TV Review: Happy Valley, Series 3 Episode 1

The peerless Happy Valley returns with its third and final series, perfect for gloomy January nights

“You know, most police officers die within five years of retirement”

Just a quickie for this as Sally Wainwright’s magnum opus among magnum opuses has finally returned. Six years since the last brutal series of Happy Valley, we slip back into the windswept hi-vis jacket as if it were yesterday and as we catch up with all concerned in Calder Valley, all seems to be suspiciously calm and ok.

Sergeant Catherine Cawood is a handful of months away from retirement and with her loved ones gathered around her, everyone seems have avoided too much drama in recent times. But this is a Sally Wainwright drama and so you know this is just the calm before a storm on’t’moors to rival even a bomb cyclone.

The discovery of a body in a barrel in a reservoir seems innocuous at first but as Cawood wittily defenestrates her male colleagues with her superior knowledge, we clock the first domino falling as the body is traced back to Tommy Lee Royce, back in prison, and their entangled personal histories draw closer once again. Plus on the side, a new development in the local drug market is set up to further complicate the picture.

The battle royale that will ensue between Sarah Lancashire and James Norton is mouthwateringly tempting, Siobhan Finneran as her sister as strong as ever in support and the cleverness of the delay means that Rhys Connah has aged into the teenager that Ryan now is – the revelation of his secret prison visits to his father a devastating blow to his gran, setting up what ought to be a stellar final series.

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