Julie Hesmondhalgh

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Julie Hesmondhalgh
Born Julie Claire Hesmondhalgh
(1970-02-25) 25 February 1970 (age 45)
Accrington, Lancashire, England, UK
Residence Glossop, Derbyshire, England, UK
Occupation Actress
Years active 1988–
Television Coronation Street (1998–2014)
Religion None (Humanist)
Spouse(s) Ian Kershaw
Children 1

Julie Claire Hesmondhalgh (born 25 February 1970) is an English actress, known for her role as Hayley Cropper in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street between 1998 and 2014.[1][2] For this role, she won Best Serial Drama Performance at the 2014 National Television Awards and Best Actress at the 2014 British Soap Awards.

Early life[edit]

Hesmondhalgh was born in Accrington, Lancashire. As a teenager, she was moderately interested in acting, but wished to become a social worker. She applied to drama school to be with her friends and studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art from 1988 to 1991 (one of her classmates was Benito Martinez). On finishing her training, Hesmondhalgh was a part of Arts Threshold, a small independent theatre in London, for several years. In the 1990s, she appeared in such television dramas as The Bill, Catherine Cookson's The Dwelling Place, and in the Victoria Wood comedic television movie Pat and Margaret.



Hesmondhalgh took time off between 2000 and 2001 from Coronation Street to give birth to her daughter Martha Mo. During this time, she was a panellist on Loose Women in 2000 and Live Talk in 2001.

On 24 December 2011, Hesmondhalgh appeared on ITV's The Cube.

On 1 May 2013, Hesmondhalgh appeared on ITV game show All Star Mr & Mrs with husband Ian.

From 22 January 2015, Hesmondhalgh starred in the Channel 4 drama series Cucumber, written by Russell T Davies. She played the role of Cleo Whitaker.[3]

Coronation Street[edit]

Main article: Hayley Cropper

Hesmondhalgh is best known for playing Hayley Cropper on the ITV soap opera Coronation Street. Debuting on the show in 1998, she plays the first transsexual character on a British serial.[4]

After nearly ten years on the show, Hesmondhalgh decided to take a break from Coronation Street for a year in order to spend more time with her family. She left on 22 October 2007, but returned on 17 November 2008.

On 11 January 2013, ITV announced that Hesmondhalgh would be leaving Coronation Street in January 2014 after 15 years on the show, and that her character Hayley Cropper was to be killed-off.[5] She filmed her final scenes on 18 November 2013 which aired on 22 January 2014.


From 19 to 29 September 2012, Hesmondhalgh appeared at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, portraying Sylvia Lancaster in Black Roses: The Killing Of Sophie Lancaster opposite Rachel Austin. The play was based on the real life story of Sylvia's late daughter, Sophie Lancaster.

On 23 January 2014, she returned to the Royal Exchange Theatre for her first role since leaving Coronation Street, in the Simon Stephens play Blindsided, which ran until 15 February. From 12 November to 20 December 2014, she appeared in God Bless The Child at the Royal Court Theatre in London, playing Mrs Bradley, with Amanda Abbington.

Personal life[edit]

Hesmondhalgh is married to actor and writer Ian Kershaw. The couple live near Glossop, Derbyshire with their daughter, Martha Mo Kershaw, who was born in October 2001. She is a supporter of Manchester City and the Labour Party.

Charity work[edit]

As well as working to raise funds for other charities, such as Mood Swings Network and the Parkinson's Disease Society, Hesmondhalgh is a patron of the following charities and groups: Trans Media Watch,[6] Press for Change, the Albert Kennedy Trust, Maundy Relief, Exodus Onstage, British Humanist Association,[7] and the Manchester Lesbian and Gay Foundation. She also supported the Elizabeth Finn Care 'Wrap Up Against Poverty' campaign by donating a red anorak (in the style of her Coronation Street character Hayley Cropper) for auction by the charity.


Year Title Role Type Notes
1994 The Dwelling Place Rose Turnbull TV 3 episodes
Pat and Margaret Helper in Old Age Home Film
The Bill Jo TV Episode titled "No job for an amateur"
1997 The Bill Doctor TV Episode titled "Do Unto Others"
1998 Dalziel and Pascoe Wendy Walker TV Episode titled "The wood beyond"
1998–2014 Coronation Street Hayley Cropper TV Series Regular, 1437 episodes
2001 Live Talk Herself TV Presenter, 11 episodes
2003 TV Burp Hayley Cropper TV Episode #2.4
2009 Coronation Street: Romanian Holiday Hayley Cropper DVD Coronation Street spin-off, released straight to DVD
2010 East Street Hayley Cropper TV Coronation Street and EastEnders combined for Children in Need
2015 Cucumber Cleo Whitaker TV 8 episodes
Banana Cleo Whitaker TV 1 episode
Inside No. 9 Kath Cook TV 1 episode: "La Couchette"


Year Ceremony Award Nominated work Result
1999 National Television Awards "Most Popular Actress" Coronation Street
as Hayley Cropper
The British Soap Awards "Best On-screen Partnership" Won
2004 Won
2013 Royal Television Society "Best Performance in a Continuing Drama" Won
2014 National Television Awards "Best Serial Drama Performance" Won
TRIC Awards "Soap Personality" Nominated
The British Soap Awards "Best Actress" Won
"Best On-screen Partnership" Won


  1. ^ Gillings, Samantha (28 November 2000). "Answer me Getting personal with ... Hayley Cropper". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Chantler, Paul; Stewart, Peter (1 November 2009). Essential Radio Journalism: How to Produce and Present Radio News. A&C Black. pp. 179–. ISBN 978-0-7136-8874-0. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Transgender: A History". AlbertaTrans.org. 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-16. 
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ "Trans Media Watch – Supporters". Trans Media Watch. 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-12. 
  7. ^ [3]

External links[edit]