It's been almost a decade since the BBC originally commissioned Happy Valley in November 2012. Created and written by Sally Wainwright, the police procedural series was as much a cat-and-mouse game between PC Catherine Cawood and the man who'd raped her daughter, Becky, and driven her to suicide, Tommy Lee Royce. Played by Sarah Lancashire (Last Tango in Halifax) and James Norton (Grantchester), with Siobhan Finneran (Downton Abbey) as Cawood's sister, Clare, the 2014 series combined the stars of three of the most popular PBS shows in the U.S. at the time.
The second season, which arrived in 2016, added Kevin Doyle (also of Downton fame) and Matthew Lewis, who had recently gone from Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter to smokin' hot. But though there was talk of a third set of episodes, it took until the pandemic for Wainwright to finally get around to it. Initially announced in 2021, the third season is now partly backed by AMC Networks, owner of AMC+ and Acorn TV, who also picked up the rights to stream the first two seasons ahead of the announcement. The third season will stream on both platforms, marking one of the first times AMC+ and Acorn TV have crossed over their programming in the U.S.
The big news for Season 3 is that the original core cast is all returning. Lancashire, Norton, and Finneran are reprising their roles of Cawood, Royce, and Clare, respectively. The show also took advantage of the long gap between the second and third seasons and is bringing back Rhys Connah, initially cast in 2012 as the six-year-old son Becky left behind Ryan. Now 16 years old, Ryan has a different take on his history and his father, one that Catherine and Clare will have to come to terms with, even as they worry about Royce's influence on the kid's life.
And here's what Ryan looks like all grown up.
Here's the synopsis for Happy Valley's final season.
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. Her grandson Ryan is now 16 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.
The BBC and AMC+ are bringing back many old favorites from the first two seasons, including Charlie Murphy and George Costigan as Cawood’s protege, Ann Gallagher and her father, Nevison Gallagher. Derek Riddell and Karl Davies will be back as Richard and Daniel Cawood, Catherine’s ex-husband and son. Also set to recur from the first two seasons: Ishia Bennison as Joyce, Shane Zaza as Shaf, Chord Melodic as Sledge, and Mete Dursun as Gorkem. They join Season 2 additions Vincent Franklin as DSI Andy Shepherd, Rick Warden as Inspector Mike Taylor, Con O’Neill as Neil Ackroyd, and Susan Lynch as Alison Garrs.
Happy Valley newcomers for the final season include the previously announced Amit Shah (Doctor Who), Mark Stanley (The Bay), and Mollie Winnard (Four Lives). Newly announced additions include Oliver Huntingdon (The Rising), Jack Bandeira (Sex Education), Alec Secareanu (God’s Own Country), and Anthony Flanagan (Gentleman Jack), who will also appear in season three.
Happy Valley Season 3 does not have a firm release date. Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on AMC+.