Coronation Street fans will be well aware that Julie Hesmondhalgh's leaving the soap later this year, but that still didn't prepare quite a few of them for her rather emotional exit storyline.

Viewers took to Twitter on Monday night to express their sadness as her on-screen counterpart Hayley Cropper was told her cancerous tumor was inoperable, marking the beginning the of the end for one of the Street's most memorable characters.

That's most definitely not the end of the story though, as Corrie bosses have revealed that Hayley's tale is about to get a lot more complicated. If you'd rather not know what's going to happen we suggest you look away now.

As Hayley's health begins to deteriorate over the next few months, she's going to make the decision to take control of her own death and Coronation Street will explore the issue of 'the right to die'.

"Hayley has been through such a lot in her life and is very concerned about losing control as the disease progresses. The palliative care Hayley receives is superb, but she is scared that pain relief can cause confusion and a loss of clarity. She is concerned that she might regress back to being her former male self, Harold. She has already had one such nightmare" producer Stuart Blackburn explained.

"So she comes to the decision that she wants to die in peace, to die with her clarity of thought still intact and most of all to die as Hayley - the identity she has spent her whole life fighting to be. Once she knows that she has a very short time left to live, she sets about getting her life in order so that she can take control of her final moments before the illness renders her incapable of doing so", he continued.

"This is a very sensitive issue and we will be exploring the effects of her decision on husband Roy who has a huge emotional and moral dilemma over her choice to die this way."

It isn't the first time a British soap has dealt with the issue (EastEnders fans will remember that Dot Cotton helped her old friend Ethel to pass away peacefully) and the decision to run with this particular plot was no doubt influenced by the number of recent high profile cases in both the British and Irish courts.

This is one storyline that is bound to get people talking and encourage a bit of debate about the highly contentious issue.