Monday, 20 January 2014

Coronation Street double episode review, Monday 20 January 2014

So Hayley Cropper, Coronation Street’s mouthpiece and benchmark for morality in Weatherfield is to take her own life. Apart from missing what has been at the heart of the Street for so long, Hayley’s death will bring with it several serious anxieties, the main one being how on earth will Roy cope? Of course, Fiz and Tyrone, in particular, will be at Roy’s side as much as they can and as much as Roy will permit. As many have said who have experienced real grief, it’s not immediately after the death that is the worst time, the worst time is as the months and the years progress and the realisation takes hold that the loved one’s absence is permanent.

If ever soap opera and real life became as one, surely Hayley’s cancer and planned death, must be the most convincing of all. The beauty of soaps is how often they hold up a mirror to our own lives, allowing audiences to cast judgement on events and behaviour that we see enacted daily.

Interestingly, the major broadsheets have taken on the story of Roy and Hayley - The Times and The Guardian both running features on them. That, to my mind, will do wonders for the snobbish attitudes  some people feel are necessary to demonstrate to those within their circle, to convey  that they are intellectuals, who would much rather watch Ibsen or Beckett and find the soaps too low-brow for their attention.  Shame - they are missing a treat and anyway, there is room for both.  

The first transgender person to appear in soap and thus changing attitudes dramatically, also brings the ‘right to die’ debate straight into our living rooms. Of course there will be those for and those against the right to die, but is it not the case that most (everyone?) will at least find Hayley’s bravery and determination to deal with her pancreatic cancer as something powerful and purposeful by removing a sense of victimhood, rather than let it deal with her.

When we first see Hayley she is in bed, not having touched her breakfast. Roy removes the tray and both agree that maybe later she will eat it. Later - they both know that there is hardly any later left.
Hayley wants to sit in the café for a while, on this her last day and talking to Rita is ‘a tonic.’ Captain Cole has been sailing the ship singlehandedly so Rita can afford a little time with Hayley. Rita talks of what she intends to bake tomorrow, and tries to tempt Hayley to try some but as we know, for Hayley there is no tomorrow.

Fiz, Tyrone and the children arrive at the café and understandably, as Ruby has a cold, they don’t want her to get too near Hayley. Hayley, most uncharacteristically, loses her patience and insists Ruby comes close and so Tyrone plonks his daughter on Hayley’s knee ‘for a big snotty snog for Auntie Hayley.’ Discussion of the future becomes too much for Hayley and she goes back upstairs, but not before telling Chesney to sort himself and Sinead out. Chesney is afraid to broach the topic after it seemed as if Sinead  wasn’t keen on moving in. ‘You can’t live your life in fear,’ she tells him and that’s a lesson to us all.  Acting upon Hayley’s advice he and Sinead agree to live together.

The punt wagon model brings a smile to Hayley’s face, it reminding her of her arrival at her wedding, but her reaction only makes Roy wish to prolong their time together. ‘I said it was today and I meant it,’ she reminds him. We know she will not be swayed from her course.

‘Most people don’t get to glimpse the happiness we have, day after day, after day.’ And we know the truth of that statement.  

A very nice touch was including Gloria and Dennis, who, so full of their own importance, behave abominably, embodying conceit and selfishness, in sharp contrast to the beauty and consideration between Roy and Hayley. ‘Roy, a word,’ demands the imperious Gloria. Has she forgotten Roy’s situation or is she too wrapped up in drinking ‘power tea’ to notice? Roy tells her he’s busy, but Gloria persists, ‘It’s a rum do if you’re too busy for your paying public.’ Roy, in the gentlest of tones, turns towards her and says, ‘Alright, Gloria, what seems to be the problem?’ What a man!

Hayley tells Roy that she has kept all the cards he has ever sent her. ‘I know you wouldn’t write a word you didn’t mean.’ We know that too. We see Roy’s desperation, his wish to have Hayley with him for longer, but Hayley cannot do that. 'I won’t pretend that I’m not afraid, but I’m ready.’ She continues,  ‘We mustn’t be sad, we should be proud, you and me.’ And who could disagree? Especially pleasing is to be reminded of how they helped people but also saw off the likes of the bigot, Les Battersby and the bully Tracy Barlow.

As his heart breaks, Roy tells Hayley, ‘I don’t know how I’ll go on.’ With a burst of energy Hayley tells him, ‘So long as you’re alive, so am I. You’ll be my eyes, my ears, my heart for years to come. ‘ She continues telling him that she ‘knows what it is to be loved, truly loved. I love you, always have, always will.’

Carla knew something was not right and sure enough, having persuaded Anna to open the door to their flat, her fears are confirmed. There lies Hayley, in Roy’s arms, no longer in pain - now at peace.
  
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15 comments:

Llifon said...

May I say that I wasn't completely happy with her exit. I didn't like the fact that Carla and Anna were shouting and slamming the door, whereas we could've had just a silent scene of Roy cradling Hayley.

Will I miss her? Time will tell, but I will miss the 'Roy and Hayley' partnership. But for me, the character of Hayley fails to rank with the Corrie legends for me personally. Controversial I know!

I'm sorry if I've offended any Hayley fans.

Graeme N said...

I think we''ll have to agree to disagree on this one!

Lily said...

I've seen a few people comment on twitter and forums about Carla and Anna 'shouting' and marching into the flat. It makes it seem as though they burst in causing a raucous when in reality they both knew something was happening (Anna knew, Carla suspected something was off) and were genuinely worried for both Hayley and, more importantly, for Roy.

I don't see the issue with them going into the flat. I would too if I was worried that something bad had happened to my dying friend and her inconsolable husband. Their hearts were in the right place. And while it would have been beautiful to have it simply Roy and Hayley, I thought they way both Anna and Carla found them together to be poetic and touching.

Just my two cents. I'll certainly miss Hayley, but I am also interested to see how Roy carries on as well.

Tvor said...

I only wish this was one of those episodes where they didn't play the music over the end credits. Otherwise. Perfection.

Anonymous said...

OK writers. You've shown us what you can give to these incredible actors when you put your minds to it. Now show us that you can maintain these high standards as you continue this incredible, important storyline. While you're at it, please try harder with some of the other plot-lines. The high level of this poignant story makes us conscious, by contrast, of the sloppy writing in other areas. Thank you for this wonderful work. Now buck up!

Newfy Pearl said...

I think it was fitting that Anna and Carla entered. Further proof to Roy that he is not alone.
Corrie usually mixes humour with tragedy,....if the Gloria and Dennis scenes were supposed to be that - they failed big time.
Otherwise an impressive show.

abbyk said...

I'll give Gloria and Dennis a pass since they've never had a chance to stretch their legs other than at Rita and Stella's beckon. My only qualm was the cards -- if I had planned for this to be my last day on earth, I would have done that earlier and saved this day for my Roy.

Tonight was everything I love about Corrie. Normal people reacting normally (even that little bit about Sally's watch was in proportion). Caring about a dear friend. It's what you do, we've all done and it's why we're all crying up a storm and reaching out to each other right now. We lost a friend, too. And as that last shot showed, now it's Roy's story. If tonight is a glimpse into the future, it will be a good one. David Neilson rocked it!

Gotta go, got something in my eye.

Anonymous said...

Haley was my favorite character just because she was always looking for the good in people, and she loved to take care of Roy. I'll admit I had a massive lump in my throat watching David and Julie deliver their last ever lines together on Corrie. Great writing, acting, direction...all around wonderful.

Canuktuk said...

Is that you Tracy Barlow? Can't imagine there's a real person out there with such a small, twisted mind.

Frosty the Snowman said...

What was the idiocy with the dolt Tyrone yesterday? Insisting on barging into Roy and Hailey’s flat because his brat wanted her “roo”? I wanted to punch that stupid vapid face and Gloria and Dennis were just annoying yesterday would they really complain over petty stuff at a time like that? Good riddance to the pair of them when they run off together which is obviously where this is going.

Graeme N said...

I agree Tvor, I wish they had gone without the theme music at the end - they always used to do that when a character died

Humpty Dumpty said...

David and Julie lived up to every expectation. Phenomenal acting from them both and, thankfully, not as heart-wrenching as I feared it might be. It was low key and beautiful. It felt a little odd that Hayley chose to go at six o’clock when they were likely to be disturbed but then we wouldn’t have had the visitors hammering on the door. I understand that it was for dramatic effect and that Carla and Anna would have been worried but, even so, it was over-done.
Tyrone should have been dealt with more swiftly and Anna shouldn’t have opened the door to Carla. Never mind about real life, it would have been more effective for Anna to stare at the door but ignore the knocking; Carla walks away from the cafe and the expression on her face shows that she understands that Hayley has died. The last scene should have been the one we saw but without Carla and Anna standing by.

maggie muggins said...

Perfection indeed. Ironic thing to say in a world where cancer exists. Nonetheless, I agree about missing the special slow Corrie tune & fadeout reserved for the death of a major character. Hopefully they'll do it at the funeral.

I also hated Tyrone, Carla & Anna intruding, at first at least. Looking back though, I think it would have been too straightforward without them, since we already knew what Hayles was going to do. Ty didn't have the info Anna did, or the intimate hours with Hayley that Carla did. They became like a Greek chorus, witnessing for us, speaking for us. I felt like I was in the room.

And our dear Roy had some human warmth appear during the most difficult moments of his life. I felt he would have shattered into a million pieces if they weren't there.

Anonymous said...

Great review.

It was brutal. To think that Hayley's last scene alive involved Roy begging her not to leave him even as she was choking on the lethal cocktail of drugs - Hayley was determined. The whole thing was very moving, brutal, raw, real and harsh. Bravo Corrie! Bravo David and Julie!

The last few minutes, my emotions were all over the place and looking back I can understand why Anna and Carla had to find Roy and Hayley in each other's arms. This is the end of Hayley's story but it's not the end of Roy's. They had to be there in the aftermath because of what happens next.

I am glad that Roy has Anna looking out for him and I think Carla and her no-nonsense attitude will help him, too. That's probably what he needs and although he's closest to Fiz, I imagine she's going to be angry because she didn't know what Hayley was planning and she didn't get to say goodbye.

Anonymous said...

I hope that the reaction and comment about this will make the Corrie bosses realise that everyday events that people can relate to, like sadly, a cancer diagnosis, coupled with good writing, great characters and brilliant acting bring in more viewers than ridiculous tripe like murders and unlikely affairs.

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