Netflix Acquires Happy Valley

Happy Valley

Netflix announced it has acquired the British drama Happy Valley. It will be available on Netflix starting August 20.

The six part series stars Sarah Lancashire as a police officer in a small town in Yorkshire.

Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley
Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley

I originally mentioned this series here. In addition to Sarah Lancashire, the series also stars James Norton as Tommy Lee Royce, a rapist and murderer who is not only a criminal on police radar, but a personal nemesis of Lanacashire’s character Catherine Cawood.

Siobhan Finneran, whom you may know from Downton Abbey, is Catherine’s sister Clare Cartwright. Clare and Catherine live together and jointly care for Catherine’s grandson.

The series was written by Sally Wainwright. In true Sally Wainwright fashion, there’s a lot going on, a lot of threads squeezed seamlessly into 6 episodes. There’s a current crime (a kidnapping) plus an older crime that haunts Catherine that resulted her daughter’s suicide, a broken marriage that followed the older crime, a grandchild to cope with as a result of the older crime. There are numerous characters related to the current crime – it’s a large cast and a wide-ranging tale.

Sarah Lancashire has done many British costume dramas, and she’s good at them, but she’s truly marvelous at the contemporary roles. Rose and Maloney, Last Tango in Halifax, and Happy Valley are the three contemporary pieces I’ve seen her in. Her age, her fortunate association with Sally Wainwright, the current status of women in television, and her brilliant talent have all combined to make this her moment. She’s in a very good place in contemporary entertainment and she deserves all the awards and praise she earns as a result.

If you have Netflix, you simply must watch Happy Valley.

Images ©Red Productions

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