Happy Valleys Sarah Lancashire had a big voice in how series ended

Happy Valley: Sarah Lancashire stars in season three trailer

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Season three of Happy Valley is confirmed to be the final outing of the BAFTA-winning drama from Sally Wainwright. Happy Valley has been off-screens since 2016 but the show finally made its comeback on New Year’s Day for its last instalment. While details are being kept tightly under wraps about which way the story will go, the stars and creatives did open up about making the third series of the BBC drama and how the ending came about.

Speaking to media including Express.co.uk, executive producer Will Johnston: “Sarah, who’s an executive producer on this series, has a very big voice actually in how we conclude Catherine’s story and so she should.

“It’s sort of to be worked out together and Sally – as singular as she is as a writer and as a director – is also a massive collaborator.”

Johnston went on to say: “I don’t know anybody who leans on research relationships – the two police advisors, for example, we have on this series – in quite the same way as Sally.

“She’s incredibly meticulous, trusting and interested in authentically representing what it’s like.”

Johnston also confirmed there wouldn’t be a season four of Happy Valley, much to the disappointment of fans.

He said both Lancashire and Wainwright “completely rightly” felt they wanted to finish Happy Valley on a high.

From Johnston’s words, the end of Happy Valley has been a long time in the making with Lancashire and Wainwright wanting to end the story on a satisfying note.

Additionally, there was a joint decision between them to rest the programme for seven years to allow actor Rhys Connah to grow up so he could reprise the role of Ryan Cawood again as an adolescent.

During this period, the characters were also given room to grow with season three showing changes since the last outing.

Actress Siobhan Finneran, who plays Clare Cartwright, said her co-star Lancashire “needed a big sleep” after filming season two such was the sheer intensity of the shoot with a lot “going on”.

Finneran continued: “I am going to speak for Sarah – my job is not like her job in it. Sarah’s got the intensity.

“She’s on set from morning to night learning page after page after page of dialogue, so I kind of pop up every now and again in exotic knitwear, peeling the odd carrot, having a bit of fun.”

Johnston also said there was a lot of collaboration between Wainwright, who also served as director on some of season three, and the rest of the cast during filming.

Actor James Norton – who is better known as Tommy Lee Royce – teased the final season, echoed Finneran’s words and also teased the final outing.

He said: “It is intense because you know the stakes. You know the expectations, the wonderful pressure, this time round we had because the first two series were so well-received and loved.

Norton went on to say: “It’s sort of sacred you know. We loved the expectation and the pressure.

“Also, because every time you get the scripts, you’re like, ‘Yes, she’s done it again.’ She’s not fallen short.

“She never would but there’s always that thing: is this going to be as good as the first two? And I think it’s better, just gets better and better.”

Norton said audiences could expect to be wrong-footed throughout season three with the story growing even bigger than before.

The twists and turns were a surprise to the actors while they were working on the story with fans likely to be left equally stunned by the revelations.

Happy Valley season 3 airs on BBC One on Sundays at 9pm

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