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Coronation Street brings right to die debate to ITV with Hayley Cropper suicide

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 20, 2014

Roy and Hayley Cropper

Comments (5)

In one of the most controversial soap storylines to date, Hayley Cropper tonight took her own life on Coronation Street.

"It's a sad day here on ITV and with scenes some viewers might find upsetting," the announcer said as the final episode in Hayley Cropper's life was played out on television at 8.30pm.

At the centre of the story was Hayley's decision to take her own life having been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Both of tonight's episodes used the minutiae of everyday life, and how 'saying goodbye' affects that, to produce a very touching and beautifully produced piece of television.

The earlier 7:30pm episode saw Hayley say her goodbyes to friends in the cafe before discussing her decision with husband Roy.

Scenes in the cafe with Fizz and Tyrone and Chesney as Hayley said (what we knew) were her final farewells were very tastefully done.

Roy spoke for everyone who has lost a loved one as he asked Hayley for just one more day as he presented her with a gift of a push-trolley sculpture.

In beautifully acted scenes Roy and Hayley (David Neilson and Julie Hesmondhalgh) finally played out the reality of what would happen on a night when a person decides to end their own life.

"You have freedom of choice I beg you to exercise it, there's still joy to be had. Why turn your back on it?" Roy begged in the second episode.

"There were never going to be a right time for you," Hayley said. "I've said my goodbyes and I've made my peace. I'm not going to pretend I'm not afraid but I'm ready."

The Coronation Street team treated the issue of the 'method' in the euthanasia as secondary to the interaction of the characters and that was the right decision. This is drama and the ITV team depicted the subject of euthanasia in a responsible and powerful way.

Matt Holmes

* What did you think of the storyline?

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  • Douglasknows  |  January 21 2014, 11:09AM

    I actually don't think a debate would help a decision either way, there will always be people for and against it. I do think that people should be able to make up their own minds though and there should be help for them if they choose to end it and not in their own homes where it could be seen as coercion.

  • SandraPee  |  January 21 2014, 9:51AM

    As someone who has had personal experiences of watching my mother die with Alzheimer's and a best friend recently diagnosed with'' early onset'' Alzheimers ( a career person in their prime ) I believe a person should have the right to choose how and when to ''bow out with dignity'' . It needs debating, and now would seem the right time .

  • honslknjklyt  |  January 20 2014, 11:40PM

    I have said goodbye today to a dear friend who was leaving to go home to another country. We count blessings that we will meet again and are grateful that we had a chance to say all the things we wanted to say, set any records straight and speak truthfully without bravado or embarrassment. For those that die suddenly, there is no such chance. Death can be the worst part of life but I am on the fence with right to die. I have very strong feelings for it, but I also have very strong feelings against it. I sympathise with anyone going through this.

  • Walker100d  |  January 20 2014, 10:43PM

    There was, potentially, so much that could go wrong with this portrayal but I have to say, as someone that generally scoffs at the soaps, it was incredibly well done and congratulations have to go tot he two main characters for the way they played their parts. It is certainly time that this debate was had and, if not now, when?

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