James Norton says Happy Valley series 3 ending ‘will not disappoint’


Happy Valley is at the top of many people’s lists for most-anticipated returns when it comes to upcoming dramas.

Season two of Happy Valley aired on BBC One in 2016. The final season will contain six episodes, just as the first two seasons did. Writer Sally Wainwright, who has written for Emmerdale and Coronation Street, as well as Last Tango in Halifax, will continue to pen the series.

Whilst exact plot details for the Sally Wainwright-created series are being kept firmly under wraps, we can only wonder what will unfold in season 3.

Speaking about the long-running animosity between the two lead characters, Norton has described how the air of mystery surrounding the series’ ending is one that will keep viewers engrossed.

“I think the reason this series is particularly exciting is because everyone knows it’s the last and so everyone is going to be waiting for something to happen, and everyone is sort of predicting and guessing how Sally wants to end it,” he explained.

“I have been predicting for the last seven years how she is going to end it so it was really wonderful to read the script and hear her ideas – and they don’t disappoint.”

With the release date for the third and final season quickly approaching, excitement is building to see just how things between beloved Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) and Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) will develop.

He added that the new season is “as big and bold as ever” and is a project he is “immensely proud” of.

Throughout the previous two seasons, Royce has been the archetypal series villain, and talking about embodying that role once again, Norton admitted that his character is “an enigma and a puzzle and a kind of terrifying mess”.

“Genuinely, I am still kind of working him out,” he added.

“I did a lot of work into psychopathy and was introduced to some behavioural psychologists and criminal psychologists who were really wonderfully helpful in excavating Tommy and the mindset that he has… It’s quite a sad, lonely space that Tommy lives in.”

Season 3 will make way for a different version of Tommy too, with Norton revealing he is “quite affable and in control” – but that’s because of something more sinister.

“Tommy has information about something we don’t know about yet. That information, that situation, is giving him a sense of contentment,” Norton said.

James Norton has nothing but praise for Sarah Lancashire in the third and final season of Happy Valley.

The actress, 64, who plays Sergeant Catherine Cawood in the hit BBC show set in West Yorkshire, will reprise the role when it comes back after seven years in 2023.

The tension between Royce and Cawood has also contributed to Happy Valley building up a loyal legion of viewers. Speaking about the relationship, Norton revealed why he thinks the pair form such an endearing on-screen dynamic.

“Tommy constantly forces his way into her life and her consciousness. They are in the best way, in that sort of old-fashioned, epic adversaries pitched against each other.

“They are obsessed with each other, there’s a kind of deep, deep hatred in the way that when you think about someone that you hate, they inhabit part of your consciousness.”

Happy Valley season 3 will premiere on New Year’s Day at 9pm on BBC One

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Adam Regan
Adam Regan
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