Julie Hesmondhalgh as Hayley (2009)
|Coronation Street character|
|Portrayed by||Julie Hesmondhalgh|
|First appearance||26 January 1998|
|Introduced by||Brian Park|
|Romanian Holiday (2009)
"East Street" (2010)
|Classification||Present; regular (departing)|
|Home||16 Victoria Street|
Hayley Anne Cropper (née Harold Patterson) is a fictional character from the British television soap opera, Coronation Street, played by actress Julie Hesmondhalgh. The character first appeared on-screen during the episode broadcast on 26 January 1998. Hayley was the first transgender character in a British soap opera and was the first permanent transgender character in the world of serialised drama. Hesmondhalgh announced her departure from the show on 11 January 2013, and she will depart in January 2014 in a 'right to die' storyline after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Hesmondhalgh filmed her final scenes on 18 November 2013. 
Hayley Patterson is a shy shop supervisor at Firman's Freezers. Her friend Alma Baldwin (Amanda Barrie) introduces her to Roy Cropper (David Neilson), owner of Roy's Rolls, the local café. They form a strong friendship — until Hayley reveals, on a date, that she is a pre-operative male-to-female transgender and was originally called Harold. Roy cannot handle this information and rejects her but later accepts that their friendship is more important than Hayley's secret. After affirming their mutual attraction, Hayley leaves for Amsterdam for private sex reassignment surgery. After she returns to Weatherfield, she becomes a machinist in Mike Baldwin's (Johnny Briggs) lingerie factory Underworld. Hayley, in a bid for privacy, chooses not to disclose her transgender status beyond those closest to her but her personal history is revealed when Mike Baldwin discovers a Tax Office error, showing her birth name, Harold. Mike fires her because of it and although the factory staff and Street residents initially taunt her for being transgender, she gets her job back and most of the characters gradually accept her.
In a later storyline, Roy and Hayley foster a couple of children (including Fiz Brown (Jennie McAlpine), who later returns to the Street), but have not had any children placed with them after they fled with a young boy, Wayne Hayes (Gary Damer), as they were trying to protect him from his abusive stepfather. They are arrested for kidnapping Wayne and Hayley is held on remand as she objects to her bail conditions but is released when Wayne's mother finally makes a statement about her marriage. This has since prevented Roy and Hayley fostering, or working with, any young people. In 2003, while Hayley is away, nursing her sick aunt, scheming Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford) bets Bev Unwin (Susie Blake) that she can bed the man supposedly least likely to be unfaithful — Roy. Despite the extremely unlikely pairing, Tracy drugs Roy by slipping Rohypnol into his drink at Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) and Shelley Unwin's (Sally Lindsay) wedding reception, takes him home and claims to have slept with him. Roy is desperate to keep the news from Hayley but breaks down and admits everything. Upon confronting Tracy, the Croppers are stunned when (attempting to extort money), Tracy says that she is pregnant with Roy's baby and plans to have a termination if the Croppers don't want to adopt it. Roy and Hayley see an opportunity to raise a child and pay Tracy £25,000 for the baby.
The Croppers' relationship becomes increasingly strained, including a suicide attempt by Roy, but they pull through. Roy gets suspicious when Tracy goes on holiday for three weeks. Realising how easy it would be for Tracy to disappear with the cash and the baby, Roy insists she marry him (to stop her and the child leaving the country without his permission) or the deal is off. She reluctantly agrees and they marry while Tracy is pregnant. Later, Hayley angrily slaps Tracy over the situation, but villainous Tracy slaps Hayley right back, upsetting Hayley. After the baby is born, Tracy admits to her brother, Peter, that Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) is the father (they had a one-night stand shortly before she says that she slept with Roy), and that she did not have sex with Roy. The baby's true paternity is revealed at Steve's wedding to Karen (Suranne Jones), when Tracy demands baby Patience be returned to her and the Croppers, heartbroken, are forced to do so and Tracy repays the cash Roy and Hayley gave her. Steve and Karen marry, regardless of Tracy's bombshell, and Karen gets her revenge by gatecrashing the christening. Patience Cropper is renamed Amy Barlow and the Croppers are her godparents.
Following the death of her aunt Monica in September 2007, Hayley discovers she has an adult son Christian Gatley (Andrew Turner) as a result of a single forgotten pre-operative liaison when she was still living as Harold. She hires a private investigator to track him down, and eventually introduces herself as his aunt. Roy becomes suspicious when he sees that money has been withdrawn from their joint bank account, and confronts Hayley, at which point she tells Roy everything. He is upset at the deception, as he had thought Hayley had been, like him, a virgin before they began their relationship. Following pressure from Roy to tell Christian how they are actually related, Hayley finally reveals the truth during a private moment by the river. Christian does not take it well and storms off. Hayley pleads with him to understand, but during her protests, Christian lashes out and hits Hayley across the face. On her return to the cafe, she makes it clear that she blames Roy for everything and this caused problems in her marriage. The couple then decide to take a three-week break from their jobs and go camping in a bid to mend their issues. Following this, in October 2007, Hayley leaves the Street to go on volunteer work in Mozambique for a year.
Hayley is not seen again until November 2008; upon her return to Weatherfield, it is clear that she is not entirely happy. She appears evasive to her friends and to Roy. She tells him that she wants to return to her charity work much to his dismay; the real reason being that she has fallen for Olaf, the project team leader. When catching up with Tilly, one of the other volunteers, she discovers that Olaf wasn't the honourable man she thought he was and subsequently decides to stay on the Street with Roy. She decides not to return to Underworld and opts for a new challenge as a social worker. However, her chances are ruined when her police record (for the abduction of Wayne in 2001), is revealed, ruling her ineligible to work with children. She subsequently continues working in the café and then gets the job of supervisor at the factory in 2009.
In May 2010, Hayley encounters problems with Roy when she suggests that they have a lavish wedding, now that the law has changed and their union can now be officially recognised. However, Roy appears insensitive as he wishes to marry on legal grounds of inheritance law causing Hayley to be upset. She is dismayed at his behaviour and subsequently moves in with friend Anna Windass (Debbie Rush). On 1 June 2010, Hayley is tricked into going to Underworld by Robbie Sloan (James Fleet) who says that boss Carla Connor (Alison King) has had an accident. He then pulls out a gun and ties her to a chair. Killer Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien), who has escaped from prison, arrives and threatens them both. He reveals that Hayley is only there in order to be used as revenge against Roy, who was instrumental in sending Tony to prison, and says he will kill both her and Carla. After Maria Connor (Samia Ghadie) raises the alarm, Roy rushes to Underworld but can't help her, while Carla pleads with Tony to let Hayley go – Tony eventually relents and throws Hayley out onto the street where the police have now arrived. She is taken care of by paramedics and she and Roy tell one another they love each other before watching Underworld blow up, after Tony sets fire to the building, blowing himself up, but Carla escapes. Later that week, Roy proposes to Hayley, to which she accepts.
During the next few months, Mary Taylor (Patti Clare) intervened in her wedding preparations and after weeks of muscling in, Hayley and Roy tell her they don't want her to be a part of the wedding; even though Hayley is wearing her vintage wedding dress. On 30 August 2010, the train carriage that Hayley, along with bridesmaids; Becky (Katherine Kelly) and Fiz (Jennie McAlpine) decouples from the steam train that is transporting the groom and wedding guests to the venue due to Mary's meddling. However, after using a pump wagon, they manage to get to the venue on time and Hayley marries Roy legally. In June 2011 Roy's mother Sylvia Goodwin (Stephanie Cole) - who moved in with the Cropper's earlier in the year - is suspicious when, after expressing a longing for grandchildren, finds out Hayley is unable to have children. After rummaging through her things, she finds a prescription for some hormone tablets and assumes Hayley is going through the menopause only for Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford) to tactlessly blurt out that Hayley is transgender. Sylvia is initially outraged that her son is married to a former man but, as of July 2011, appears to be slowly coming round to the idea and accepting Hayley for who she is and not who she was.
Hayley is heartbroken when Becky decides to leave Weatherfield in January 2012, and receives a call a few months later from Becky hearing that she is engaged to her new boyfriend. Later in the year, Roy and Hayley visit Palm Springs, California to visit Sylvia and her companion Milton Fanshaw (Robert Vaughn). Roy returns without Hayley, who is caring for an ill Sylvia.
Hayley returns later that year, and later supports Roy after she discovers that his estranged father has died in May 2013. Strange happenings begin occurring in the café, and Roy believes that Beth Tinker (Lisa George) and her family are behind them. It is not long before Roy realises he is actually sleepwalking, re-arranging everything in the café while he is asleep. Deirdre Barlow (Anne Kirkbride) finds Roy sleepwalking on the Red Rec, and returns him back to a worried Hayley and Sylvia. They all decide to watch the CCTV footage that Roy has recently installed, and it proves that Roy has been behind all of the re-arranged furniture. Hayley decides that Roy has to go and see a doctor, and tells Roy that she will have all the tests done that he has done, which Roy finds comfort in. Hayley is called back to the Medical Centre the following week, and the doctor reveals to a stunned Hayley that she has abnormal liver function, and will have to have an ultrasound scan for further investigation. Hayley keeps this to herself, but when the day of the ultrasound scan arrives, she confides in Sylvia, but swears her to secrecy. The doctor then tells Hayley that there is a blockage in her bile duct, which confuses Hayley. When she returns to the café, Hayley reveals to Sylvia that she may have cancer, and breaks down in her arms.
The following week, Hayley goes to hospital for a CT scan with her concerned boss, Carla. Shortly after the CT scan, Hayley is diagnosed with stage-two pancreatic cancer, which devastates Hayley. She is told she needs an operation and chemotherapy to completely get rid of the cancer. Later, poor Hayley breaks down at work and confides in Carla, who provides her with a shoulder to cry on. Hayley then realises that she has no choice but to tell Roy, so heads over to the café and reveals her devastating news to Roy and Sylvia. When Sylvia leaves Roy and Hayley alone, Roy holds Hayley's hand as he comes to terms with her news. The following day, Roy pesters Hayley to drink herbal tea, and confides in Carla yet again. Hayley arrives at the hospital for her minor operation to unblock her bile duct, and is accompanied by Roy. Hayley does well with the small operation, and is invited to Audrey Roberts' (Sue Nicholls) birthday party at the Bistro. Hayley attends with Sylvia, but is devastated when Roy arrives and reveals to the entire party that she has pancreatic cancer. Upset and angry with Roy that he has told everyone, Hayley runs home, and is followed by Sylvia. When Hayley gets out of the bath, Roy tells her that he wishes he could half her pain and Hayley tells him that she could die from her cancer, and the pair embrace passionately. When Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) arrives at the factory and begins shouting at her half-sister Eva Price (Catherine Tyldesley), she pushes her into Hayley, so Carla throws Leanne out of Underworld. Hayley begins to feel fed up with people giving her sympathy, and she and Roy decide it's time for a holiday before her operation to remove her tumour. Carla agrees to let Hayley have the time off, and Mary very kindly lends the couple her motor home.
Hayley and Roy return from their holiday a couple of weeks later, and discover from Fiz and new employee Jenna Kamara (Krissi Bohn) that Sylvia has fled the street to live with her sister, Roy's aunt Jean. They attend Sally Webster's (Sally Dynevor) garden party, although they soon move to Anna's barbecue next door, as they are rival barbecues. Roy and Hayley then watch in horror as Sally and Anna fight over a bottle of tomato ketchup. Roy organises a romantic dinner for two for Hayley for their third wedding anniversary, but Hayley is upset as she completely forgot. Roy then assures Hayley that he is not angry with her, and she confides in Carla before she has to go to the hospital, preparing for her major operation. Roy and Hayley are told that the operation - if successful - should last six hours. Hayley goes down to theatre at 13:05, therefore should be out at 19:05, and she gives Roy her wedding ring for him to look after. Roy is devastated when the consultant returns at 17:20, and he later tells Roy and Hayley that her cancer is terminal. He says she could live up to about six months to a year, devastating Roy and Hayley, as their worst nightmare has finally been confirmed. Hayley begins to make a bucket list of everything that she wants to do before she dies, one of which is teaching Roy how to drive a car. Hayley has a nightmare about being "Harold" again, which makes her regret the way things ended with her son, Christian. She decides to tell Fiz about Christian, which confuses Roy. Roy later comes round to the idea of Hayley contacting Christian, so she leaves him a message on his mobile phone. She does not hear from Christian for a few days, so decides to focus her attention into throwing a birthday party for Roy in The Rovers. Hayley later attends Roy's driving lesson with him, which was proven a disaster when the couple return home. Hayley then hears from Christian, wanting to meet up with her in a café in Bury. Roy accompanies Hayley to Bury, but Hayley is left deflated when Christian leaves her a text message saying that he cannot go through with it.
When Roy and Hayley take Fiz's daughter, Hope, and Tyrone Dobbs' (Alan Halsall) baby girl Ruby to the park, Christian arrives and asks Anna where Hayley is. He decides to call her, but it is proven that she has left her mobile phone behind. Christian decides to wait, and when Hayley and Roy return, he is nowhere to be seen. Hayley desperately tries to contact him on his mobile, but is happily surprised when he then appears from the café toilets. They talk in the café, but Hayley decides to take Roy and Christian to The Rovers, where Christian reveals that Hayley has two grandchildren, Sam and Maisie. Hayley says she would love to meet them, but Christian suggests when they are 16 years of age, which upsets Hayley as she would have died by then. Christian keeps making inappropriate remarks about Hayley unintentionally, but Roy angrily outbursts at him, taking Hayley home. Hayley then insists that she and Roy attend a cancer support group, where they meet Jane Rayner (Heather Bleasdale) and her husband Jeff (Jim Millea). Hayley is inspired on how strong and confident Jane is, who is also dying from pancreatic cancer, but when the couple return home, Roy explains to Hayley that he found Jane highly inappropriate and inconsiderate. Hayley is delighted to learn that Roy has booked a day off so they can go to Blackpool. They have a wonderful time, but their joy is cut short when they are told that Jane has been rushed to a hospice. The couple visit Jane, and Hayley is shocked to see how dazed Jane is after taking morphine. Hayley and Roy then sit down as talk about Hayley's final days, where she reveals to a stunned Roy that she intends to end her own life when the cancer spreads. This leads to Hayley and Roy arguing in the café, and Hayley moving in with Fiz and Tyrone.
The following day, while Fiz and Tyrone are at work, Hayley collapses at home. When Fiz arrives, she immediately calls for an ambulance, and half of the street watch as Hayley is taken to hospital. Roy jumps in the ambulance to be with his wife, and Fiz accompanies them. At the hospital, the consultant explains that Hayley has an infection, and will need to stay in overnight to take the antibiotics. While Hayley is recovering in hospital, Roy accidentally reveals to Anna about her suicide wish. She is later discharged from hospital and is stunned when she catches Roy, Owen Armstrong (Ian Puleston-Davies) and Gary Windass (Mikey North) all re-decorating their bedroom. Hayley secretly doesn't like the new wallpaper, but says nothing to Roy to save his feelings. Hayley is insistant on visiting Jane in the hospice, but Roy advises her to rest. The next day, Hayley and Roy go to the hospice to visit Jane, but Jeff arrives and reveals that Jane has passed away. Hayley is devastated and furious with Roy, as he ordered her to rest on her first day back from the hospital. The pair have another argument about the way Hayley wants to die. A few days later, Roy and Hayley attend Jane's funeral and meet her young children, Zac and Henry. Henry isn't coping with Jane's death very well so Hayley tries to comfort him. After the funeral, Roy reveals to Hayley that he thinks he can accept her suicide plot. Hayley is absolutely delighted at the news, but when Roy bumps into Anna on the street, he reveals that he has lied to Hayley about his feelings and feels he has betrayed her. Roy decides against telling Hayley his true feelings, and they listen to music together after a stressful day. While they are listening to the music, Hayley breaks down in Roy's arms, saying that she doesn't want to die and doesn't want to leave him. Hayley is later delighted when Carla asks her to make her wedding dress for her.
Hayley was initially intended only for a two-month stay, designed to help increase ratings as well as show a new side to Roy Cropper. Actor Julie Hesmondhalgh was first spotted by the casting director while dressed in drag in a production of 'Much Ado About Nothing'. Hesmondhalgh only knew she was auditioning to play a "fun" character, so she arrived as, "all Bet Lynch, in my leopard skin and red lippy". When she learned Hayley would be transgender, she was nervous, but "then it dawned on me that this was actually my ’dream job’ and I desperately wanted it." 
Personality and identity
What's on TV describes the character as quiet, and kind-hearted. For a short period of time, after the actor took a one year break from the show, the producers decided to change her ways. After a brief period of resettlement, she has resumed her now-traditional role of being generally supportive and friendly to the other characters.
Hayley's only romantic relationship has been with Roy Cropper. The characters were first friends and they started a relationship, until Hayley revealed her past history. Out of fear, Roy initially rejected her, but missed their friendship and three months later, he followed her to Amsterdam where she was living on a houseboat, recuperating from her surgery. He persuaded her that they should work on their relationship, and as a result,she returned to Weatherfield where she became a machinist in Mike Baldwin's lingerie factory, Underworld.
Roy later proposed to Hayley at a fancy-dress disco on St. Valentine's Day 1999. At that time, unfortunately, they could not legally marry, since Hayley was still seen as a male in the eyes of the law. Eventually they found a female vicar who would help them, and they were united in a blessing ceremony held in Roy's Rolls on 23 April 1999. As a wedding present to Roy, Hayley officially changed her name by deed poll to Hayley Anne Cropper.
Since the passing of the Gender Recognition Act 2004 in UK law it has been possible for transgendered people to change their birth certificates and marry legally. In 2010, following a discussion of the ramifications of their not being legally married, Roy and Hayley decided to make it official. It was revealed that Hayley had applied for, and received, her new birth certificate, and so, after some disagreements about the cost and motives for marriage, the plans were made for the wedding. The couple finally married on 30 August 2010 at a stately home in Cheshire, and almost everyone but the bride arrived by steam train.
Their relationship has been tested by various storylines including Tracy Barlow's deceit, Hayley's secret son and Hayley's absence from the street. Briefly, upon her return, there was a difficult situation where she had developed a crush on one of her co-workers in Africa (further reading below). They eventually worked out their differences.
On 11 January 2013, it was announced that Hesmondhalgh would leave Coronation Street at the end of her contract. The actress will depart in early 2014, allowing the producers to come up with a dramatic exit storyline for her character. Hesmondhalgh revealed that she wanted to pursue new projects, saying "I've had the most wonderful and happy time in the life changing 15/16 years I've been in Corrie, and I owe so much to the show and the special team that make it happen. The decision to hang up Hayley's red anorak was a tough one, but doing the play at the Royal Exchange last year made me realise that there's life in the old dog yet (!) and that there are other things I want to try." Hayley's exit storyline saw her diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer.
For her portrayal of Hayley, Hesmondhalgh was nominated in the category of "Most Popular Actress" at the 1999 National Television Awards. The appearance of a transgender woman in a mainstream soap opera appeared to attract initial opposition from some members of the public, as expressed in calls to the Granada duty office, and letters written to magazines and newspapers. A minority of people expressed their concern at having such "bizarreness" brought into their homes on a prime-time television show. Transgender groups were also largely unhappy with the storyline, and found Hayley's original character traits, as written, to be cliched and ill-informed. Press for Change, the transgender campaign and information group, were particularly concerned with the direction of the storyline, but after the first two months a trans advisor connected to Press for Change was regularly consulted for eighteen months by scriptwriters and the actor, and trans groups appeared happier with the stories and scripts that resulted from this liaison.
Transgender campaigners were initially upset that a cisgender woman had been chosen for the part but since they have praised Hesmondhalgh's dedication and sensitivity. Hayley was, for many viewers, the first transgender woman whose story they had really seen unfold on TV. Hesmondhalgh has become an outspoken activist for trans rights, including becoming the first Friend of campaign group Trans Media Watch and as Hayley, she has heralded a new level of acceptance among people across the country. The official LGBT History Month website includes Hayley as one of the important famous LGBT people in their history, even though she is a fictional character.
Coronation Street's handling of transgender issues, the uncertainty of whether her partner would accept her gender identity and the inability of transgender people to adopt children or marry, has been praised by transgendered groups. An Early Day Motion was also tabled in Parliament by Lynne Jones, MP, praising the story team and researchers, and Julie Hesmondhalgh for her portrayal.
Following the screening of the "wedding" in 1999, the Labour Government announced that a Parliamentary Working Group was being created to assess how the United Kingdom could grant trans people the legal rights for which they had fought for decades. The result of this was the tabling, in 2004, of the Gender Recognition Act, granting trans people full legal status in their acquired sex. It has been said that the character of Hayley Cropper deserves partial credit for bringing the issues faced by trans people to public attention in a sympathetic manner, rather than the sensationalist coverage that had previously existed. It is also alleged that the resultant public support for this fictional character went in favour of the Bill.
- Transgender in film and television
- List of transgender-related topics
- Coronation Street: Romanian Holiday
- "Transgender: A History". AlbertaTrans.org. 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
- "Coronation Street: The Advisor's Tale". Press For Change. Archived from the original on 2010-09-06. Retrieved 2012-05-11.
- "When Julie Met Hayley: Interview with Julie Hesmondhalgh". Press For Change. Archived from the original on 2009-05-17. Retrieved 2012-05-11.
- When Julie Met Hayley: The Original Interview with Julie Hesmondhalgh with Beaumont Magazine Columnist Samantha Johnson. Transgender Zone 1998
- Who's Who – Hayley Cropper Whats on TV, Retrieved 2008-12-16
- Hayley Cropper's Corrie Return[dead link]. My Park Magazine (27 August 2008) Retrieved on 2008-12-16.
- "Goodbye Hayley". itv.com. 11 January 2013.
- "Entertainment | TV stars prepare for battle". BBC News. 1999-10-26. Retrieved 2012-05-11.
- "Trans Media Watch - Supporters". Trans Media Watch. 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
- "Transgender portrayals in film". The Skinny. 16 April 2006. Retrieved 2008-12-16.
- Biographies of famous LGBT people lgbthistorymonth.org.uk, (October 2005) Retrieved on 2008-12-16
- "UK Politics | MP praises 'The Street'". BBC News. 1998-10-20. Retrieved 2012-05-11.