Happy Valley: New Series from Sally Wainwright features Sarah Lancashire

Happy Valley

This tweet from Holdsworth House (the hotel in Last Tango in Halifax) caught my eye.

The link led to to an article about a new 6 part series from writer Sally Wainwright featuring Sarah Lancashire as a Yorkshire police officer, Happy Valley.

Sally Wainwright and Sarah Lancashire together again! Some days, I long to be a Brit where BBC One is available to me, because nothing I could ask for in terms of storytelling sounds better than this.

PBS better grab this one and bring it to American audiences! (ADDENDUM 8/20/2014: Netflix acquired Happy Valley and series 1 is currently available for streaming from that source.)

Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood
Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood

Here’s how the story begins. Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) is a cop. She’s raising her grandson because her daughter committed suicide shortly after the boy’s birth. The child was the result of a rape. The man Catherine is sure is the rapist has just been released from jail. He is Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton).

James Norton as Tommy Lee Royce
James Norton as Tommy Lee Royce

A disgruntled accountant named Kevin Weatherill (Steve Pemberton) has arranged for some drug dealers, Tommy Lee Royce among them, to kidnap his boss’s daughter. Catherine works the case.

In describing the story, Sarah Lancashire said,

. . . the story isn’t really about Catherine’s job as a police officer but Catherine trying to find a way to come to peace with herself.

Euros Lyn, who directed episodes of Last Tango in Halifax directs several episodes, and Sally Wainwright takes a turn as a director in one episode. The series started on BBC One on April 29, 2014. If it does come to PBS in the U.S. I’m sure it will be months, but I’m certainly hoping it will make it.

You can learn more and read several interviews at the Happy Valley site from the BBC.

All images @BBC or @Red Production Company

5 thoughts on “Happy Valley: New Series from Sally Wainwright features Sarah Lancashire”

  1. YOU are missing the best drama of the year. Here twitter went into overdrive at the end of ep. 4. Sarah Lancashire is so good they are already giving her the BAFTA for leading actress next year. That’s with 2 episodes still to go. Go and yell at PBS or whoever if you like British Drama this is the best I’ve seen in many a year.

    1. Anne, I have been watching Happy Valley (don’t ask how) and agree it’s fantastic. Sarah Lancashire won the BAFTA for Last Tango in Halifax, but she is putting in another BAFTA-worthy performance in Happy Valley. The end of episode 4 was really exciting, that’s for sure. Thanks so much for commenting!

  2. I really enjoy all of Sally’s shows, especially, “The Last Tango in Halifax,” which is my favorite show on television, even in America. I hope PBS picks up Happy Valley, but in the mean time, I will have to check to see where I can purchase it at to watch it. Love to sit down and talk to Sally, she is one talented young lady with just great wrting abilities. Love her shows.

    1. Alicia, I have fingers crossed for Happy Valley on PBS, too. Sally Wainwright has made me into a raving Sarah Lancashire fan with LTiH and Happy Valley.

      Here in America we have Jinji Kohan and Shonda Rhimes making great television for women, but in the UK, Sally Wainwright rules the world as far as I’m concerned. I’d love to see Scott & Bailey shown in the US, too.

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