Sally Wainwright reveals why Happy Valley series three is taking so long

It has been more than three years since the last series of BBC drama Happy Valley

Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley

It has been a long, long wait for Happy Valley series three – but according to screenwriter Sally Wainwright, there’s a very good reason for the hiatus.

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The Bafta-winning BBC drama first hit our screens in 2014 and was last seen when series two aired in spring 2016. It stars Sarah Lancashire as West Yorkshire police sergeant Catherine Cawood, whose daughter Becky killed herself after being raped by Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton).

Since then, Catherine has been raising Becky’s young son Ryan – the product of that rape – with the help of her sister Clare (Siobhan Finneran). Ryan, played by Rhys Connah, was only eight years old when the drama began.

“Basically we’re kind of waiting for the little boy to grow up, so he’s more of a teenager than a child,” Wainwright tells RadioTimes.com.

As for the long break between series two and three, “That’s always been the plan. We never intended to do it again straight away, so it kind of hopefully is going to work out nicely time-wise.”

Time-wise, Wainwright has a very busy schedule. She’s just finished writing a new series of Last Tango in Halifax, and next on the agenda is a second series of Gentleman Jack.

Is this going to take precedence over a new series of Happy Valley?

“It is at the moment, yes, it is,” she says. “But then I hope to get back onto Happy Valley three.”

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As for what happens next? “We’ve got lots of strands and story ideas…”