Played by: David
First appeared: 19 July 1995
The character of Roy Cropper was first introduced in 1995 when a new location was brought into the Street. The flats in Crimea Street were purchased by Mike Baldwin and Roy Cropper was a resident at the time of purchase. Originally, Roy lived in the top flat.
Roy appears to have had an unhappy childhood. His father, a french polisher, walked out on his mother when he was 10, and didn't get in touch for 8 years. He had sold the family car, cashed in insurances and started a new life in New Zealand. The young Roy took this very badly, and even though his mother and father have both re-married he still feels deeply about it. Roy hated his stepfather and left eventually home to fend for himself.
Roy was summed up by Mike Baldwin as, 'A bit of a nutter, but harmless enough'. Indeed, this would be most peoples initial summary, as Roy has the look and manner of the archetypal 'anorak', with his beige anorak, scarf, green woollen gloves and omnipresent shopping bag with key attached by tape, but his awkward social manner belies his sensitive and intelligent soul. His keen interest in the well being of his fellow man is easily mistaken for nosiness. Indeed, he was almost evicted from the flats for pestering Deirdre Rachid when he was worried about her welfare.
He has also displayed a caring attitude to both young Jamie Armstrong and Liz McDonald after she was beaten up by Jim. Jamie's mum, Tricia Armstrong took advantage of Roy's helpful nature and persuaded to buy her television set, even though he didn't want one, when she was caught without a TV licence. Roy has also helped Jamie with his maths homework (Roy is a bit of a whizz at maths).
Roy's flat was a wonder to behold - lots of beige and browns and dimly lit, with a book on the Titanic with a hundredweight of post it notes attached, and a fully assembled and painted Airfix Saturn V rocket.
Roy has a keen interest in the paranormal and volunteered his services when the Rovers was being 'haunted' by the ghost of Ivy Brennan.
Although Roy could be peceived as simple by some people, he is nobody's fool. He got the better of a minicab driver who tried to rip him off, and has an excellent recipe for fried bread . He was, in fact, in charge of fried bread at the Imperial Hotel (Paint fat on the bread with a paintbrush and then do it under the grill) and also helped out at Jim's Cafe in Rosamund Street.
In summer 1997, Mike Baldwin needed capital to continue with his factory, and so his wife, Alma, offered to sell her share in the café. The simultaneous sale of Crimea Flats and Jim's Cafe by the businesslike baldwins almost left Roy homeless and jobless. But although he had never given the impression of being a man of the world, he had a hidden fortune in the building society. Alma was set to sell to pizza chain Pizza Heaven, and dismissed an offer from Roy, believing him mentally incompetent. But when Gail Platt pleaded with her she relented and Roy bought her share for £35,000. The cafe was renamed "Roy's Rolls" and Roy moved into the upstairs flat. The next seven months saw Roy's full-time involvement as cafe owner and a major role in the "Red Rec" enviromental protest with Spider Nugent, and a higher profile in the Street.
A major chapter opened in Roy's life when, in February 1998, he was introduced by Alma to Hayley Patterson, her co-worker at Firman's Freezers, with whom he instantly found a rapport. Like himself, she was rather shy and naive, and they found they had a lot in common. After a few hesitant dates, it was clear they were made for each other and Roy made his first tentative attempts at telling her how he felt. He could not have been less prepared when, at an intimate dinner at the cafe one night, Hayley revealed that she was a transsexual; born a boy, and still to have final surgery to make her into a proper female.
Roy reacted badly initially, by rejecting Hayley and going into a depression. Alma, who had also been let into Hayley's secret, intervened and Roy, by now missing his companion, decided he was hasty and made up with her, albeit on a "friends-only basis". Their relationship continued, and grew warmer again, until Hayley came into an inheritance and left to have her operation. Roy, unable to articulate how he REALLY felt about her, bought her goodbye present; a book about "Automotive Engines" (one of their mutual interests!). But inside was a beautiful silver locket; a token of his true feelings. Hayley was speechless with emotion and said a tearful farewell. After she left, Roy was a little depressed, and was clearly missing her badly.
At the end of June, he unexpectedly received a letter from Hayley, who was living in Amsterdam following her surgery. After some encouragement from Alma and Gail, he decided to visit her, and possibly ask her to come back to Weatherfield. Flying abroad for the first time in his life, he found her living on a houseboat in Amsterdam, looking full of life and with his locket always around her neck. He spent some time with her, and tried to pluck up the courage to ask her to return with him, but ultimately failed. Unable to express his feelings, he left her a present of a watch, which gave Hayley the sign she needed to make the decision to accompany him back to Weatherfield.
When Hayley was looking for a new house, Gail Platt dropped some big hints to Roy that what she really wanted was to move in with him, and so, taking a chance, he asked her to live with him and was pleased when she gladly accepted. Gone were the Humbrol paints and the usual debris of a batchelor pad as Roy made his little flat a home sweet home for two. (The Saturn V rocket found a new home on his bedside cabinet!)
Nervous of a physical relationship that might ensure from such a liason, he slept the first night on a camp bed. On a spur of the moment he proposed to Hayley, who had to tearfully decline, due to the legal situation surrounding transexuals. Undeterred, he made his mind up to progress the situation, and, after both of them admitting they were "pure as the driven snow!", they finally sealed their relationship.
Sickened by Mike Baldwin's continued goading of the woman he loved, Roy soaked Mike with beer in the Rovers but this only accelerated the situation. Mike continually threatened to tell the factory girls about Hayley's past. Roy was terrified what people would think about it all and begged Hayley to leave, but she seemed determined to tell all and be damned.
Roy discovered that Hayley had done so when Martin Platt asked Roy straight out in the cafe as to whether it was true that Hayley was a transsexual. Roy admitted that it was, and although the Platts were very supportive, he was humiliated, angry and hurt that Hayley seemed not have thought of his feelings on the matter, and told her so when she returned home that day. To his embarrassment, Roy found that he, too, was subject to the Street gossip. After some arguements, Hayley threatened to leave Weatherfield, and Roy realised that he couldn't bear to part over the issue, so he pledged to stand by her.
In November 1998, Roy and Hayley tried some different hobbies, and tried Spanish, Life Art (with Nick Tilsley as a model!) and amateur dramatics. Roy found to his dismay that, unlike Hayley, he had no talent for any of these pursuits.
He also received an offer from the bike shop next door to the cafe for the lease. Gail was unwilling to support such a change and, needing the money after a crisis with Martin's job, sold her share in the cafe to Hayley, leaving the way clear for Roy to find new premises for the cafe. He spent the next few months planning the move and engaged Steve McDonald to carry out the refurbishment work on the Victoria Street shop.
As their first Christmas together approached, Hayley told a disappointed Roy that she had to spend Christmas Day with her lonely Aunty Monica, so they had their Christmas dinner five days early and toasted to their future happiness.
When Hayley was put in charge of the Underworld Valentine's Day Disco, Roy was scared to go because he couldn't dance, so he took some dancing lessons in the evenings, but was horrified to find that Hayley had discovered his subterfuge. He was deeply upset when Hayley turned up at the instructor's house, looking through the window. She had not believed him, and Roy was hurt. A coldness grew between them.
After a talking-to by Alma, Roy realised how much she did care, and so did go to the disco, dressed as John Travolta. He used his lessons to great effect, sweeping Hayley off her feet and closed the evening by proposing to her with his grandmother's engagement. She happily accepted! The news was received by the Street residents with mixed emotions, and when they went to see a vicar, he refused to marry them, quoting the bible. Hayley was bitter, and Roy was disappointed but he was still determined to find a way.
The new cafe was almost ready, and Roy's Rolls, nee Dawson's, nee Jim's cafe, was formally closed by Gail, Audrey, Alma, Roy and Hayley on the 19 February 1999.
The new cafe on Victoria Street was ready to open, but when he came down from the flat, he found the cafe flooded by a burst pipe! Roy was furious and distraught and blamed Steve McDonald for the mess. After some temporary arrangements involving a hot dog machine, the new Roy's Rolls opened for business on the 26 February and was a roaring success.
The couple's wedding plans took a step forward when they met Jessica Lundy, the temporary lady curate for St Paul's, and after some deliberation, she agreed to marry them. Roy and Hayley made their plans, with only three weeks in hand. Spider and Curly got Roy very drunk on his stag night!
They made it to the church on the 21 April 1999, only to be foiled by Les Battersby, who had tipped off the press and was keen to see the wedding plastered over the papers. A devastated Roy and Hayley returned to the cafe, thinking the ceremony a washout, but, after a moment of inspiration from Roy, they were married in the cafe, with all their friends and family beside them. During the reception, Hayley revealed to Roy she had changed her name by Deed Poll and was now Hayley Cropper.
Mr and Mrs Cropper left for their honeymoon in York (home of the railway museums!), amidst much jubilation and happiness.
After a quiet summer, the Croppers joined the Weatherfield First Aiders and allowed them to use the Cafe as their meeting place for a few weeks. Their new training came into action at the Freshco-sponsored Bonfire Night on the Red Rec, when the main Freshco rocket landed on the roof of the First-Aid tent. Roy and Hayley managed to pull Lester, the first-aid trainer and Audrey Roberts to safety when the tent caught fire.
On seeing the council's inadequate provision for Millennium celebrations, Roy decided to try and encourage the locals to mount their own Street party, and was reluctantly voted chairman of the organising committee. After the usual last-minute panics and typical exasperation, everything came together beautifully and he became the hero of the day for organising a superb Millennium party. He came to the fancy dress party dressed as Edmund Arkwright, who apparantly "invented the bevelled flange which revolutionised the northern cotton milling industry".