Hollyoaks star’s powerful tribute to Corrie icon after writer altered plot

Hollyoaks star Annie Wallace has paid tribute to Coronation Street's Hayley Cropper, saying the trans character was the only person who represented her on TV.

Annie, 58, made history as she became the first trans actor in a regular trans role in a UK soap when she was cast as Hollyoaks’ Sally St Claire in 2015. Corrie character Hayley (played by Julie Hesmondhalgh), was also a trailblazer as she was the first transgender character in a British soap.

Annie opened up about Hayley’s impact on her as she talked about giving her own input for an important Hollyoaks speech. It saw her character Sally talking about the trans flag and what it meant to her.

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“The only person who ever represented me on television was Hayley Cropper because so much of her came from me, apart from of course the fabulous writing and the fabulous performances which are the important part, but Hayley was just an ordinary person,” she said. “I feel that there are not enough ordinary trans people in the public eye at the moment, so it was nice to put my aspect over in that way.”

Sally’s speech in Hollyoaks was part of the Channel 4 programme’s special episode about solidarity. Annie said she was approached by a writer about giving her own input.

“Ultimately she (writer Alanna Hallum) thought it would be authentic coming from me and asked if I could give her any ideas,” said the star. “I just said, 'I can tell you a monologue off the top of my head right now', so I did it!"

She went on: “Pretty much what came off the top of my head went into the script. Obviously she finessed it and did her professional writer work but it was a good opportunity to get a little ten pence in which was nice.

“It also explained a lot of my own philosophies about being trans and a lot of it is not reflected in today’s world.

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"I don’t often fit in with what is commercially thought of as being trans and that being out and proud and fabulous and shopping and make-up, it’s just not me. I don’t feel it.”

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