BBC Happy Valley returns

Happy Valley fans rejoice: a third and final series has just been confirmed

Posted by for TV

Happy Valley, the smash hit BBC One drama starring Sally Wainwright, will be returning to our screens for a third and final installment. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming series so far.

It may be five whole years since we last saw it on our screens but the excitement is still very real: BBC One’s Happy Valley is set to return for a third and final series soon.

Announced today, the drama, which focuses on Sergeant Catherine Cawood (played by Sarah Lancashire) and her tumultuous life, has been renewed for a third series and will begin filming in 2022, after initially premiering back in 2014.

Written by Sally Wainwright, the hard-hitting police drama follows Sergeant Cawood while she tackles crime in her Yorkshire borough of Calderdale. You would expect such idyllic settings to be a calm backdrop and devoid of crime but Cawood’s past has a way of catching up to her.

Happy Valley series one was watched by an average of eight million viewers, with series two averaging 9.3 million viewers. The series two finale was watched by a staggering 9.8 million viewers when it aired in 2016. It’s safe to say there’s a legion of fans that this news will impress.

So what do we know about the new series? Here are the details we know so far…

BBC's Happy Valley returns
Sarah Lancashire will be reclaiming her role as Sergeant Cawood.

What will the third series of Happy Valley be about?

The third series will pick up after the explosive events of the second series finale, some years later. The offical BBC synopsis states:

“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.”

Sarah Lancashire will return to her iconic role of Sergeant Catherine Cawood for six new episodes and this series has seemingly been in the works for a while. It has long been discussed by Happy Valley creator and writer Sally Wainwright and Sarah Lancashire that this will be the final chapter of the Happy Valley story.

Wainwright also adds: “I’m delighted to find myself back in the world of Catherine Cawood and her family and colleagues for the final instalment of the Happy Valley trilogy. It’s been wonderful to see the lasting impact this series has had on audiences all over the world. I’m thrilled that Sarah, James and Siobhan are back on board for what I hope will be the best season yet.”

BBC's Happy Valley returns
James Norton will be reprising his role as Tommy Lee Royce in the upcoming series.

Who will star in the third series of Happy Valley?

Good news, Sarah Lancashire will of course be reclaiming her role as Sergeant Cawood alongside Siobhan Finneran, her on-screen sister and recovering addict, Clare Cartwright.

Finneran says: “I’m so thrilled to be returning to Happy Valley as Clare, and delighted to now be able to answer the question: ‘Please tell me there’s going to be another Happy Valley?’ with a resounding ‘Yes there is.’”

Perhaps in not such great news, Tommy Lee Royce – murderer, sex-offender and Catherine’s nemesis – will be returning and will still be played by James Norton. On coming back for a third series, Norton says: 

“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, six 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.”

Further returning cast members and new additions will be announced in due course.

What has been said about the upcoming series?

As if the excitement wasn’t already enough, Sarah Lancashire has said plainly of the new series: “It’s time to let the dog see the rabbit.” 

Likely hinting at the ongoing tensions between her and Tommy Lee, viewers will probably be in for another round of cat and mouse with these two main characters.

Piers Wenger, director of BBC Drama, also says: “When Happy Valley first launched on the BBC in 2014, it changed the landscape of crime drama completely. Sally has crafted a magnificent conclusion that is sure to make this third and final series one of television’s most highly anticipated and unmissable moments. Huge thanks go to Sally, Sarah and the Lookout Point team, plus James and Siobhan, for coming together for this special moment, and we’re delighted to welcome AMC on board this final series.”

Is there a release date for the upcoming series yet?

At the moment, no. What we do know though is that filming for the upcoming six-part 60 minute episodes will take place in and around West Yorkshire in 2022.

Happy Valley series three will also be made by Lookout Point (Gentleman Jack, War & Peace) for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. 

Image: BBC

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