What an amazing piece of work, Happy Valley (BBC1 Tuesdays 9pm) is and if Sarah Lancashire doesn’t win the BAFTA for best actress 2014 then there is no justice in the world. Talking of which – does anyone else share my desire to see each and everyone of those scumbags depicted in the story get their come-uppance, big time? However, with still two episodes to go, local Police Sergeant Catherine is a long way from bringing them in and was last seen collapsing in the street following a savage beating from the worst one of them. This location is in the centre of Halifax (supposedly) but where are all the rubber-neckers when you want them? It’s daylight, there’s a police car parked in the street and a hell of a racket has been coming from number 32 but there’s not a soul around. Come on, it’s Halifax – it’s not as if everyone would be at work either in t’mill or down t’pit but hey, wait a minute. It must be the drugs.
Everybody in this “happy valley” are on drugs, most of which are supplied by the bastard who is behind the event upon which the story has been built. Having been a drugs worker myself, I can see that the writer, Sally Wainwright, has done her research into the phenomenon of illicit substance misuse amongst ordinary members of society. However, the way she has it explained by Catherine’s ex-partner, soon to be made redundant journalist, Richard, reads likes the ABC book of drug dealing for under-fives. FYI, Heroin users don’t usually surface before 12pm unless there’s somebody on Jeremy Kyle that they particularly want to see. However, it has been apparent from the first episode that Sergeant Catherine has been on a mission to rid the town of both dealers and users for a long time, only her bosses seem happier turning a blind eye to it. Well, it isn’t called Happy valley for nothing!
Sarah Lancashire appears to have taken a shine to both Halifax and Sally Wainwright recently although, she may have held a long standing relationship with both of them for all I know. Whatever the truth is, the actress really suits the landscape and the writer could not have picked a better performer to bring her characters to life. The complexities which underlie the behaviour of Sergeant Catherine are so extreme and yet, could affect any one of us. They are the result of extraordinary events that ordinary folk sometimes, through no fault of their own, become the traumatised victims of pure evil and who place their faith in a God that may or may not exist. The ordinary people in this story being local businessman, Nev, brilliantly played by that guy from Rita, Sue and Bob, his morally bankrupt accountant Kevin and their respective wives and daughters. Gripping stuff and I can’t wait for the next episode. I just hope that Catherine’s okay.