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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.
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Hayley's Death Sensitively Handled
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 booksmusicfilmstv.com - in association with Amazon.co.uk
Coronation Street Books available from booksmusicfilmstv.com - in association with Amazon.co.uk
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)
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