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Saturday 4 January 2014

Exclusive! Celebrity Corrie Blogger - Julie Hesmondhalgh

Julie Hesmondhalgh has played Hayley Cropper on Coronation Street since January 1998 and has very kindly taken up our challenge for a celebrity to write about their love of Coronation Street.

In return we're donating £25 to Julie's charity of choice which is
the Pancreatic Cancer UK charity.

And now, it's over to Julie..

"I was always a Corrie viewer.  Growing up in '70s Accrington it was a way of life, like fish on Fridays and half day closing on Wednesday, something that just WAS.  Our cat Frisbee used to go wild and climb the curtains whenever the familiar theme music came on. Perhaps some animal instinct told her just how important that theme tune would become to our family…

Later, I moved to London and went to a drama school with a lot of posh people, and Corrie became like a delicacy, a taste of home, a reminder of where I was from.

When I got cast as Hayley Patterson in the winter of 1997 it was a relief.  Any actor born in the north will tell you it is the cross you have to bear, to be asked every day of your life, no matter what theatrical or even cinematic success you may be enjoying, “When are we going to see you on Corrie then?” I swear that’s why Ian McKellan did his time on the cobbles. How fantastic to be able to finally say “Next Wednesday 7.30”!

And here I am, 16 years on, no longer a part of that wonderful institution, but still on screen (for a few weeks at least) and still a Corrie viewer and fan.  It’s always been a joke at work that I really belong at the gates with the fans and the autograph hunters…it’s like THEY LET ME IN!

I was still pinching myself right to the end, not being able to believe my luck, particularly when having the honour of filming with the Legends of the Street (Rita, Dennis, Deirdre, Liz, Betty, Becky, to name a few).

And to have these amazing storylines has been the icing on the cake.  To see attitudes shift towards trans-people over the years as the Croppers’ love story endured, was the highlight of my career, but then the phenomenal response to Hayley’s long and painful goodbye has been one of the things I’m most proud of in my life.

Pancreatic cancer is a horrible disease, with a terrible survival rate that hasn’t improved in years.  A petition calling for better funding had less than 5000 signatures when the storyline began and is now just shy of 20,000. 

I have received hundreds of tweets and letters from people who have lost loved ones, who are fighting cancer themselves or are caring for sick relatives. Rather than switching off they’ve found some sort of comfort in seeing their experiences reflected onscreen.  It has been a privilege to have people share their stories with me.  

The Right to Die debate is a controversial and difficult one, but again I feel so proud to be part of the conversation. And that’s all I am…a part of it all.  The researchers, the storyliners, the producers, directors, the fantastic writers and the crew are the unsung heroes, and without David Neilson as my partner I would not have come this far. He is as brilliant as you think. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to all my friends, and what adventures await my darling Roy, once Hayley has gone. 

That people invested so much in this off beat love story in the first place was miracle enough; to see how much they care now it’s coming to an end means the world.

Thank you for all of it." 

See also:  Hayley Ann Cropper, This is Your Life

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Carry On Blogging! said...

Wonderful! :) such a great actress and a lovely lady too!

Anonymous said...

Clearly a very modest lady, who is up there with the rest of the Corrie legends. Such a shame she didn't get better storylines in the Collinson era.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading Julie's words; she came across every bit as thoughtful, kind, and humble as I would have imagined her to be.

Very best wishes to her in future projects, she, and her character on the street, will be much missed.

Anonymous said...

I've really enjoyed this character and she'll be sorely missed. After reading Julie's post, I can't help thinking that it wasn't a real stretch for her to play Haley Cropper - kind, grateful and non-judgmental. We can all take a page from Haley's book.

Paul van der Hart said...

Thank you very much Julie, for offering such wonderful acting, and such a touching character as Hayley. Hayley and Roy will forever be engraved on my mind as the most endearing couple on the cobbles, and in themselves reason enough to watch Corrie. I'm truly sorry to see you leave, but then again you are leaving in the most wonderful, thoughtful and beautifully acted way. I wish you all the best for yourself and your career in the future, and I hope to see you and your great acting again elsewhere. And again, thank you very much for all you have given me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Julie.

abbyk said...

Thank you, Julie, for years of magic that was Roy & Hayley, their crazy family ties, and confronting issues in ways with which we could relate. I am one of those people watching a favorite workmate lose her battle with pancreatic cancer. We learn through stories, and this last beautifully done storyline has helped me understand what her family is going through a bit better. Thanks, be well, and I look forward to your future work.

Stevie said...

Ah, lovely Julie. Living in London, Coronation Street is my little piece of home too.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Julie, for your wonderful acting over the years, and especially for now, with this storyline which has personal resonance for me, and - I am sure - for many others. Wishing you much success in the future.

Tvor said...

THank you Julie for being part of our Corrie lives these 16 years. You really have brought Hayley into unforgettable legendary Corrie Character status. It's hard to imagine Roy without his Hayley but we wish you all the best in your future endeavours!

bbhilda said...

Thank you for agreeing to do this Julie, and what a good blog it was! It has also given us a chance to speak to you directly and thank you for giving us Hayley. I think you play down your part in her creation far too much. I admit when I first heard they were introducing a transsexual character, I had severe misgivings, fearing it was being done purely for ratings, I was afraid my beloved Corrie could not possibly survive such a storyline.

But with sensitive writing and your amazing portrayal of her, it worked, it worked better than any other storyline they have ever done, and I have to eat my words!

Also, now we are nearing the end of the beautiful love story, it is heartbreaking, and has me in tears on a regular basis. Again through excellent writing, but mostly through the brilliant acting from you and David. Someone said it is like we are intruding on someone else's grief, that we are in their living room, in their bedroom and going through it all with them.

I wish you every success in whatever you do in the future, and be assured, we will never forget Hayley - or you!

Canuktuk said...

What a lovely person and a great blog - Hayley is a character who will be long missed for so many reasons.

maggie muggins said...

I don't think I can add anything more to what my fellow bloggers have already said, Julie! What a wonderful surprise to see your blog-post here and read a bit about your experiences around Corrie and the character of Hayley.

Love your story about the cat & the curtains. Thanks for giving us the years of Hayley that you did, and wishing you luck in future endeavours!

Rebecca said...

Hayley's story has been a long, difficult one to tell. Thank you for being brave enough to tell it. I hope those of us in Canada will be able to see you in your future endeavours!

Unknown said...

Not much of a soap watcher but having lost my wife to this hideous disease may I thank Julie for making such an emotional caring portrayal of such a difficult subject. And also thank her for her acceptance speech making specific mention of the charities raising funds to fight it.
Julie my sincere thanks

Unknown said...

Thank you Julie for raising awareness of Pancreatic Cancer having lost my wife to this awful disease your portrayal was sensitive and moving.
Many thanks


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