Happy Valleys Joanna Hepworth abuse storyline praised by Mel B

Happy Valley: Joanna is attacked by Faisal

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Series three of Happy Valley has subtly begun to look at the impact of domestic abuse through Joanna Hepworth (Mollie Winnard) and Rob Hepworth’s (Mark Stanley) relationship. The storyline has caught the attention of former Spice Girl, Mel B, who has praised writer Sally Wainwright after experiencing the same issues in her past relationships.

In the past, the singer has been very vocal about her own experiences with domestic violence and is a huge advocate for helping women in difficult scenarios.

She recently wrote a column where she praised Sally’s portrayal of domestic abuse, and weaving the issue into a much larger storyline.

Mel explained that she has never watched the crime BBC series when it first came out, and only began to watch it a week before series three dropped.

She went on to praise Sarah Lancashire’s acting, as she portrays Catherine Cawood, and brands the character as “off the charts”.

“I am in awe of all of the actors, from James Norton and Siobhan Finneran to Con O’Neill and Ishia Bennison,” the singer began.

“I want to name every one of them because, like with Catherine, I know all these people. They are completely true to life, true to my northern soul.”

However, it was the most recent season which struck a chord with Mel as it began to look at coercive control and domestic abuse within a marriage.

Mel added to the Independent: “Season three is the one that is everything to me. I went through a 10-year abusive marriage where, at my lowest, most desperate and isolated, I took to drink and drugs to self-medicate.

“So when Mollie Winnard [Joanna] appeared on screen – glassy-eyed and battered, with low-level terror seeping from her pores – this wasn’t a woman I knew, this was a woman I was.”

Mel touched on the scene where Catherine gave Joanna the chance to open up about her abusive husband, but she stood back in silence.

She expressed that nine years later she was sitting on her bed willing for Joanna to talk, but she knew how she felt and her reasons for sitting in silence.

“Those scenes made my blood run cold because they were so unbelievably real that I wanted to call the writer and creator, Sally Wainwright, to tell her how much this had moved me,” the Spice Girl added.

The pop star added she was “so proud” to be one of the women to break the silence of domestic abuse and so should Sally Wainwright.

During the third episode, Joanna died a violent death on the floor of her kitchen, not by her husband but of her cycle of abuse and the need for more medication to numb the pain.

Mel explained the scenes “horrified” her when watching them, but felt “strangely triumphant” at the actor’s portal.

Last week, Catherine found out that her sister Claire Cartwright (Siobhan Finneran) and Neil Ackroyd (Con O’Neill) had been taking Ryan to visit his father in prison.

During tonight’s episode, Tommy is in court after pleading guilty to another murder and asked for Ryan Cawood (Rhys Connah) to attend.

Catherine, Clare and Neil all tried to tell Ryan that he shouldn’t go, but he takes matters into his own hands.

Ryan know’s very little of what his father is capable of and the crimes he has commited, but will he walked straight into danger?

Happy Valley airs Sunday from 9pm on BBC One.

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