Hayley Cropper’s emotional farewell on Coronation Street under fire from experts; could it spark copycat deaths?

Hayley's last scenes will air next Monday, but experts feel the heartbreaking storyline will spark a spate of "copycat suicides"…


by Kayleigh Dray |
Published on


Hayley Cropper has been growing steadily more ill with pancreatic cancer in Coronation Street, but the soap favourite will bid viewers a final farewell next Monday.

However experts have warned that the scenes, which show the terminally ill transsexual kill herself with a cocktail of drugs, could affect vulnerable viewers.

A spokeswoman for The Samaritans said: “There is a risk of copycat suicides.”

The heartbreaking last scenes will show Hayley drinking a cocktail of drugs before dying in bed, in the arms of her weeping husband Roy, rather than face the final stages of her pancreatic cancer.

Determined not to implicate him, she mixes the drink herself and tells him not to touch the glass, wary of fingerprints.

Her final words are: “I’m so sorry I have to go. I love you.”

Soap chiefs and Julie Hesmondhalgh, who plays Hayley, felt that the plot was handled very sensitively, showing Roy's dismay over Hayley's decision and the dignity in death.

Julie explained: “We wanted to make it as unbeautiful as we could, quite an awkward and difficult scene between them, because even though [Roy]’s told her he agrees with the decision, he doesn’t.

"She almost railroads him at the end and that came over quite strongly… [viewers] will see the devastating effects of her decision on Roy.”

Speaking of the decision by the terminally ill to take their own lives, she added: “It’s not hard to be in favour of it, people whose minds are extremely keen and alert but whose bodies have gone.

“I wouldn’t want to live in that pain and anguish or see my family and friends go through it. I’ve always really understood Hayley’s decision.”

“I wouldn’t want to live in that pain and anguish or see my family and friends go through it"

Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn also defended the plot, saying: “We’re not advocates for Hayley’s decision and her belief that she had a right to choose a time of her dying in any way, shape or form.

"Will it influence people? I don’t know. People may have the discussion and talk about it. We have a right to have that discussion.”

A spokeswoman for The Samaritans, however, explained that while they advised the show on how best to handle the controversial suicide plot, they are against it being shown on television:

“We want to limit the risk of copycat suicides. That is why we advised them to give no details of the medication or how she obtained the drugs.

"Portraying an overdose, for example, as a gentle and peaceful way to die, can be very dangerous and bears no resemblance to the reality of slow liver failure afterwards."

Hayley and Roy have been one of the soap's favourite long-standing couples
Hayley and Roy have been one of the soap's favourite long-standing couples

Care Not Killing spokesman Alistair Thompson added the story should have focused on the quality care available to terminally ill patients. He added that the Samaritans encourage the media to steer clear of promoting suicide.

However a spokesperson for Dignity In Dying has commended the soap for highlighting an important issue; one which is faced by many people.

Sarah Wootton said: "The current law is not working. Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill, allowing a terminally ill person to choose the manner and timing of their death, will be debated in the Lords this year."

Do you think that Coronation Street should run this storyline? Let us know your thoughts below in our Comments Box.

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