Coronation Street: Hayley Cropper's final scenes hailed

Roy and Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street Hayley chose to end her life in the company of devoted husband Roy

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The final scenes of long-running Coronation Street character Hayley Cropper have been praised by critics as brave and emotionally charged.

The Telegraph called her exit "brave and moving", as she took her own life to end the pain of terminal cancer.

The Daily Mail's review praised the "sensitive acting" of actors David Nielsen, Hayley's devoted husband Roy, and outgoing star Julie Hesmondhalgh.

A peak audience of 10.2 million people tuned in to watch her final moments.

The two-part story had an average audience of 9.6 million for the first episode at 1930 GMT and 9.4 million at 2030 GMT.

Monday night's episodes culminated in Hayley carrying out her wish to die rather than suffer from pancreatic cancer.

Julie: "I can't watch farewell to Hayley"

She took her own life with a cocktail of drugs while Roy was by her side, and ensured that he took no direct part in hastening her death.

The character of Hayley, who has walked the cobbles of Coronation Street for 16 years, spent time saying her own farewells to close friends, keeping her decision a secret from everyone but her husband.

Ben Lawrence, writing in the Telegraph, said the episodes were "something special".


Ethel and Dot in EastEnders (2000)
  • In 2000, Dot helped her elderly friend Ethel to end her life in EastEnders (pictured)
  • Holby City's Gina Hope travelled to a Swiss assisted suicide clinic in 2006. She was suffering from Motor Neurone Disease
  • In 2011, Emmerdale's Jackson Walsh, paralysed from the neck down after an accident, expressed his wish to die
  • BBC daytime soap Doctors saw Chris Reid help his father Sam to die in 2013

Her death "was not handled with the customary swiftness that defies us to empathise - we were in that flat with Hayley and husband Roy living every tragic moment," he said.

With reference to the right to die debate encapsulated in the drama, Lawrence added: "With this storyline, handled with bravery and nuance, Coronation Street has made considerable progress in the debate."

The Independent's Ellen E Jones said the issue was explored "without compromising the emotional truth of two much-loved characters," adding Hayley's "decision to die looked neither easy nor unambiguously noble".

Lucy Mangan, writing in The Guardian, said the two episodes were "finely scripted" and featured "some of the best performances the cobbles have ever seen".

"Goodbye Hayley, and goodbye Julie Hesmondhalgh. And thank you for everything," she concluded.

She also looked back on the partnership between Roy and Hayley and their "years of loving, careful, delicate performances".

Hayley was the first transgendered character in British soap history, who found love with the socially awkward cafe owner and forged a steadfast alliance.

David Nielsen's performance was singled out by some critics, with Christopher Stevens in the Daily Mail saying he was "speechless with grief" but had "eloquent eyes".

The Telegraph's Lawrence said Nielsen's acting "beautifully captured the internal anguish of a quiet man".

Other actors from Coronation Street took to Twitter as the drama unfolded, with Catherine Tyldesley, who plays Eva Price, saying: "I've cried to the point of feeling sick".

Antony Cotton, whose character Sean Tully worked with Hayley at the street's underwear factory, said: "Wow. That was quite something. Powerful stuff. Exhausted watching it. Well done one and all".

Hesmondhalgh, from Accrington in Lancashire, has spoken out in support of tackling the right to die issue through her soap exit, saying it was a "real privilege" to play and that she had "always really understood Hayley's decision.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Monday, she admitted the final scenes would be a "hard watch".

After being Coronation Street regular since 1998, the actress is now starring on stage at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre in the play Blindsided.

If you have been affected by the issues this story has raised and would like to speak to someone, you can contact the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or visit their website.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 334.

    So very moving. My only wish now is that the rest of the cast make similar decisions. Very soon. And throw in the Eastenders lot too please.

  • rate this

    Comment number 333.

    Step out from the dark ages Rufus Sussex. This episode was advertised well enough for people to decide whether they or young people would watch it. What the characters experience is what people have to deal with all the time in real life and it’s exactly this ‘tuck it away behind 9pm’ attitude that prevents people from discussing very important issues.

  • rate this

    Comment number 332.

    Brave,moving,cynical ratings move. That covers it I think. Real? Not in my experience,but then we don't have any sex change persons in our street just as we have no trains crashing into our houses or members of the community disappearing off the face of the earth with no explanation so I suppose I shouldn't be overly surprised that this rang about as true to life as Father Christmas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 331.

    @312 "This is against the Church's teaching..."

    So is homosexuality and female bishops apparently but the church is debating those subjects. Why not this one?

  • Comment number 330.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 329.

    Don't watch much TV, haven't paid much of attention to this.. 26th February will see the first anniversary of my wife's death. She died from bowel cancer, which had spread to her liver. The last few days at the hospice were terrible for me and our 4 boys, then 10, 9, 7, 5 and 15 months, but until then, she fought one helluva fight. I know she would do again and would no way think of giving up

  • rate this

    Comment number 328.


    You are free to live as you will, within the law, & watch or not watch what you want on tv, but we are not all mindless followers of the edicts of self-styled religious preachers & no church should be allowed to dictate laws, govt policy, the way the rest of us live & die, or what's in tv before 9pm.

  • rate this

    Comment number 327.

    David (Roy)'s acting was brilliant.
    It portrayed the feelings of those who do not agree with assisted suicide but respected their loved one's wishes.
    It showed the heartache of those who want to spend as much time with their loved ones.
    My late niece in law wanted 'more time' and did not want to die because she appreciated every moment of her last days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.


    No one likes suffering, but why does that give YOU or anyone else the moral right to end it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    Truly some of the best scenes I've seen in any work of fiction, this was absolutely landmark television of such emotional magnitude I could barely comprehend it at the time, and still cannot to some extent now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    Hayley took her own life. Roy just verbally supported her decision.If euthenasia ever became law,then you can bet your life that the most vulnerable and those not able to make their own decision,are in a very dangerous position from unscrupulous relatives.If you are diagnosed as being terminally ill,why wait until you are unable to kill yourself,if you really want to die,then do it while you can.

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    As long as people don't feel a burdon, or pressured into ending their own lifes, then I don't have a problem with euthenasia. I think it would be very difficult to ensure this was the case.

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    fantastic actress good luck in the future

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    Are we now having important complex human and religious/spiritual issues and in this case a pro euthanasia message played out in soaps ? This isn't a comment about the acting or the subject but the appropriateness of the medium.I am very undecided about where I stand but certainly do not want my decision to be influenced by Coronation St.

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    Generally have no time for actors, think they are wonderful but never live up to their own hype. But in this case I saw one of the most moving and believable stories I have watched on TV. I do hope that their industry recognises the quality of what these two people portrayed and gives them their highest honours. Thank you to David and Julie,

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    Asking another human being to end your life is an extraordinarily selfish choice. The person asked will be left with the guilt and consequences whether they say yes or no.

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    Why are people going on about euthananasia?

    This was suicide.

    Hope it realistically portrays the after effects of it and it's not forgotten after 5 minutes like usually happens when something 'dramatic' happens on soaps.

  • Comment number 317.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    @304 HEATHER: so if you or any member of your family became terminally ill and suffering on a daily basis, you would rather see them in pain???????
    i know what i'd prefer cos isn't it the case when people have watched their family slowly die, 9 times out of 10 you'll hear the phrase "they aren't suffering anymore".....

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.


    So you would rather say goodbye than spend more time with them? The excuse that someone is in pain is NO excuse to slip them a pill and say goodbye! My friends disabled boy was died back in February and they spent every moment they could with him at his bedside for weeks praying for him to live because they loved him and wanted to be with him, not to say o well, goodbye and move on!


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