Happy Valley series 3: full cast and how to watch BBC One drama, why was there a delay between series?

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The final series of Happy Valley makes its return to Calder Valley and BBC One to kick off the new year

The multi-BAFTA award winning Happy Valley, starring Sarah Lancashire, is set to make its final return to BBC One on New Year’s Day as Sergeant Catherine Cawood discovers the remains of a gangland murder victim in a drained reservoir. This sparks a chain of events that leads her straight back to Tommy Lee Royce, played by James Norton.

Cawood’s grandson, Ryan (played by Rhys Connah), is now 16 and has ideas of his own about the kind of relationship he wants to have with the man Catherine refuses to acknowledge as his father, leaving Catherine’s sister Clare (Siobhan Finneran) caught in the middle. In another part of the valley, a local pharmacist gets in over his head when a neighbour is arrested, the official BBC synopsis has revealed.

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Penned by Sally Wainwright, the show once again takes place in the Calder Valley - with the Yorkshire theme commonplace in the television writers work. Wainwright, a Yorkshirewoman herself, found critical acclaim with her series before Happy Valley, the award winning Last Tango in Halifax.

Explaining the show to uninitiated audiences through the BBC, Wainwright explained Happy Valley “is not a police show, it’s a show about Catherine, who happens to be a police officer. It’s not a police procedural, it’s not a crime show. It’s really about Catherine and about what happened to her in the past and this weird crooked relationship she has with this man who affected her life so badly.

When asked about the delay between the release of series 2, which concluded in March 2016, Wainwright revealed that “I waited six years because I wanted to get to a point where Ryan would be old enough to start making choices about whether he wanted to have a relationship with his dad or not.

“Could he have a relationship with his dad, and how would Catherine feel about that? I really wanted to be able to explore that. It’s been great that we got Rhys back to play Ryan which has been fantastic, and he has done a really lovely job in that.”

Full cast for Happy Valley series 3

  • Sarah Lancashire as Sgt Catherine Cawood
  • Siobhan Finneran as Clare Cartwright
  • Charlie Murphy as Ann Gallagher
  • James Norton as Tommy Lee Royce
  • George Costigan as Nevison Gallagher

How can I watch Happy Valley series 3?

Happy Valley series three begins at 9pm on January 1, New Year’s Day, on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. The first two seasons of the programme are also available for catch up through the BBC iPlayer.

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