Happy Valley (S1 to S3) Series: Britain’s Great Crime Drama

Happy Valley – this British series is a compelling crime drama about the not-so-happy place in Yorkshire, UK. It is about the personal enmity between – Police Sergeant Catherine and the criminal Tommy.

Actor Sarah Lancashire played the protagonist Police Sergeant Catherine Cawood, while actor James Norton played the antagonist criminal Tommy Lee Royce in this police crime thriller from Britain.


Happy Valley Series:- synopsis

In Halifax, West Yorkshire (UK), Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire), divorced, with two children (one of which is deceased), serves as a police sergeant. She is still trying to recover from the suicide of her daughter which occurred eight years earlier. She raises her grandson Ryan, born of the rape of her daughter by a criminal Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton). It is an emotional crime drama, that depicts the personal and professional lives of Catherine Cawood.


Happy Valley Series:- a review in brief

If you love a fascinating British crime drama, then it is a perfect series to binge-watch on any given weekend. And I have already informed you that it is one of the best crime series. Here are the top reasons to watch this intense crime drama.

  • It is BAFTA awarded and critically acclaimed crime drama TV. All three seasons received high praise from the viewers as well as the critics.
  • Sally Wainwright did an excellent job as the creator and writer of this tension-filled drama, as it has a lot of highly dramatic scenes in the series of eighteen episodes.
  • It has been a treat to watch Sarah Lancashire portraying the challenging role of the protagonist Police Sergeant Catherine Cawood.
  • Besides her, almost all the actors in this series have played admirable roles, with special mention of Siobhan Finneran and James Norton.

With eighteen episodes spread across three seasons and nine years, this British show tells the story of – their underlying personal hatred for each other and their subsequent violent confrontations, both verbal and non-verbal kinds. These dramatic scenes were tense, riveting and intriguing to watch. Both the award-winning actors – the protagonist Sarah Lancashire and the antagonist James Norton have been excellent in this fascinating crime series. And both of them are very well supported by the excellent ensemble cast members.

Happy Viewing!


Happy Valley Series:- details

GenreCrime, Drama, Thriller
CreatorSally Wainwright
Episodes Eighteen (3 seasons X 6 episodes)
EpisodesSeason One (1) – Six (6) Episodes {2014}
Season One (2) – Six (6) Episodes {2016}
Season One (3) – Six (6) Episodes {2023}
CastSarah Lancashire, Siobhan Finneran, James Norton, Rhys Connah, etc.
Awards Crime Thriller Awards, UK – Best TV Drama, Serial or Season (2014)
Crime Thriller Awards, UK – Best Supporting Actor – James Norton (2014)
British Screenwriters’ Awards – Best British TV Drama Writing – Sally Wainwright (writer 2014)
BAFTA TV Awards – Best Drama Series (2015)
BAFTA Television Craft Award – Writer: Drama – Sally Wainwright (2015)
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards – Best Writer – Sally Wainwright (2015)
Biarritz International Festival of Audiovisual Programming – Golden FIPA – TV Series and Serials – Sally Wainwright, Euros Lyn, Tim Fywell (2015)
Monte-Carlo TV Festival – Best European Drama TV Series (2015)
Monte-Carlo TV Festival – Outstanding Actress in a Drama TV Series – Sarah Lancashire (2015)
Irish Film and Television Awards – Best Director – Drama – Neasa Hardiman (director 2016)
Irish Film and Television Awards – Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Drama – Charlie Murphy (actor 2017)
BAFTA TV Awards – Best Drama Series – Sally Wainwright, Juliet Charlesworth, Nicola Shindler, Neasa Hardiman (2017)
BAFTA TV Awards – Best Leading Actress – Sarah Lancashire (2017)
BAFTA TV Awards – Best Writer: Drama – Sally Wainwright (2017)
BAFTA Television Craft Award – Writer: Drama – Sally Wainwright (2017)
About – Happy Valley show.

Happy Valley Series:- poster

Happy Valley show – poster.

“I’m just becoming the person who I’ve always wanted to be. Don’t take s**t off anybody anymore, I say it like it is, and I know who I am. Finally.”

Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire)

Happy Valley Series:- ratings

FM’s rating4.45/5
IMDb rating as of the date8.50/10
Rotten Tomatoes ratings as of the date98% Tomatometer & 94% Audience Score
Critics Consensus / Rotten Tomatoes Dark, edgy, and surprisingly suspenseful, this show dispenses some of the more oddly liberating violence on television.
FM, IMDb & Rotten Tomatoes ratings – Happy Valley show.

Happy Valley (S1/2014) Series:- brief info.

The first season of this crime thriller was aired way back in April 2014. It won the prestigious BAFTA TV Award for best drama series in 2015. Also, two of its actors from this series were nominated for the BAFTA TV acting awards, namely, Sarah Lancashire (played protagonist Police Sergeant Catherine Cawood) and James Norton (played antagonist criminal Tommy Lee Royce) in this show. A young child Rhys Connah (played by kid Ryan Cawood) was caught in the crosshair between these two – as their deep-seated enmity only got worse.

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Happy Valley (S1) Series:- trailer

Official Trailer – Happy Valley (S1) show | YouTube.

Happy Valley (S2/2016) Series:- brief info.

After almost two years, its second season was released in February 2016 – it received an equally good response as the first season. It won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Drama Series in 2017 and its creator Sally Wainwright won the award for Best Writer-Drama. While Sarah Lancashire won the Best Leading Actress Award and Siobhan Finneran got nominated for Best Supporting Actress at BAFTA TV Awards.

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Happy Valley (S2) Series:- trailer

Official Trailer – Happy Valley (S2) show | YouTube.

Happy Valley (S3/2023) Series:- brief info.

After a long wait of nearly seven years, its third and final season was released in January 2023. A young child Rhys Connah (played by Ryan Cawood) in season one has grown into an athletic teenager in season three. His teenage story is the centrepiece. After watching it, we could say that season three has tied up loose ends thoughtfully and managed to give a gratifying finale to the tense crime drama.

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Now in case you are trying to jump right into the latest 2023 – season three of this crime show, then check this video about the recap of its season one as well as the season two. In addition, there is a considerable gap of almost seven years, between season two and season three of the show, so in this period the kid boy character Ryan has grown into a teenage boy – a man really, you can check the video of the same.

Happy Valley (S3) Series:- trailer

Official Trailer – Happy Valley (S3) show | YouTube.

There is one particular video scene that we really liked in this show, Catherine’s brilliant comeback to Ryan’s teacher’s lack of evidence, as he complains about her grandson’s behaviour.

There is an explosive clash between Catherine and Tommy in this final season, as both the characters dig deep into the years of hatred and pain in this dramatic scene in the said video.


Focus:- British writer Sally Wainwright

The English television writer, producer, and director from Yorkshire (UK) – Sally Anne Wainwright is the creator of this crime drama series. She is also known for writing other highly acclaimed series like – Scott & Bailey (2011-2016) and Last Tango In Halifax (2012-2020). In addition, she has written and created another popular series Gentleman Jack (2019-2022), recently.

BAFTA Awards – 2013 Winner BAFTA TV Award – Best Writer: Drama – Last Tango in Halifax
British Screenwriters’ Awards – 2014 Winner British Screenwriters’ Award – Best British TV Drama Writing – Happy Valley
Writers’ Guild of Great Britain – 2015 Winner Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award – Best Long-Form TV Drama – Happy Valley
Bafta TV Craft – 2015 Winner BAFTA Television Craft Award – Writer: Drama – Happy Valley
Bafta TV Craft – 2017 Winner BAFTA Television Craft Award – Writer: Drama – Happy Valley
BAFTA Awards – 2017 Winner BAFTA TV Award – Best Writer: Drama – Happy Valley
Awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her contributions to the arts, specifically for services to Writing and Television.
Awards won by writer Sally Wainwright

Focus:- British actress Sarah Lancashire

The English actress from Oldham, England – Sarah Lancashire has won awards for the crime drama show and The Last Tango in Halifax. She is also known for her acting in the Seeing Red (2000) movie, the Clocking Off (2000) series and the Julia Child (2022) show.

National Television Awards, UK – 2000 Winner National Television Award – Most Popular Actress – Seeing Red
BAFTA Awards – 2014 Winner BAFTA TV Award – Best Supporting Actress – Last Tango in Halifax
National Television Awards, UK – 2017 Winner National Television Award – Most Popular Drama Performance – Happy Valley
BAFTA Awards – 2017 Winner BAFTA TV Award – Best Leading Actress – Happy Valley
Awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to Drama.
Body of works – actress Sarah Lancashire

If you like watching the BAFTA-winning drama series from the UK, then go ahead and check out our FM article about the Peaky Blinders series, too.

Featured & Other Images: Happy Valley | Facebook & IMDb.