Loading articles...

'Coronation Street' suicide storyline draws praise and criticism in Britain

In this photo provided by ITV plc, on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, television characters Roy and Hayley Cropper, played by David Neilson and Julie Hesmondhalgh, in a scene from Coronation Street. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, ITV plc

LONDON – It was one of the gentlest deaths in soap-opera history, but it has provoked a strong reaction in Britain.

More than 10 million people watched the long-running soap “Coronation Street” on Monday evening as Hayley Cropper, sick with incurable pancreatic cancer, took an overdose of drugs and died in the arms of her loving husband Roy.

Some praised the storyline for its sensitive handling of illness and death, but others said it risked encouraging suicides.

Right-to-die campaigner Jane Nicklinson, whose late husband battled for the right to have a doctor help him end his life, said the story had “done our cause proud.”

But anti-euthanasia group Care Not Killing said Tuesday that the program was “in great danger of normalizing an occurrence that is actually very rare indeed.”