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Happy Valley season 3: Release date rumours, cast, plot and latest news

Production has finally commenced on Happy Valley season 3, but when can we expect a release date?

Happy Valley
Published: Friday, 21st January 2022 at 2:26 pm

Filming has finally begun on the hotly-anticipated third and final season of BBC drama Happy Valley.

Coming to our screens courtesy of writer and director Sally Wainwright (Last Tango in Halifax, Gentleman Jack), the drama will again feature Sarah Lancashire’s Sergeant Catherine Cawood.

And now a first look image released by the BBC shows Cawood looking stern in front of a police van (above).

Siobhan Finneran and James Norton will also be returning as Catherine's sister Clare Cartwright and Tommy Lee Royce respectively.

And that's not all. BBC One has revealed some exciting new additions to the Happy Valley cast, including Amit Shah (The Other One, The Long Call), Mollie Winnard (All Creatures Great and Small, Four Lives) and Mark Stanley (The Girl Before, White House Farm) in roles as yet undisclosed.

The first two seasons of Wainwright’s gripping crime drama followed Cawood as she fought crime in the Yorkshire borough Calderdale, with both runs showered with praise and the first winning a BAFTA.

Read on for everything you need to know about Happy Valley season 3.

Happy Valley season 3 release date

Happy Valley
Happy Valley BBC

Filming might have kicked off on Happy Valley season 3 in January 2022, but we're still a while away from knowing exactly what date we can expect new episodes.


Happy Valley creator and writer Wainwright said she was “delighted” that the series would return for a third instalment.

“It’s been wonderful to see the lasting impact this series has had on audiences all over the world,” she continued. “I’m thrilled that Sarah, James and Siobhan are back on board for what I hope will be the best season yet.”

Norton (McMafia, Grantchester) said: “To take on Tommy one final time is a wonderful and daunting privilege, and something I’ve been looking forward to since we wrapped the last series, six years ago. I’m so excited to be working with the insanely talented Sally and Sarah again. Thinking we should all go on one last barge holiday, for old times’ sake.”

Back in 2016, after the second season had aired, Wainwright revealed she wouldn't bring back police sergeant Catherine Cawood until she had time to write a good enough script.

“What we’ve decided is that because I’m so busy with other projects at the moment, I haven’t got time to sit down and come up with the stories,” she told BBC Breakfast, adding: “What I’d hate to do is do a third series and people say it wasn’t as good. So I want time to go away and really come up with stories that I think are going to make a third series."

Happy Valley season 3 cast

MotherFatherSon and Last Tango in Halifax star Sarah Lancashire plays police sergeant Catherine Cawood, whose teenage daughter Becky died by suicide. She's helping to raise her grandchild, Ryan, the son of Becky and her rapist Royce.

Other central characters from the previous season are returning as well, including Rhys Connah as Ryan, Siobhan Finneran as Catherine's sister Clare Cartwright, and James Norton as Tommy Lee Royce.

Con O’Neill will also be back as Clare's boyfriend Neil, with Rhys Connah (Ryan Cawood), George Costigan (Nevison Gallagher), Karl Davies (Daniel Cawood), Susan Lynch (Alison Garrs), Rick Warden (Mike Taylor), Charlie Murphy (Ann Gallagher), Derek Riddell (Richard Cawood) and Vincent Franklin (Andy Shepherd) all set to return too.

In addition, BBC One has revealed Amit Shah (The Other One, The Long Call), Mollie Winnard (All Creatures Great and Small, Four Lives) and Mark Stanley (The Girl Before, White House Farm) will all be making an appearance in Happy Valley’s final chapter in “pivotal roles” as yet undisclosed.

Happy Valley season 3 plot

Happy Valley season 3 will feature a murder mystery that brings Sergeant Catherine Cawood face-to-face with her old adversary, Tommy Lee Royce (Norton).

“When Catherine discovers the remains of a gangland murder victim in a drained reservoir it sparks a chain of events that unwittingly leads her straight back to Tommy Lee Royce,” the official BBC synopsis says. “Her grandson Ryan is now sixteen and still living with Catherine, but he has ideas of his own about what kind of relationship he wants to have with the man Catherine refuses to acknowledge as his father.

“Still battling the seemingly never-ending problem of drugs in the valley and those who supply them, Catherine is on the cusp of retirement.”

Producer Nicola Shindler previously suggested in 2017 that the third series of Happy Valley could centre on Catherine's grandchild Ryan, conceived after Catherine's daughter was raped by Royce (Grantchester's James Norton).

“Sally is thinking about a story and the story she is thinking about literally needs time. Because if you look at the characters that are left, there is Sarah, there is James Norton and there is a young boy who, the minute he turns into a teenager, it becomes a much more interesting story," Shindler said.

“She doesn’t know what the story is yet. She is mulling it in her head but we are thinking about giving it a bit of space in story terms.”

Why was Happy Valley season 3 delayed?

Happy Valley

Wainwright told back in July 2019 there was a very good reason for the long hiatus, as Becky's son and Catherine's grandson Ryan (Rhys Connah) needs to get older before the next chapter in the series.

“Basically we’re kind of waiting for the little boy to grow up, so he’s more of a teenager than a child,” she said. And, as for the long break between seasons 2 and 3: “That’s always been the plan. We never intended to do it again straight away."

Furthermore Wainwright also has numerous other TV projects on the go. In the time since Happy Valley last aired she's brought new series Gentleman Jack to the screen and also written another season of Last Tango in Halifax.

Is there a trailer for Happy Valley season 3?

Not yet - with production just getting under way it will be a while before we are treated to a new trailer.

We'll be sure to post one here as soon as it become available though.

How to watch Happy Valley online

For fans hoping to catch up with the two seasons that have already been broadcast, Happy Valley is available to stream on BBC iPlayer and BritBox.


If you're looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide or visit our Drama hub for more news and features.


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