Coronation Street actor was originally cast in transgender role as ‘a joke’
Coronation Street actor Julie Hesmondhalgh has revealed that the show’s producers only cast the transgender role as a “joke”.
Hesmondhalgh said that the role of Hayley Cropper was intended to be a two week joke, but producers kept her on after the audience loved her.
Talking to Stella magazine, she said: “I wasn’t meant to be in Coronation Street for any longer than two weeks.
“The character of Hayley was originally written as a joke. It wasn’t a politically correct one, but this was back in 1998. The joke was that Roy Cropper (David Neilson) was going to go on a series of disastrous blind dates, one of them being with a man who had transgendered to a woman.”
Hayley Cropper was the first transgender character to be cast in a British soap, and Hesmondhalgh was determined to make the role last and convince the audience to love the character.
The actor quickly understood that she needed to commit to the role after having to explain the plot line numerous times to the public.
“To me, that was it. You make people like this woman – understand her – and you say more than any political speech or lobbying,” Hesmondhalgh explained.
The star, who is set to appear in the next series of Broadchurch, nabbed the role and convinced producers to keep her on.
She played Hayley Cropper for 16 years, before the character took an overdose in an emotional plot line that saw her give up her struggle with incurable cancer.