Watching Juliet Bravo was a big influence – Happy Valley writer

Happy Valley: Sarah Lancashire stars in season three trailer

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Happy Valley is a BAFTA Award-winning series filmed and set in the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire, starring Sarah Lancashire as strong-willed police sergeant Catherine Cawood.

Now creator Sally Wainwright has told the new edition of Radio Times how her show being led by a tough female officer was influenced by growing up watching BBC 1980s drama Juliet Bravo.

Wainwright, a West Yorkshire local herself from Huddersfield, originally found fame writing another gritty police show – ITV’s Scott and Bailey, starring Suranne Jones.

Telling Radio Times about how Happy Valley was inspired she revealed: “I wanted to make it different from Scott & Bailey, so the most obvious thing was to have someone in uniform.

“I was heavily influenced by Juliet Bravo, which I watched as a teen. There was also a 2009 documentary called Shed Your Tears and Walk Away by Jez Lewis, about the drug and alcohol culture in Hebden Bridge among a certain age group. It’s really heart-breaking but brilliant.

“I got the cast to watch it before we started filming season one. It helped set the tone for what we were trying to achieve.”

Juliet Bravo ran for 88 episodes and also told of a female officer in the north of England, this time set in the fictional town of Hartley in Lancashire.

The lead role of Inspector Jean Darblay was first played in 1980 by Stephanie Turner in series one to three but in series four to six she was replaced by Anna Carteret for the role of Inspector Kate Longton until the show’s demise in 1985.

Initially it was suggested that Juliet Bravo end after Turner left following series three of the show – but it was reimagined for three more series with Carteret playing a new female lead character,

Wainwright said like Turner’s run in Juliet Bravo, her show Happy Valley will also end in the third series, which starts on New Year’s Day.

Wainwright told Radio Times she spoke to Sarah Lancashire and they were in agreement, adding: “We made a definite decision that this was going to be the final season.

“Just because it’s been successful, we weren’t going to let it drift on until it became a pale shadow of itself.”

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