Happy Valley fans hail Sarah Lancashire ‘masterclass’ in fiery finale


Happy Valley viewers were left biting their nails as Sergeant Catherine Cawood confronted her nemesis, the murderer and sex offender Tommy Lee Royce for the final time in a hair-raising finale.

The BBC crime drama, created by writer Sally Wainwright and starring Sarah Lancashire as West Yorkshire Sergeant Catherine Cawood, came to a shocking end on Sunday night.

In the final episode, Catherine finally catches up to prison escapee Tommy Lee Royce, played by James Norton as he attempted to kill himself in her kitchen after looking at pictures of his son and her grandson Ryan growing up.

He confessed he could’ve killed her but chose not to because he finally realised she had given his son a “nice life”.

He told her: “I don’t hate you anymore, I forgive you and I’m sorry I didn’t treat Becky [her daughter] any better.”

Catherine hit back: “You forgive me you delinquent f**k?”

He pours petrol over himself again as she points a useless taser at him before he finally strikes a match.

She rushes to put the fire out with a crochet blanket, saving his life.

Later through tears she tells her sister: “We had a bit of a tussle but I won, obviously, I think I might have singed one of your crochet blankets.”

She finds out Tommy has died from his injuries as she lay flowers at her daughter Becky’s grave.

Viewers hailed Sarah Lancashire’s performance as a “masterclass” as she finally hands in her badge and retires from West Yorkshire police.

One fan said: “She deserves every award, every single award.”

Another said: “Pages and pages of script where every word is carried with so much emotion. A masterclass in acting.”

One viewer gushed: “Sarah Lancashire has just delivered one of the greatest performances in television history. Extraordinary.”

When the multi-Bafta-winning series returned after seven years for a last series on New Year’s Day, it received rave reviews and has weekly drawn in millions of viewers to watch the TV show in real time on BBC One.

The six-part drama has also focused on Catherine’s grandson Ryan, played by Rhys Connah, and his relationship with his father Royce, the crime family the Knezevics and married couple Game Of Thrones star Mark Stanley and former Coronation Street actress Mollie Winnard.

The previous series of Happy Valley aired on BBC One in 2016. Both series one and two won Baftas for best drama series and writing, while Lancashire won the leading actress prize for the second series.

Viewing figures on Monday will confirm how big a hit the show has become and whether it has overtaken the success of BBC crime drama Line of Duty.