Happy Valley (TV Series 2014– ) Poster

(2014– )

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Stunning drama
info-6-48564920 May 2014
I've been thoroughly enjoying this dark gritty drama. All the leads are excellent, but Sarah Lancashire as the main police officer with a tragic family history, is outstanding. It started well then just got better and better with each episode and twist of the plot (and screw) having me on the edge of my seat. I've just watched what must be the penultimate episode and it has left me physically shaking - it was that convincing and shocking. It's hard to credit the complaint of mumbling by one reviewer. I can't recall even one line of script I didn't follow and it's usually something that bugs me. I'm so glad I've watched this series, it's got to be one of (if not the) best TV dramas of 2014.
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By far the best series I've seen on TV this year
josephsoap2126 June 2014
I cannot praise this series enough. It has an air of realism about it from its location to the main actors. The lead sergeant Catherine Cawood and her sister are so ordinary, preoccupied with ordinary things, (no trendy,smarmy,clever middle class media interpretations of what ordinary people speak like dialog). Without exception every character is believable. With master classes in acting from the lead, her sister, her grandson and Tommy the maniac. The criminals are believably cruel and stupid in measure. The damaged and unfortunate are portrayed realistically but with compassion. No left wing idealism or right wing coldness that usually invades these type of program. The setting is the bleakest place I've ever seen, a beautiful English valley shrouded in mist, dampness and high rises. The streets and buildings are claustrophobic. Most of all the story is credible, consistent and finely paced. raw emotions are not avoided and dysfunction is everywhere. And yet there's something noble in sergeant Catherine Cawood.
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Absolutely riveting
juanita-langley15 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
This drama series is indescribably good. What takes place in the first 10 min of episode 3 has left me, a very brave and unflinching movie/TV watcher, shocked to the core. I was so upset that I had to pause the show to regain my composure. Sarah Lancashire's portrayal of Catherine Cawood is leaving me in awe and I find myself counting the days to the next episode. It is impossible not to feel her passion for policing, her incredible pain at the lost of her daughter and the disappointment she has in her failed marriage and ex husband. The fury I feel towards Kevin Weatherill for his stupid and selfish act that culminates in the horror that is this show, is testament to Steve Pemberton's brilliant acting. If you do not watch this series you are seriously missing out on maybe the best ever detective show made in the UK.
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Just give her the award now - Sarah Lancashire
flying_pixel1 June 2014
I've only just realised what a great actress Sarah Lancashire is (I last saw her as a dizzy blonde in Coronation Street!). In the whole range of the Happy Valley character its the silences, those long lingering close-ups of her face as it conveys everything she doesn't have to say. One minute you feel sorry for the poor sod; next your laughing at the characters directness; next your almost in tears as she drives to hold herself together in the face of crippling memories. The story itself it terrific but sitting in the middle is Catherine Cawood, the dedicated, honest, seen-it-all-before, no-nonsense copper. The writer who opened the story with the confrontation with a smack-head allowed some cracking dialogue to kick the series off and show us the character we will grow to like and care for. The BAFTA's hers!
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jarcheese20124 June 2014
The most intense, well written, well acted crime series I've ever seen on television. For six weeks I've been hooked on a story that uses a police drama as a framework for the human emotions that are at the core of this fantastic series. Steve Pemberton (The League of Gentlemen, Inside No 9) as the self-interested accountant out of his depth when a kidnapping plot goes horribly wrong was brilliant and James Norton was easily one of the best psychopaths I've ever seen in a television drama. There was real depth to his character and I expect he was hated by viewers as much as Joffre in Game of Thrones nonsense police officer. But it was Sarah Lancashire's show all the way as the tough, no-nonsense, but damaged police officer. At first I thought this was going to go the way of the film Fargo, with it's kidnapping-gone-wrong scenario, but by the start of the second episode it was clear that it was going to take a different path. Be warned though, it's dark and unsettling with moments of sudden shocking violence, especially at the end of the fourth episode, where I was left shaking at the sheer intensity of it all. Better than anything American crime dramas have had to offer us over the past year, it was brilliant. Absolutely bloody brilliant!
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Top Notch
nowego24 May 2014
This was not a show that I expected to be blown away with, although I am a long term fan of Sarah Lancashire, and with Sally Wainwright involved I should have expected it to be good.

This is beyond good, if you don't get hooked and wanting more after the first episode you probably should not be watching.

There are so many good things to say about this show that I run out of words, but one word that sums up how I feel is gob-smacked.

Having watched 4 out of the 6 episodes so far, I have to say that it has been quite a while since I wished that the days would speed by so I can get my mitts on the next episode.
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Gripping, Powerful, Tense, 100% drama at it's best
albatosh21 May 2014
Happy Valley......not for most of the residents! The BBC tend to (every now and then) come up with a block busting drama series. This one had (and has) me gripped to my seat from the start. Clever interaction between all the cast and 'Superb' acting on the part of every actor/actress including Corrie's Sarah Lancashire and Benidorm's Steve Pemberton. Great Yorkshire setting, the atmosphere oozes out of every brick & stone. Edge of the seat stuff, every episode ending in a cliff hanger.. Please let there be more BBC, you do have an awful habit of killing of great drama series just when everyone is hooked (e.g. Garrow's Law). Bring on season two please (writer) Sally Wainwright
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Drama with a capital D
kevinanddawnharty24 May 2014
Absolutely incredible Drama with a capital "D". Please tell me they are talking with Sarah Lancashire about a second series.I look forward to seeing Sarah, the cast and production team at all the award ceremonies this year.BRILLIANT!! and we have only seen 4 episodes. The locations, the camera work,the wardrobe and the realistic make up all combine to give the episode such realism it is at times genuinely frightening.In my experience fear generated when watching TV comes only with groundbreaking drama of the highest order. The cast leave me breathless with admiration at such fine performances from all involved but like all great team efforts there is one shining light giving a career best performance as Catherine Cawood that is Sarah Lancashire.
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BAFTA material
rven34 June 2014
I thought 'Scott & Bailey" to be extraordinary - and it is - but "Happy Valley" is gut wrenching, heart stopping, uncomfortable, and totally, totally brilliant. Firstly, nothing of quality can be created without a very good script, and Sally Wainwright's script is her best yet, and rivals her Scott & Bailey scripts. The dialogue crackles with its own rhythm, and sharp observations of modern life, while the emerging story is all at once shocking as it is at times ordinary.

Happy Valley is the name the police use to describe this neck of the woods, around Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. Drugs, unemployment, and the resultant crime are part of everyday life. Within this mix, we meet Catherine Cawood, a policewoman (formerly a detective) played by Sarah Lancashire. At the risk of throwing too many superlatives into this review, I believe Ms Lancashire should win a BAFTA in 2015 for her portrayal of a dedicated, often jaded, but loyal and determined copper. I *believed* her character, through her heroics, as well as her anti-heroism. Her ambivalence towards her young grandson is uncomfortable to watch, but completely understandable. It would be too easy to say that Sarah Lancashire *is* the show, but that would be unfair to some of the other fine performers, such as James Norton, George Costigan, Siobhan Finneran, and a stellar performance from Steve Pemberton, whose character, Kevin, sets off the whole mess of events which kept me breathless for the 6 episodes.

The environment - around Hebden Bridge and Halifax, in West Yorkshire - is beautiful, and the buildings appear to have grown directly out of the landscape, and while this may be an ancient environment, the problems which occupy the police all belong in the modern world. I am really hoping there will be a Series 2.
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As good as Telly can get.
cliffmacdev25 August 2014
I have just finished watching the series and I must clarify now. I am a cynical person just looking to find fault with television or film.

I am very careful about what I allow into my head. This has to be about as good a television series as can possibly be. I do not even own a television. Watched via Netflix.

I live in America and the tripe that's dispensed, made me give up my telly. I grew up in England and maybe biased since I really haven't seen anything to compare with British TV. In America in my opinion there is Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom and The West Wing and David Kelly's Boston Legal. That is comparable to Happy Valley. Different shows but brilliant quality.

Happy Valley has flawless acting, direction, score if that's the right term, script, pace,delivery, essentially perfect. Whether this is as a result of great casting, direction or simply brilliant actors, I haven't a clue. I am also an unemotional person and I really cannot see how television can get better. It's restored my faith somewhat, not enough to buy a TV but to realize that it can be that good.

Just really pucker!
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Wonderful writing,great performances.TV drama at its best.
ianlouisiana13 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
One day Mr S.Pemberton will be recognised for the superb actor that he is.In "Benidorm" he plays the outwardly crass Garvey paterfamilias as a completely believable bloody - minded Manc,but his performance slowly reveals him to be a loving husband and father frustrated by his inability to articulate his emotions. From "The League of Gentlemen" to "Inside No.9" he has displayed the ability to act and perform comedy outside the box and in "Happy Valley" he has reached a new level as an embittered accountant who conceives a plan to hold his boss's daughter for ransom after being refused a pay rise.He passes the plan on to a local villain then finds his boss has changed his mind. Horror - stricken,he goes to the local nick where he meets sympathetic Sgt Cawood(the equally inspired Miss S.Lancashire),but runs off before she can get the truth out of him. Sgt Cawood has what you might call "issues" as her daughter committed suicide after giving birth to a child as a result of rape.Incidentally,she is buried in a graveyard near Sylvia Plath.Not surprisingly the child has "issues" too as does Sgt Cawood's sister(The mighty Miss S Finneran - Mrs Garvey in "Benidorm" -who is a recovering heroin addict. But please don't think that "Happy Valley" is a drama that disappears up it's own self - pitying bottom because all the women are too tough for that particular cliché to apply. Instead they front it out as the rapist is released from prison,gets a job with the local bad guy who is engineering the kidnapping and proceeds to rape the victim. Miss Lancashire is the best,toughest and cleverest female cop since Miss Frances McDormand in "Fargo".It would never surprise me if in the end she didn't feed the rapist into a woodchipper.I certainly don't fancy his chances of staying alive,let alone free. What with "Happy Valley" and the female - led "The Crimson Field",the BBC are leading TV drama out of its male - dominated somewhat patriarchal comfort - zone and giving us some real warts and all portraits of women who are not content to make tea and cakes while hubby rides home on the 4.55.from Victoria.
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Breathtaking Stunning Exceptional Brilliant
Brentdavids15 June 2014
I cannot fault this Police/Crime drama. The writer has proved again, as with Scott and Bailey she has a feel for UK Policing and the consequences for the victims, offenders and officers involved of the crime. I was pretty much in tears at one point following one of the scenes and was astonished at how amazing Sarah Lancashires' performance was. Thiswas truly BAFTA material all round with faultless performances that's why 10/10. I sincerely hope they do not have a second series but let this remain a one off spectacular piece of TV. I understand a second series has been discussed but why would you risk blemishing a perfectly constructed drama?
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None better
kalle_ankare16 March 2016
The fact that Sgt Catherine Cawood is not a real person but a character played by an actress is completely 100% inconceivable. The portrayal is SO real in every aspect. It's real in every mannerism, in the shift between her persona as a private person and police officer, in the way she dresses, the way she wears her hair, her make up, the choices she makes and how she behaves. I've never seen a performance like it in my life. So extremely vulnerable, yet so extremely strong and when push comes to shove so extremely brave and tough. I for one would not want to cross her, for she would surely kick my behind severely, at the same time I sure would want her to talk to if ever I was victimized.

As for the series, both one and two, the plot squeezes the characters so hard that it's sometimes unwatchable because you relate so intensely to the psychological pressures their under, both the good guys and the bad.

An absolute must to watch!
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British character drama at its very best
camdentownie1328 May 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The best thing on TV since Broadchurch, and it may even have the edge. Sarah Lancashire's performance is the glue that holds the whole story together, but every character is painted in broad strokes without a cliché among them.

Everyone is flawed and for that reason human. Brilliant writing and acting brings them to life. Sgt Catherine Cawood is a character for our time, struggling to fight off the kind of crime that becomes rife when times are bad. Criminals don't pay tax and don't use banks so even though crime is not supposed to pay, with cuts in the police service, it does.

*spoiler alert* Catherine is fighting her own demons, guilt over her daughter's suicide and an ill-advised affair with her ex is preying on her mind. Episode 5 was a touch of genius, showing how this strong woman could be destroyed not just by a violent attack but by the sheer feeling of futility in its aftermath.

By the end of the episode she is finding her way back and I for one can't wait for the final episode. For anyone who says there is no good writing for female actors, then this is the series that will change your mind.

The men are great too, btw. James Norton as the sociopath Tommy Lee Royce could have played him completely black and white, but there is a huge amount of grey in him. The small scenes where he skips along the wall of his mum's house harks at a childhood missed and attempts to recapture it. And he also says a lot with facial expressions, just as Lancashire can say more with a loaded glance than a whole monologue.

Brilliant piece of TV. Can you tell I like it? Catch it if you can, but try to get the whole series on iPlayer. It is a real builder of suspense and worth the time investment.
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A dark drama
Tweekums3 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Kevin Weatherill is an ordinary man doing an ordinary job as an accountant; he is not happy man though; he wants to send his daughter to a private school but his boss refuses to give him a raise. When he sees that another client is dealing drugs he comes up with a plan… he will get this man to kidnap his boss's daughter and use the ransom to pay the school fees. This man agrees and the plan is set in motion. Keven later changes his mind but by now it is too late… the girl is about to be kidnapped by a couple of men; including the thoroughly unpleasant ex-con Tommy Lee Royce. Royce is already known to the police; most notably Sgt Catherine Cawood; Royce raped her daughter leaving her pregnant but nothing could be proved. Following her daughter's suicide she is determined that Royce will get nowhere near her grandson and hopes to put him back in gaol as soon as possible… she doesn't know about his latest offence though; nobody has reported the kidnap to the police… an inaction that will have fatal consequences.

When I started watching this I was expecting an English 'Fargo'; dark but still a bit funny… well it was dark but there were few laughs; there weren't intended to be. Sarah Lancashire does a great job as Sgt Cawood and James Norton is genuinely disturbing as Royce. The rest of the cast are pretty solid too; most notably Steve Pemberton, who plays Weatherill; a man getting in over his head then blaming everybody but himself for the consequences of his actions, and George Costigan who plays Nevison Gallagher; father of the kidnapped girl. The story was gripping from start to finish with some shocks along the way and right up to the end I was unsure whether we'd get a happy conclusion or a tragic one. Overall I'd say that this was one of the best TV dramas I've watched for some time; it is well worth watching.
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Point-on-point representation of life in West Yorkshire
hazzahx16 September 2015
I saw the trailer for this series thinking it would be your average BBC attempt at making yet another piece of sh*t crime drama, but upon watching the first episode I was amazed by how similar it is to my life in Halifax. Drugs are everywhere, everyone is doing them or has a relative who is, alike our main character Catherine with her druggie of a sister, I myself have several druggie relatives that are woven deep into the crime underworld of West Yorkshire, I love how accurate this show is and hope that the next season is just as good, I have no problems with this show whatsoever and only wish that it's next season has a deeper insight into life in the valley and how Drugs play such a key role in many peoples lives around here.
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Excellent British Drama
dnolan71425 August 2014
My wife and I were surfing the net one lazy Sunday afternoon and I found Happy Valley on Netflix. BBC television frequently has shows we enjoy so we pulled it up and began watching the series. It's started off slow and it takes a bit to catch up with the language and how it flows but we're good at understanding the dialog. The longer we watched the more we became engrossed in the story line. I'm a retired cop after 30 years on the job and yes there were some minor flaws in basic cop stuff but I'm forgiving ....it's a show, not reality. The writing and acting were impeccable. The story flows and the many strands of the story began to come into one main story. We recommend you just sit and watch as it unfolds, you will enjoy the story. The individual actors had their characters spot on and really developed their individualism. Human behavior and rationalization of ones actions were mingled throughout the characters. Despicable, weak minded individuals, criminal types and then the sociopath one that really stands out from the minor league criminals...it's all in this show. Honestly, we watched the entire series ( 6 hours ) in one afternoon and evening. I've already checked and noted that the BBC has renewed the show for another season so we can see the Sergeant build her character even more, along with the supporting cast.
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Absorbing, tense, and wonderfully acted
Red_Identity23 August 2014
I expected something slow paced, in the vein of The Killing. Not at all, but it's absorbing and tense from the start, very mainstream-accessible, and always intriguing. The acting from all involved is pretty excellent, especially Sarah Lancashire. An amazing performance, one that I hope gets serious awards recognition next year. I ultimately liked this more than I expected to, it's easy to get caught up in its plot and I also think that it does a great job moving it along at a surprisingly fast pace while also having some fantastic character moments. At times it gets a bit too over-the-top in its melodrama, but it never actually fails to emotionally hit home. I'm super ecstatic that it's coming back for a second season.
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petercwelch21 March 2016
This series is the best thing I have seen on TV bar none. Sarah is a fabulous actress. It is almost impossible to think of her other than as her character. The rest of the cast is of similar caliber. They call some others "reality shows" but this series is the real reality show. The writing is so good as to be totally believable, and the performances beyond reproach. Please make as many episodes as humanly possible. It will be hard to wait for another season but some one has to do it! I use subtitles to be sure not to miss dialogue. More episodes please! I wish they could make these faster so I could access it every single evening. Perhaps I will have to wait a bit til the details of season one blur a bit so I could successfully re watch it.
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A Netflix classic
a-ross1-941-9270781 September 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Binge-watching the series on Netflix over two days, I was drawn to make favorable comparisons with several classic dramas.

Detective Sergeant Catherine Cawood ranks with Marge Gunderson (Fargo) and Sarah Linden (the Killing) among the best ever no-nonsense female law enforcement officers, and the series is reminiscent of both in its often inhospitable climate, quirky supporting cast, and overall excellence of writing, performances, and production values.

The parallels with Fargo continue..Kevin Weatherill channels Jerry Lundegaard ...both are ordinary men driven by greed to participation in kidnapping plots, with the circumstances rapidly getting away from them.

Neither of the those two dramas contains a villain to match Tommy. I have to look to Javier Bardem's character in No Country for Old Men to find a psychopath as evil. Not even the final episodes can evoke any sympathy from me.

Despite these comparisons, Happy Valley stands on its own as an excellent show. Netflix has another winner.
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Perfect Television
martys-64 January 2015
This is without a doubt the best mini-series I have ever watched in my 77 years. Sarah Lancashire is an amazing actress and certainly deserves more attention than she has received. The rest of the cast down to those with the least screen time also give flawless performances. Normally dispassionate while watching a movie, I learned to hate the villain, which means that his performance was also amazing.

The story line is engrossing, the direction is nigh perfect. Even the music fits perfectly.

In January 2015 this series is on Netflix. Watch it, you won't be sorry.

This my first review.
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By far the greatest drama series I've seen.
asneyd2 January 2019
As a proud Aussie, I have to give it to the British. We've just finished watching both series 1 and 2 over two days. The series was great to watch, edge of your seat thriller with comedy, and great in depth characters that make Happy Valley a must watch. I've never given 10/10 for any show or movie, however this show has clearly earned it!
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An Excellent show
kfss2645 November 2018
I've recently become enamored with British police procedural/crime dramas. Because of this, I discovered Happy Valley. This is another hit! The casting and writing is superb.

These shows are so much better than the usual trash we watch on network TV.
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Riveting - Compelling - Intense
moi_craxy7 October 2015
I don't know where to start from but if you are looking for an intense well acted, well directed, unique and an intense plot-line this is for you. I loved the complexity of the main character and the actress totally nailed the role. A great thing about this series is how the characters felt very real and flawed just like people in real life. There is decent amount of violence. I hope more people get to see the series cause it has great potential. This series deserves as much recognition and praise as True Detective to be honest. I am sure if it were on HBO people would have been going crazy about it. Cinematography is great too.
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Happy Valley
jboothmillard25 June 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I decided some time ago that I would try more new programmes, including those that do not necessarily have recognisable names in the cast, and this was one of those shows I spotted, and I'm really glad I did. Basically set in the valleys of West Yorkshire, Catherine Cawood (Coronation Street's Sarah Lancashire) is a strong-willed police sergeant, over time she has tried to come to terms with the suicide of her daughter, who left behind a nephew, who lives with her and her sister Clare Cartwright (Downton Abbey's Siobhan Finneran). Kevin Weatherill (Steve Pemberton) is accountant who asks for more money from his boss Nevison Gallagher (George Costigan) to help his daughters get into good schools, but when Nevison refuses Kevin decides to get Ashley Cowgill (Joe Armstrong) to orchestrate a kidnapping of Nevison's daughter Ann (Charlie Murphy). It is only at the last minute that Kevin finds out this kidnapping would not need to happen, with Nevison considering an increase in his money, but it is too late, Ashley and drug offender Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) kidnap Ann and keep her locked and tied up, demanding £1,000,000 from Nevison ransom. Kevin and Nevison do not report the kidnapping to the police, and Kevin tells his wife Jenny (Julia Ford) of the situation, all they can think of doing is keeping the ransom money he receives, but slowly Catherine becomes involved with the crime as she becomes suspicious of Tommy, who she has seen around, and she knows his criminal record. Catherine blames Tommy for her daughter's suicide, after he raped her and made her pregnant, eventually the secret kidnapping is discovered by Catherine and the police, and the situation becomes increasingly dangerous when Tommy finds out he is the father to the Catherine's nephew and he gets closer to the child. Also starring Shane Zaza as Shafiq Shah, Adam Long as Lewis Whippey, Rhys Connah as Ryan Cawood, Jill Baker as Helen Gallagher, Derek Riddell as Richard Cawood, Ishia Bennison as Joyce, Hannah John-Kamen as Justine, Amer Nazir as Twiggy and Kelly Harrison as Ros Cawood. Lancashire gives a great performance as the determined police woman, usually in comedy Pemberton proves himself as a great serious actor, and the other members of the cast all play their parts well too. I have seen a few kidnap dramas before, but this one was written and performed so well that it flowed with realism, all six episodes were really gripping, and it was not afraid to be controversial with its shocking scenes, including swearing, rape and violence, I'm not surprised a second series is being considered, a brilliant crime drama. Very good!
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