It's been almost a year since ex-Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh made her final appearance as Hayley Cropper, when the character took her own life to escape the final stages of terminal cancer.
But the actress, who played the part for 15 years admits the reality of quitting the ITV soap still hasn't sunk in.
"It was a loss leaving Corrie, life-changing in fact and I don't think I've properly processed it yet," Julie says. "It was so busy leading up to my leaving and I was completely immersed in the beautiful, moving storyline they gave me as my finale. I wonder if, when things quieten down, the loss will really hit me."
Since leaving Corrie, Julie has taken to the stage in the play, Blindsided and will next be seen on TV as Cleo, the sister of a gay man in Channel 4's Cucumber, a new drama written by Russell T Davies of Queer As Folk and Doctor Who fame. The series will be part of a trilogy, with spin-offs, Banana (E4) featuring some of the younger characters. While Tofu will show exclusively online.
"Cleo's a gift of a part and I was thrilled and honoured to get it," she says. "I think the series will stir up controversy, but it's absolutely brilliant."
Catch Cucumber from Thursday 22 January on Channel Four.
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