Hayley Cropper to leave Coronation Street

Julie Hesmondhalgh

Actress Julie Hesmondhalgh

Fan favourite transgender character Hayley Cropper will be written out of 'Coronation Street' following actress Julie Hesmondhalgh's decision to leave the soap after 15 years.

Hayley Cropper is leaving 'Coronation Street'.

Actress Julie Hesmondhalgh - who plays the transgender soap favourite - plans to quit the ITV1 series after 15 years of playing café worker Hayley to pursue a career in theatre and her alter ego has been promised a "dramatic exit" at the end of the year.

Julie told The Sun newspaper: "I've had the most wonderful and happy time in the life-changing 15 or 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 made me realise there's life in the old dog yet and that there are other things I want to try."

Loveable character Hayley first appeared on Weatherfield's cobbles in 1998 as Hayley Patterson and soon fell in love with gentlemanly café owner Roy Cropper (David Neilson). The pair suffered their share of heartbreak over the years - most notably when their first marriage wasn't legally recognised - but have won the soap widespread acclaim for their depiction of a transgender relationship.

Julie added: "Whatever happens next I'll always be proudest of lovely Mrs Cropper and, in particular, what we achieved in changing attitudes to transgender -- and in portraying possibly the most loving, faithful and steadfast couple in the history of soap. I'll always be the show's biggest fan."

The 42-year-old actress' co-stars took to Twitter last night (11.01.13) to share their sadness at losing such a core member of the long-running soap.

Antony Cotton - who plays Sean Tully - posted: "So here is the sad, sad news... Send your love to her @juliehes. She's the lynchpin in our Weatherfield family. I honestly don't know how we'll cope..."

Sally Dynevor - who stars as Sally Webster - added: "@juliehes will miss amazing Julie Shes very special lady, corrie will never be the same #loveyoujules" Hayley -- the first transsexual in a British soap -- and Roy have been at the heart of a string of major storylines."


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