I will be the first to admit that I'm not really a fan of British programming. I find British shows to be rather short and uneventful, whereas with American television, the shows last a lot longer. However, above all else I am a TV 'person', so when I heard the endless amounts of positive reviews about this show, I made a promise to myself that I would give it a go.
I missed Happy Valley when it first aired on BBC One last year, but my mother was raving about it. This week, I finally took the time out to watch the series. Binge-watching a show is my ultimate weakness and as a result I had Happy Valley finished in two days. I struggle to find words to tell you how good this series is, bursting with panic-inducing moments and twists that you never see coming. Sarah Lancashire shines as Sgt. Catherine Cawood, stealing every scene that she is in. There is something captivating about her as an actress, you never want to take your eyes off of her. Few actresses have to capacity to make you feel everything as Lancashire does here. Despite his horrific character, James Norton is incredible as villain Tommy Lee Royce. Norton has proven to be an extremely versatile actor over the past year, with starring roles in ITV's Grantchester, Happy Valley and new BBC three-part drama Life in Squares. The viciousness of Royce is captured perfectly by Norton, who gives you chills by merely staring at you.
When airing for the first time, one particular episode of Happy Valley recieved 15 complaints due to violence. Series creator Sally Wainwright hit back at the complaints, arguing that the scenes in question were not "gratuitous" and that it "explained who this man is and the lengths he is prepared to go to. He is a psychopath and he will do that. It should be awful to see a woman we love treated like that." Wainwright has a point as other shows have shown a lot worse and in this instance, the violence was necessary to highlight Royce's true nature.
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this series. The only words that can come to mind are 'edge of seat'. I lost count of the amount of times I jumped or wanted to yell at the screen. The fact that it is only six episodes long is both great and frustrating. Happy Valley is game changing and I am thrilled that there will be a second series. I only hope it will be as good as the first!
Happy Valley is available in the UK on both DVD and Blu-ray. In the US and Canada it is available on Netflix as a Netflix Original Series.