Sarah Lancashire changed Happy Valley’s ending for the better, creator says

Happy Valley creator Sally Wainwright has said that Sarah Lancashire was “not satisfied” with the original ending she wrote for the popular BBC show, so audiences had to “thank” her for the “satisfying” ending. .

Bafta’s multi-award winning series, which received a five-star review for its final installment from critics and drew millions of viewers on Sunday, follows Lancashire as the no-nonsense Sergeant Catherine Cawood of West Yorkshire as she looked after her family.

Wainwright told the BBC’s Newsnight program on Monday that she has Lancashire, who won the Bafta Award for lead actress for the second series, to “thank you for that ending in so many ways”.


Sarah Lancashire (Sergeant Catherine Cawood) and James Norton (Tommy Lee Royce) on the set of Happy Valley (BBC/PA)

She added: “I wrote the first draft (for the final volume) and everyone seemed pretty happy with it, then she made it clear that she wasn’t happy with it and (for Christmas of next year). 2021)… she came to my house and she spent the whole day talking about it and she gave me some really good notes.

“So things were pushed a little further in that episode and it’s all thanks to Sarah.”

Wainwright added that “Lancashire’s performance is truly outstanding” in the three seasons of the film.

Since 2014, the film has followed Catherine as she grieves for her daughter, Becky, while raising her grandson, Ryan, played by Rhys Connah, and is pursued by her nemesis, the villain. murderer, sex offender and prison escapee Tommy Lee Royce, played by Tommy Lee Royce. James Norton.

The final episode saw Lee Royce set himself on fire and then die in the hospital after a final confrontation with Catherine at her kitchen table.

“I really don’t worry anymore about what’s going to happen,” Wainwright said.

“I’m a bit philosophical that it is what it is, and people will react the way they do, but I think since it seems to be working so well, I was worried that it might fall into the final hurdle. and people might think it was wrong. a disappointing ending in a way.

She added that she knew it would be “satisfying” and that “there’s no point in ending on an upbeat note” for Catherine as she’s someone motivated for “the good”.

The epilogue reveals other storylines ending on Catherine’s final day after 30 years of police service, including solving a murder and reconciling with her sister Clare (Siobhan Finneran).

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She also visited the grave of her daughter Becky and had the opportunity to drive to the Himalayas during her retirement.

Wainwright reiterated that this is the final series of Happy Valley because she doesn’t want it to become “a faint shadow of itself” and that there will be no spin-offs to the film in the future.

Seasons one and two both won Baftas for best drama and screenplay.

The final 70-minute episode drew an average audience of 7.5 million viewers on Sunday, according to BBC overnight figures.

Wainwright was also asked what she liked about working with northern actresses, and said it was about the humor and rhythm of the “shared” language.


James Norton (right) and Rhys Connah (Danny Lawson/PA)

The TV host added: “I think as a shorthand, I think you often had similar experiences growing up.”

Wainwright, who also watched her show Last Tango In Halifax about lovers reuniting, which received the Bafta Award for Best Serial Drama, focused on the strong female characters in the work. hers.

In At Home With The Braithwaites, which ran from 2000 to 2003, she focused on a matriarch of Leeds, played by Amanda Redman, who had captured a secret lottery win.

In Gentleman Jack, which has series in 2019 and 2022, she follows 19th-century lesbian industrialist Anne Lister from Shibden, West Yorkshire. Sarah Lancashire changed Happy Valley’s ending for the better, creator says

Fry Electronics Team

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