Hesmondhalgh stars in gay life show

This Is Lancashire: Julie Hesmondhalgh is set to return to TV screens Julie Hesmondhalgh is set to return to TV screens

Former Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh is making her first television appearance s ince her controversial exit from t he soap i n a new drama about 21st century gay life.

More than 10 million viewers tuned in to watch her character on the Street, Hayley Cropper, commit suicide in a controversial right-to-die plot in January.

T he actress joined the soap in 1998 to play its first transsexual and won the hearts of the nation with her on-screen romance with cafe owner Roy, played by David Neilson.

She joins Freddie Fox and and Thick Of It star Vincent Franklin in the cast for Channel 4 drama Cucumber, which is the creation of Queer As Folk and Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies.

The eight-part series, which is being filmed in Manchester, is described as a witty look at " the passions and pitfalls of 21st century gay life" and w ill be shown next year.

Julie plays the sister of Franklin's character Henry.

The channel is also producing another series, called Banana, that will be shown on E4 and follow the same characters.

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