Coronation Street – Double Episode Review – Friday 17 January 2014 – 7.30pm & 8.30pm
Owen obtains a loan, and all but Anna are overjoyed. When the Phelans arrive with champagne, Owen reveals to his new business partner in private that the interest is through the roof and their home is collateral. They shake on a 20% share, but it’s surely unwise for such a supposedly savvy business man to reveal these vulnerabilities to a man like Phelan.
Unable to take the bickering any longer, and with Kal’s encouragement, Stella storms out of the Bistro, and accepts Dev’s invite to the Weatherfield Traders’ Association Ball. It’s worth it to see Dev revert to high pitched mania, only tempered by jobsworth Mary charging him for blades from his own shop.
After losing an argument over a taxi with Dev and Stella, Tracy and Rob arrive at the ball late and soaked. Scorned Tracy steals Stella’s cloakroom ticket, leaving her without a coat, and as Dev and Stella arrive home shivering, Tracy and Rob bizarrely fly by poking from the sunroof of a car which splashes them before Stella’s coat is thrown into the gutter.
Todd can barely conceal his satisfaction when Marcus and Maria’s first offer on a house falls through, but it isn’t long before they find somewhere else to view.
Hayley isn’t happy as she examines her face in the mirror. “I feel like I’ve brushed my hair with a toffee apple” she tells Roy, who tells her “you always look beautiful to me.” Despite her decline, she retains her wonderful sense of humour, and jokes with sometime strawberry dealer Tyrone that she’d like some raspberries before convincing him to bring her to Audrey’s for “the full salon experience.”
When David books in two enemies for a hairdo at the same time, high hopes abound for a salon showdown but, disaster somehow averted, what takes place is far better; Hayley is thoroughly pampered and entertained by Maria, Kylie, David and Audrey who give her their undivided attention. Her spirits remain high as she tells biscuit wielding David that she’s watching her weight. “Your task, should you choose to accept it”, she tells Maria, “is to make me look human again”, but Maria, in the most sensitive way, will hear none of it. She gets a new blonde streak in her hair and shellac nails, and savours having such a lovely fuss made of her.
Once home, she shows Roy her chosen dress for when her time comes. He can’t face it and it’s so painful to hear him say, “please don’t…I’m not ready”. But she sadly reminds him that “Time is the one thing that we don’t have”. After being so strong throughout, this is the first time Roy has come close to breaking down, but Hayley lovingly calms him down.
After an earlier distressing bout of confusion, she tells Roy the illness is now taking her places she doesn’t want to go as her body starts shutting down. She asks that they don’t argue about the end tonight. “I want to see the stars”, she tells him, “the bright lights of Weatherfield”, and determined to say her goodbyes, surrenders to “the chariot”.
They meet Chesney and Sinead first and Hayley tells him how proud they are of the fine young man he has become. She wistfully looks at pictures of Joseph, and calls Cilla a fool for missing out on both their lives.
Her next encounter is an unfortunate one. As if Tracy Barlow couldn’t stoop any lower, she mocks a dying woman on her new hairstyle. But Hayley is ready; “Listen to her…living proof that there’s no justice in the world. Your mother’s ashamed of you, your daughter barely knows you, your donor kidney would reject you if it could.” A brilliant, thoroughly deserving line, but on such a night, was there a need to have vile Tracy address her at all? Our consolation is that Hayley herself said her retort felt good.
Peter and Roy leave Hayley and Carla to it at Underworld. While they share jokes and laughter, Hayley has something serious to impart; she acknowledges that she wouldn’t be alive today if Carla hadn’t saved her from Tony Gordon, and thanks her for every year she has had since. A moved Carla tells her, “only you could see it that way”. As the time comes for her to go, the manner in which Carla says “I guess I’ll be seeing ya”, belies an instinct that she won’t see Hayley again. “Not if I see you first” is the upbeat response, and the sinking feeling of the ends of things persists.
As Roy wheels her down the centre of the deserted street, and the hum of Manchester buzzes around them, Hayley asks him to stop so that she can hear the trains at Piccadilly. “Hundreds of people, all heading off on journeys of their own” she ponders as she looks skyward, and Roy kisses her gently.
Back home, she clips her blonde streak off, happy to have known what it felt like to have it. “I want to go as me” she tells Roy who, as he holds her lock of hair, asks when that’s likely to be. “It’s a fair question” he says, and he’s right. “You know when.” she tells him, “Tomorrow”. Together with Roy, our collective hearts sink, and we wonder just how we’re going to face her final farewell, and ever contemplate Coronation Street without her in it.
By Emma Hynes