The actress is proud to raise awareness

Julie Hesmondhalgh has admitted that she hopes her controversial right-to-die storyline in Coronation Street will get people talking about the issue.

The actress’s much-loved character Hayley Cropper was recently given months to live after being diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer and plans to take her own life.

Assisted suicide is a punishable crime though many have campaigned to change this, an action Julie supports, so she’s glad that the sensitive plotline is raising awareness.

It’s a very complicated issue,’ says Julie, 43.

Everybody feels that if they got a terminal illness they’d want to be shot but obviously there are massive ethical issues around that, and it’s easy to exploit older people. It’s very delicate.

I want to be able to say my goodbyes properly, so I think it’s something that needs to be talked about.

And yes, personally, I would like the law to change but I know this is going to be a very long and very complex road.’

Viewers will see Hayley’s emotional death in the New Year and Julie – who’s been part of the Corrie cast since 1998 – is proud that she’s getting people talking about such difficult issues.

It’s such a privilege to be involved in this,’ the actress tells the Mirror.

I’m a British humanist member and they’ve told me what we’re doing is great. So yeah, I have an interest in it anyway. It has been incredible.

For me, it is the absolute icing on the cake if you can help change people’s perceptions. It is a massive honour.’

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Anna Francis