Happy Valley writer explains dark meaning behind show's title

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Happy Valley made its return to screens after its seven-year hiatus and sees the iconic Sarah Lancashire back as Sergeant Catherine Cawood. During the latest instalment of the BBC series, Catherine discovered she had been betrayed by her grandson, Ryan (Rhys Connah) and her own sister Clare Cartwright (Siobhan Finneran). Clare and Neil Ackroyd (Con O’Neil) had been taking Ryan to visit his killer dad, Tommy (James Norton) in prison.

It also emerged that Ryan had been writing to his dad since he was 10 years old.

When Happy Valley made its comeback, the show’s creator explained that she always knew this would be the final series.

However, speaking in a recent interview, Sally Wainwright discussed what fans can expect from series three.

She went on to explain the meaning behind the name of the show, Happy Valley.

READ MORE: BBC News’ Joanna Gosling speaks out after quitting ahead of merger

Speaking about what inspired her to write the drama, Sally began: “I saw a documentary by Jez Lewis called Shed Your Tears and Walk Away and it was about drug and alcohol problems, specifically in Hebden Bridge.

“The other influence was that, when I was a kid, there was a series called Juliet Bravo, which I really, really liked.

“It was actually not filmed far from Hebden Bridge, it was filmed in Todmorden.

“It was about a female police inspector and it was a really good show.

When working on each series of Happy Valley, Sally and the team work closely with police advisors to make the show as accurate as possible.

However, while Happy Valley may seem far from sinister, the meaning of Valley in police terminology is very different.

“I always work closely with police advisors, who are old police officers who have worked in the area, and one of them told me that is what they call the Valley because of issues with drugs,” she said.

“For me, it reflected the show. It’s dark, but it has also got a lot of humour in it.



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