With chances of a third series consistently hovering between zero and none since 2016, creator/writer Sally Wainwright (Scott and Bailey, Last Tango in Halifax, Gentleman Jack) is at long last returning to Calder Valley, West Yorkshire in Northern England, a.k.a. Happy Valley.
While Wainwright has successfully skated rumors about a third series since the show ended back in 2016, the BBC has confirmed earlier this week a return to Happy Valley one final time with filming set to begin in 2022. Sarah Lancashire returns as Sergeant Catherine Cawood alongside Siobhan Finneran (Catherine’s sister Clare) and James Norton (murderer and sex offender Tommy Lee Royce).
According to the BBC, “When Catherine discovers the remains of a gangland murder victim in a drained reservoir it sparks a chain of events that unwittingly leads her straight back to Tommy Lee Royce. Her grandson Ryan is now sixteen and still living with Catherine, but he has ideas of his own about what kind of relationship he wants to have with the man Catherine refuses to acknowledge as his father. Still battling the seemingly never-ending problem of drugs in the valley and those who supply them, Catherine is on the cusp of retirement.”
After binge-watching both series (12 episodes) in one day recently, five years is just about what is needed before a new set of programs become available. With a level of violence, dangerous behavior and graphic content that, at times, made Luther appear like Father Brown, the BAFTA-award winning Happy Valley was critically-acclaimed for not shying away from the psychological and physical damage suffered by Catherine after her two-series cat and mouse game with serial killer, Tommy Lee Royce, played so brilliantly by James Norton.
Talking about his return, Norton (McMafia, Grantchester) said: “To take on Tommy one final time is a wonderful and daunting privilege, and something I’ve been looking forward to since we wrapped the last series, 6 years ago. I’m so excited to be working with the insanely talented Sally and Sarah again. Thinking we should all go on one last barge holiday, for old times’ sake.”
After watching the first two series, the name ‘Happy Valley’ should definitely not be confused with a place you would want to move but rather it’s what local police in the Calder Valley call the area because of its drug problem.
Whatever the case, it will be good to be back in Happy Valley in the not-too-distant future….well, for a visit, anyway!