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Coronation Street is probably the most famous show in British TV history - to British television audiences anyway.

This Tony Warren Northern soap began with pretty humble expectations when it first appeared in 1960, but has broken all records by being, comfortably, the longest-running drama in the history of British television.

- Paul Rance/

Hayley's Death Sensitively Handled
By Paul Rance

On January 20th, 2014, iconic British soap Coronation Street screened one of its saddest departures - the suicide of Hayley Cropper. Hayley was dying of cancer and decided to end her life before her pain got any worse. Devoted husband Roy was with her as she slipped away.

There's been conflicting views on the storyline, but I thought it was sensitively handled. It was actually underplayed if anything. As my Mother died of cancer just over two years ago I would have been up in arms if I had seen things differently.

I was torn between watching the episode or not in truth. Hayley was a character my Mother, a devoted Corrie fan, liked, as did I. Consequently, I felt a strange sense of duty to watch things unfold.

When I saw Hayley at the beginning of the two episodes her appearance mirrored that of my Mother's, so I thought this could be an unbearable hour. However, British soaps will often weave trivial storylines and scenes together with desperately sad ones, as was the case last night. Maybe that's why Hayley's death didn't leave me emotionally drained.

I wouldn't condemn anyone who is suffering from terminal illness and who decides to take matters into their own hands.. Many people who are dying are pushed around by the state, my Mother included, and die in a place they don't want to be.

It'll be interesting to see how Roy copes with the death of Hayley, because supporting the bereaved is another issue that isn't properly addressed in British society. From a personal perspective the lack of support for people who do lose a loved one, especially through a wasting illness, is often pathetic. Hopefully, last night's Corrie will prod people into thinking more about how illness and death impacts on people - and not sweep it under the carpet.

Coronation Street DVDs available from - in association with

'Coronation Street - Out Of Africa DVD' Coronation Street - Out Of Africa [2008] ~ Wendi Peters, Jennie McAlpine
'Coronation Street : The 1960's (10 Disc Box Set) DVD' Coronation Street : The 1960's (10 Disc Box Set) ~ Coronation Street

Coronation Street Books available from - in association with

0233998063 40 Years of Coronation Street ~ Daran Little
0752224433 The Women of Coronation Street ~ Daran Little

Coronation Street Main Cast List (actors/actresses who have appeared in 100 episodes or more - as of April 26th, 2014)

Helen Worth as Gail Platt (1,618 episodes, 1974-2014)
Simon Gregson as Steve McDonald (1,579 episodes, 1989-2014)
William Roache as Ken Barlow (1,490 episodes, 1960-2014)
Sally Whittaker as Sally Webster (1,343 episodes, 1986-2014)
Sue Nicholls as Audrey Roberts (1,337 episodes, 1979-2014)
Anne Kirkbride as Deirdre Barlow (1,324 episodes, 1972-2014)
Barbara Knox as Rita Sullivan (1,296 episodes, 1964-2014)
Jennie McAlpine as Fiz Brown (1,185 episodes, 2001-2014)
Samia Ghadie as Maria Sutherland (1,175 episodes, 2000-2014)
Michael Le Vell as Kevin Webster (1,139 episodes, 1981-2014)
Eileen Derbyshire as Emily Bishop (1,073 episodes, 1961-2014)
Jane Danson as Leanne Battersby (1,062 episodes, 1997-2014)
Antony Cotton as Sean Tully (1,061 episodes, 2003-2014)
Jack P. Shepherd as David Platt (1,061 episodes, 2000-2014)
Sue Cleaver as Eileen Grimshaw (1,056 episodes, 2000-2014)
Beverley Callard as Liz McDonald (1,041 episodes, 1989-2014)

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