By the time this post goes up, it is likely that we’ll either know about the premiere date for the third season of Happy Valley – after more than a 5 year gap – or it could have even started. Knowing that a third season was being made and coming out soon, it felt like the right time to re-watch the first season and then make sure I am in a position to watch the new episodes as they air.
Not to mince words, but Sarah Lancashire is one of the greatest living actors to work in television. I am old enough to remember seeing her on Coronation Street, but have since seen her in other works like Clocking Off, Seeing Red and Lark Rise to Candleford. I even saw her in the short-lived stage production of Betty Blue Eyes alongside Reece Shearsmith.
So yes, big fan of her and I don’t know if I will see her topping this performance in Happy Valley. Then again, she has Sally Wainwright’s creative machine with her on this one – which does make me look forward to eventually getting around to Last Tango In Halifax.
The thing about Happy Valley that works so amazingly well is that it feels real. We have so many police dramas on television, that to see something that isn’t testosterone fuelled cliche. The characters and their problems are bleak, but normal. This is not a well to do area, the name Happy Valley being a nickname due to the areas huge drug problem.
So many of these characters are those that you root for and you can still feel incredibly angry at. Lancashire’s character makes so many bad choices, but is also a true hero does her job as a sergeant to the best of her abilities whilst still be incredibly affected by the things she sees and does. This show gets violent at times, yes, but it never feels gratuitous – instead shadows of things to come.
I am so looking forward to the third season now and, if anything, the prolonged break will be a great thing. A lot will have happened in the intervening years, but wow what stories Wainwright will be able to tell. Wish it was on right now.