10 Things You May Not Know About 'Happy Valley'

(Photo: Acorn TV)

There's not long to wait – Happy Valley's third and final season is due to premiere on BBC AmericaAMC+, and Acorn TV in May. But in the meantime, you can watch the thrilling first season on Acorn TV from Monday, March 13. It's a gripping and profoundly emotive six-parter that introduces us to no-nonsense Yorkshire cop Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire), her troubled sister Clare (Siobhan Finneran), her innocent grandson Ryan (Rhys Connah), and of course her terrifying criminal nemesis Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton).

To whet your appetite, here are some things you may not know about the zeitgeist-grabbing crime series created by Sally Wainwright.

1. The show's title comes from a local nickname for Calder Valley, where it is set and largely filmed.

Wainwright was born in Huddersfield and raised in nearby Sowerby Bridge, which are both locations featured in the series. "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," the creator explained earlier his year. "For me, it reflected the show. It's dark, but it has also got a lot of humor."

2. Wainwright has hailed two other TV series as a particular inspiration.

Namely: Juliet Bravo, a 1980s BBC drama about a female police inspector, and Nurse Jackie, the US dramedy in which Edie Falco stars as high-functioning New York City nurse Jackie Peyton.

"Nurse Jackie had a profound effect on me and I wanted to create my own Jackie Peyton, by turning her into a police officer," Wainwright told Radio Times. "There was also a 2009 documentary called Shed Your Tears and Walk Away by Jez Lewis, about the drug and alcohol culture in [Yorkshire town] Hebden Bridge among a certain age group. It’s really heart-breaking but brilliant. I got the cast to watch it before we started filming season one. It helped set the tone for what we were trying to achieve."

3. The song used at the beginning and end of every episode is "Trouble Town" by Jake Bugg.

Bugg first released this evocative bluesy rock song in 2012, a couple of years before Happy Valley premiered.

4. Wainwright wrote Catherine Cawood with Sarah Lancashire in mind. 

The two women had previously worked together on Last Tango in Halifax, a lighter Yorkshire-set series co-starring Nicola Walker, Derek Jacobi, and Anne Reid. "I knew I wanted to write something else for Sarah after Last Tango in Halifax, because she was so fantastic in it. And we are more or less the same age," Wainwright told GQ. "When people get older, they just have more stuff going on in their lives, they have more life experience, more personality, and more skeletons in their closets."

5. Playing Tommy Lee Royce has literally given Norton nightmares in the past.

The actor spoke about the mental toll of playing his malevolent Happy Valley character at a recent screening event, saying: "I do remember from the first series, I had really violent scenes. It was written and filmed much darker, and I would spend ages beating her up. It goes into your subconscious and somehow it emerges in your dreams."

6. Lancashire and Siobhan Finneran have known each other for more than 40 years.

And they definitely get along well in real life. "We first met when I was 17," Finneran told The Guardian. "She's a couple of years older and was doing this brilliant theater studies course at Oldham College, which I'd applied to. Sarah and some other students performed at the open day. We met then and eventually did a play together. We've both got a slightly warped sense of humor and we both like a cake. It's always a joy to work with another actress who actually eats cake."

7. Rhys Connah had never acted on screen before he landed the role of Ryan. 

Despite his inexperience, Wainwright has said he was the "only actor" who could play Catherine's grandson. "I had never auditioned for anything before and I didn't get the full script, because I was nine and it's very violent," Connah told GQ. "I remember reading two different scenes and I didn't think anything of it until a few weeks later when I got the call saying they wanted me for it. Then I remember being on set and having to be told directly: 'Don't look at the camera!'"

8. The show has some very famous fans.

Wainwright has revealed that Amy Schumer sent her a message raving about Happy Valley. And Norton told The Big Issue: "Apparently Bob Dylan's a massive fan. It’s mad, isn’t it? I love that Bob Dylan is watching this show."

9. Catherine and Joyce's favorite Italian eatery, Grappolo, is a real-life restaurant in Huddersfield.

And just like in the show, it hosts themed music nights. You can check out the menu (including the wine list that Catherine and Joyce know so well) here

Grappolo restaurant

(Photo: @grappolohuddersfield / Instagram)

10. After wrapping the season finale, Lancashire gave candles to the entire cast and crew.

But not just any candle – a special candle that she made in collaboration with local company Yorkshire Soap. Sharing a photo of "The Happy Valley Trilogy" candle on Twitter, the company added: "During this time she donated to us the police hat and shoulder numbers from season 3 that went on to raise an amazing £4,500 ($5,400) at a charity event organized by The Halifax Ukrainian Club."

Fans of the show can buy the candle, too, with all profits going to a hospice chosen by Lancashire and Wainwright.

The Happy Valley Trilogy Candle

(Photo: @yorkshiresoap / Twitter)

Are you looking forward to returning to Happy Valley?