Today's episode of 'Daybreak' examined one of the most talked about and controversial soap storylines in recent years. Millions of people tuned in to see the demise of Hayley Cropper in 'Coronation Street' as her character bowed out of the show. However, it was the circumstances which surrounded this that were far more significant than her passing itself, with the character opting to end her own life rather than struggle on with the pain of terminal cancer.
The former 'Coronation Street' actress Amanda Barrie was in the 'Daybreak' studio to discuss this with Lorraine Kelly, after fans of the programme witnessed one of the biggest tear-jerking scenes in the history of the programme. Both Amanda Barrie and Lorraine Kelly agreed that the scenes were tremendously difficult to watch, and I must confess that as someone who hasn't watched 'Coronation Street' for many years, even I found the short snippets shown by 'Daybreak' to be highly moving.
It perhaps says something about how well the whole storyline has been portrayed that Amanda Barrie confessed that she woke up this morning wondering what is going to happen to Hayley's husband Roy! There was a very raw emotional honesty to the scenes which is not usually witnessed in any television programme, let alone a soap opera.
Amanda Barrie recounted the fact that when Hayley's character first appeared on 'Coronation Street', her character was the first to befriend her. The first day of filming that Julie Hesmondhalgh, who plays Hayley, did on the programme was with Barrie. She stated that her character had been instrumental with her and her life in 'Coronation Street' and consequently this had provoked more of an emotional reaction when viewing the scenes which were broadcast last night.
Lorraine Kelly rightly pointed out that the couple of Roy and Hayley has been one of the highlights of the programme over the last few decades, and the quality of the writing and acting has been such that people genuinely care about what happens to these characters. The whole notion of ending one's life early is of course highly contentious, and therefore the topic had to be handled extremely sensitively by 'Coronation Street', and even those who are critical of such a storyline must concede that this has emphatically been the case.
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