When is the Happy Valley series 3 release date? Cast, plot and latest news

Sarah Lancashire will reportedly reprise her role as Sergeant Catherine Cawood in the BBC1 crime drama

Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley

It’s been more than four years since Sally Wainwright’s brilliantly bleak crime drama Happy Valley last aired a new episode, and for a long time it looked like the show might not return for another run.


However Wainwright, who also created The Last Tango in Halifax and Gentleman Jack, has confirmed a third series is indeed on the cards, having previously told RadioTimes.com that she’s “got lots of strands and story ideas”.

Now, the writer has given an exciting update about the show’s return which will be sure to send fans into overdrive.

The first two series of followed Sarah Lancashire’s Sergeant Catherine Cawood as she fought crime in the Yorkshire borough Calderdale, with both seasons showered with praise and the first winning a BAFTA.

Hopes are therefore remarkably high for the next run.

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

When is the Happy Valley season 3 release date?

The crime drama is definitely going to return, but we’re still a while away from knowing exactly what date we can expect new episodes.

The good news is that Sally Wainwright has revealed the third season has become her number one priority – and she is in the process of writing it now.

A reported by Yorkshire Live, Wainwright said, “I’m writing Happy Valley three now, that is the next thing on the list. I’ve only just started, I’m getting all the research together but we have got some good storylines in mind.”

And she added that she wouldn’t be directing the second run of her other hit show Gentleman Jack, as she wanted to put all her focus into Happy Valley.

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.”

Who is in the cast of Happy Valley season 3?

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.

We’d expect some other central characters from the previous series to return as well, including Rhys Connah as Ryan and Siobhan Finnernan as Catherine’s sister Clare Cartwright.

It’s not yet known who else from the original Happy Valley cast will reprise their roles, or which new stars might join up for the next series.

What is Happy Valley season three about?

Producer Nicola Shindler 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

Wainwright told RadioTimes.com 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 series two and three, “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 series of Last Tango in Halifax.

Is there a trailer for Happy Valley season 3

Not yet – the next series is still at the writing stage just now so it will still be a while before production gets underway and even longer 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

Unfortunately for fans hoping to catch up with the two series that have already been broadcast, Happy Valley is not currently available to stream on Netflix or BBC iPlayer, despite previously having appeared on both platforms.

However both series are available on BritBox.


If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide.