If there is a barometer of right and wrong on 21st Century Coronation Street it is Roy Cropper.
Beautifully underplayed with sensitivity and humour by David Neilson, Roy has stood up to bullies, nurtured troubled souls and provided sound advice when asked.
His marriage to Hayley made him one of the show’s best loved couples and fans were relieved when he didn’t get remarried to Cathy Matthews after Hayley’s death in 2003.
Currently his greatest dilemma is how to rescue Carla Connor from her demons. As he has shown in the past if anyone can find a way through with care and compassion it’s Roy.
Roy Cropper’s first appearance
Roy first entered our soap lives when he popped out of his flat on Crimea Street – “last door, top of the stairs, I’m usually in” – to give Deirdre some advice whilst she hoovered.
The flats were an investment of Mike Baldwin’s which Deirdre was helping with the running of so Roy was keen to impart all the vital information at his disposal.
“Gas meters above the front door, electrics are through there and the stopcock’s under the stairs,” said Roy helpfully.
Unfortunately his neighbourliness was mistaken for something more sinister and poor Roy almost got evicted.
Roy Cropper and his beloved Roy’s Rolls
Roy has owned and managed Roy’s Rolls since 1999 when he bought it off Alma Baldwin and he lives in the flat above it keeping safe his trusty holding.
Current staff are Shona Ramsey and Alex Warner (part-time) but there are plenty who have helped Roy behind the counter including Kylie Turner, Leanne Battersby, Sarah Platt and of course Hayley.
The staff member who most got customers backs up was Roy’s mum, Sylvia, who took all the condiments off the table and started charging for them.
One of Roy’s nastiest moments was in 2005 when he was attacked by bully builder Vince until Charlie Stubbs, of all people, came to his rescue.
Roy Cropper and his one true love, Hayley
“Come on King Canute, get those shoes and socks off…” It was Hayley who led the way when she and Roy had their last paddle together in the sea in Blackpool.
Over the course of their 15 year relationship it was often Hayley in charge, whether she was giving Roy driving lessons or helping him with his mother, Sylvia.
Roy though could surprise her. He secretly took dance lessons with Norris to perfect his foxtrot so he could spin her round the Blackpool ballroom to The Carpenters’ Close to You.
Best of all he supported Hayley in all things however difficult. From her initial surgery when she transitioned soon after they met to her final decision to take her own life after her terminal cancer diagnosis.
Roy Cropper’s trials and tribulations
A soul as honest and trusting as Roy was always going to be easy prey for life’s natural predators such as Tracy Barlow.
Tracy almost destroyed Roy’s life in 2003 when she spiked his drink convincing him that he was the father of her child, Patience (aka Amy). Tracy sold Amy to the Croppers for £20,000 before revealing Steve was Amy’s real dad.
Factory owner Tony Gordon nearly killed Roy in 2009 after unwittingly confessing to the murder of Liam Connor. Gordon pushed him in the canal before having an attack of conscience. Mind, he then tried to kill Hayley instead.
More recently Roy was horrified when he discovered his sleepwalking was to blame for the fire on Peter’s boat that nearly killed Simon.
Roy Cropper and his mum, Sylvia
Only child Roy’s relationship with his mum wasn’t the easiest. When Hayley suggested Sylvia (Stephanie Cole) live with them after the death of her second husband she wasted no time bossing Roy around.
He didn’t approve of her holiday romance with businessman Milton Fanshaw (Robert Vaughn) though in the end Sylvia chose Roy over a new life in America.
It was his mother’s gambling that brought the pair of them closer together. With the help of Dennis Tanner and Ken Barlow, Roy worked out a mathematical system for Black Jack and won back her losses.
He was less forgiving when Sylvia started making hash brownies for her arthritis and when she left after Hayley’s cancer diagnosis. Roy was deeply affected though when he heard she had died from a heart attack.
Roy Cropper and his surprising friendships
His intentions are always honourable and yet if you were to guess who Carla Connor and Becky Granger’s most cherished male relationship was on the Street Roy might not seem the most obvious choice.
Wild child Becky (Katherine Kelly) was close to both Roy and Hayley who looked after her through many a spectacular meltdown, none more so than on her first drunken wedding day with Steve McDonald.
Carla told Roy that no one would ever match up to him and Hayley, and Roy has stood by her offering one of his kidneys and when she wouldn’t take that giving her a place to stay.
The only things he can’t stand are Carla finishing his sentences for him – and lying. Even when Carla was doing that to protect Roy over his sleepwalking it’s a line he will not cross.
Roy Cropper’s most memorable storylines
Sometimes a continuing drama storyline comes along that is both so beautifully handled and emotionally devastating that it eclipses all others.
When Hayley was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer she decided to choose her own time to end her life, something which Roy was at first vehemently opposed to.
In the end though Roy supported his wife’s decision even if he still couldn’t understand it. He lay down next to her playing a favourite piece of theirs, The Lark Ascending, as she bid him farewell.
The “right-to-die” story won an incredible six awards including Best Storyline and Best Single Episode for Hayley’s Death at the 2014 British Soap Awards and multiple acting honours for David and Julie.
A classic Roy Cropper quote
“I must say performing the foxtrot with Norris is one of the stranger experiences of my life.” Roy on his secret lessons which enabled him to dance with Hayley in Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom.
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