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Why Sarah Lancashire wasn't happy with Happy Valley's original ending

The hit BBC drama also starred James Norton

sarah lancashire happy valley© Photo: BBC
Diane Shipley
Senior Online Writer
Updated: May 11, 2024
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The third and final series of Happy Valley was a huge hit for the BBC, although fans were divided over the last episode, including over the decision to resolve a particular subplot off-screen. While we eagerly wait to see how Happy Valley does at the 2024 BAFTAs after receiving several nominations, we're taking a look back at Sarah Lancashire, who played Sergeant Catherine Cawood, and her thoughts regarding season three. 

The actress, who also has a beautiful singing voice, as you can see in the video below, asked for the ending to "push things much further", according to a new interview with the show's creator, Sally Wainwright.

WATCH: Happy Valley's Sarah Lancashire wows with singing voice at Olivier Awards

Speaking on Jane Garvey and Fi Glover's Times Radio podcast Off Air this week, the writer revealed that the original ending was rewritten after a "long conversation" with the star.

MORE: Happy Valley stars address show ending amid backlash

When Fi asked: "Did you ever have any doubt in your mind about the ending, where there alternative endings written?"

catherine cawood© Photo: BBC
Sarah's portrayal of Catherine Cawood was iconic

Sally responded: "Yeah, I could have done anything with the ending is the truth, it could have gone any way. But I suspect that there was probably only one really good ending, hopefully that's the one we arrived at".

The candid Yorkshire woman then told the duo: "Sarah and I had a long conversation because I handed the first draft in and everybody else seem very happy with it but she wasn't and we had a very long conversation about it and she wanted to push things much further.

sarah lancashire bafta© Photo: Getty Images
Sarah Lancashire won a BAFTA for her role in 2017

"I honestly can't remember the intricacies of it, my memory is terrible and it's over a year ago, but my memory of it is that she just wanted to push everything a lot further than I pushed it and she was right to do that".

She continued: "The process of coming up with how [Tommy Lee Royce] could end up in her house and they could have a very private conversation together without anyone else realising reminded me that in the first season there was a conversation about her killing him at the end of season one… Which would have been a different kind of show altogether".

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