Your reactions to the suicide storyline in Coronation Street

Coronation Street sign
(photo by Andrea_44)

Tonight the ITV Soap Coronation Street will see Hayley Cropper, a character who has pancreatic cancer, end her life.

As the Metro says “stand by your tissues”. If the build-up is anything to go by there is sure to be a strong reaction. Here is a bit of a spoiler on Digital Spy.

Over the weekend the debate continued.

Former Paralympian Baroness Grey-Thompson says this storyline may encourage disabled or ill people to take their own lives. While Daily Mail commentator Peter Hitchens’ take on the Corrie’s storyline and the ensuing debate is “the worst thing is that this sort of propaganda by melodrama bypasses wisdom and reason”.

We asked people on Facebook and Twitter what they thought

Kevin said:

“The storyline is about suicide, not assisted suicide. Everyone already has the ‘right’ to kill themselves like Hayley. I agree with Ian Penfold – let’s help the living to live, not the dying to die. 2. It is at least a strange coincidence that the story appears just as Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill is being launched. 3. Telling some people that suicide is fine as their lives are valueless because they fulfill certain physical criteria WILL impact upon disabled people….”

But those views aren’t shared by Donna who said:

“As a severely disabled person, since birth I think it should be an individual’s choice whether to end their life with dignity. As long as that person is of sound mind. I live with constant pain as my body won’t tolerate painkillers. It is hard to explain to someone how bad the pain is. Most people think they understand pain, but take my word for it, there are many different types of severe pain, and unless you have experienced bone pain for example you can’t possibly know how demoralising it is to live with day in and day out.”

Alison’s post was particularly poignant:

“I am in the last few weeks/months of my life according to the consultants, I am only 47, I will not allow myself to become a shell of the person I am, I will not and do not want to let my children watch me struggle much more with the pain I am living with. I want the right to a dignified end, an end where my mind is sound and I have been able to have conversations with the people I love.”

Christine thinks the storyline has been “very well done” and:

“This is a case of a women who is aware of her choices and made them after careful thought. She knows why she wants to do it. It’s not like she had a bad day and then decided to end it on a 5 minute decision. This argument has been around far longer than the coronation street storyline and soaps tend to mirror real life issues. The fact is the character is going to die at some point. People with disabilities may live a long life, but with excruciating pain and loss of quality of life.”

Susan added:

“Assisted suicide was covered in Emmerdale, in a tragic storyline and the legal ramifications that followed. I can’t recollect any call for a change in the law with that storyline.

Corrie’s storyline is the suicide of a person with terminal cancer. I don’t see how the leap can be made. I’m very unsure about assisted suicide. I understand the point of view of helping somebody who wants to die but can’t do it for themselves but I can also see how it can be abused not just by relatives but by officials etc. And the way this country is at the moment I can see such a law I can see disabled people being persuaded to die when they don’t want to.”

Michelle said on the Scope blog:

“As the mother of three disabled children, two of whom are severe learning disabled this frightens me! I can see some state doctor making the decision to euthanize my children when they are adults as the most economical option, rather than pay the high expense to care for them properly. It’ll be a sad day for society when that happens!”

Tonight, the proof of the pudding will be in the watching. We have to wait and see what happens, but the debate will continue, and as this headline in the Western Daily Press says: “From Tony Nicklinson to Hayley Cropper, the right to die debate is not going away”.