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#GoodbyeHayley: 'Coronation Street' Stars Call For Julie Hesmondhalgh To Win NTA After Hayley Cropper's Death

21/01/2014 09:21 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 21:01 GMT

There wasn't a dry eye in Britain on Monday night, as the nation said goodbye to Coronation Street's Hayley Cropper.

And the stars of the ITV soap have called for Julie Hesmondhalgh - who played the cancer-stricken character - to triumph at the National Television Awards, after her emotional portrayal of Hayley's tragic story.

hayley cropper

Viewers saw Hayley die in Roy's arms after taking her own life

As tweets poured in paying tribute to the character - who died in the arms of husband Roy (David Neilson) after downing a lethal cocktail during Monday's episodes - the cast urged fans to vote for Julie in the Best Serial Dramatic Performance category at Wednesday's NTAs.

Antony Cotton - who plays Sean Tully - tweeted: "Tonight we say goodbye to Hayley and @juliehes. What about bobbing her a vote in @OfficialNTAs for one of these...? "

Samia Ghadie (Maria Connor), also retweeted an update from the official Coronation Street account, adding a link to vote for Julie.

Catherine Tyldesley - who playes Eva Price - added: "master class in acting from @juliehes and David ...just amazing... #corrie."

Read more star and fan tributes to Hayley in the gallery below...

#GoodbyeHayley

Such was the outpouring for Hayley's death, that the Samaritans were on alert following the show.

The Sun reports that volunteers who work for the charity were briefed to expect a deluge of phone calls from upset viewers.

Julie herself was unable to watch the show due to rehearsals for her play 'Blindsided' at Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre, and was absent from Twitter as the final scenes aired.

However, she tweeted in advance of the show: "I'm rehearsing tonight so won't be online, but THANK U for all your incredible messages today. Totally overwhelmed xx x."

She later added: "Night night Mrs Cropper. Thanks for an incredible 16 years. Xxxx."

While the storyline had caused some controversy, Julie also defended how the soap had tackled the right to die issue, telling BBC Breakfast it had been handled "very responsibly".

"It's very balanced. In the weeks to come we see the devastating effects on Roy, of the story, what Hayley's decision was," she said.

"And I feel it's been done very responsibly, and very gently, and it's been seeded for months and months."

She added: "I have an opinion about it, and I love that I seem to have been pegged as this 'humanist avenger' trying to tell the world about assisted dying.

"It's not an 'assisted dying' storyline. She takes her own life. She makes sure that Roy's not involved in it at all."

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