies – whose previous screen credits include Doctor Who and Queer as Folk – is set to chart 21st century gay life with this latest project, which sees Hesmondhalgh play the sister of Henry (Vincent Franklin), a man whose life is altered following a calamitous date night.
Channel 4 is also making a companion series called Banana that will air on E4 and follow the same characters. Both dramas are set to air in 2015.
Speaking on the red carpet at last night’s British Soap Awards, Hesmondhalgh added: “She’s a great character. She’s a single mum of three and the voice of reason on the show. It’s been really lovely to film – people are actually trying to make me look nice, which is really unusual! I’m happy about that. It’s so nice to be able to wear nice clothes.”
It was a strong night for Coronation Street at the ceremony at London’s Hackney Empire, with Hesmondhalgh’s exit storyline as Hayley Cropper picking up awards in such categories as Best Storyline and Best Single Episode. The actres herself scooped the prize for Best Actress and Best On-Screen Partnership, the latter for her double act with David Neilson, who plays Roy Cropper.
But for Hesmondhalgh, the event was filled with poignancy: “This is Roy and Hayley’s last hurrah, which feels bittersweet. It’s been lovely seeing all the old gang again and they always make me feel like I’m still completely part of it. But it is tinged with a bit of sadness because next year I’ll just be watching from my settee.”
The British Soap Awards air tonight on ITV at 8.15pm.