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82 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding mainstream drama in Bleak Valley
Catherine Cawood, a tough but honest and decent sergeant striving to do her job in a rundown Yorkshire valley community, is consumed with anxiety over the release from jail of Tommy Lee Royce, the disturbed and violent young thug indirectly responsible for the death of her teenage daughter, by whom he fathered the grandson Catherine feels morally obliged to bring up, even...
Published 13 months ago by Antenna

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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Happy Valley- you'll never leave!
As others have said, Happy Valley is the grimmest Northern town you could get; slightly below Royston Vasey in its relentless bleakness. It's called 'happy' because everyone is off their head on drugs.

Like all fictional police, Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) has family troubles, a backstory that she likes to tell minor characters in an info dump...
Published 10 months ago by Miss Scarlett


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82 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding mainstream drama in Bleak Valley, 4 Jun. 2014
By 
Antenna (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Happy Valley [DVD] (DVD)
Catherine Cawood, a tough but honest and decent sergeant striving to do her job in a rundown Yorkshire valley community, is consumed with anxiety over the release from jail of Tommy Lee Royce, the disturbed and violent young thug indirectly responsible for the death of her teenage daughter, by whom he fathered the grandson Catherine feels morally obliged to bring up, even at the cost of her own marriage. "What else could she do?" When Tommy becomes involved once again in serious local crime, her obsession with getting him back behind bars and out of her small grandson's life goes beyond the call of duty.

With its tongue-in-cheek title, since this must surely be one of the saddest former industrial valleys in Britain apart from the lovely scenery, the police thriller succeeds on all counts. It is compulsive viewing, filled with tense edge-of-the-seat moments, yet unlike many similar dramas is highly plausible, with no nagging holes in the plot twists. The quality of the acting is superb across the board, with a sharp script, many touches of humour to ease the frequent grimness of the theme and little need for subtitles.

It succeeds on several levels, not only as admittedly often bleak and bloody entertainment, but also in developing in depth all the characters as believable people, with their strengths and failings, and their complex relationships. The author even manages to evoke a little sympathy for most of the villains, including Royce, with some appreciation of the dysfunctional families and injustices which have moulded them. As the wealthy industrialist whose daughter is kidnapped observes at one point with unintentional irony, "all actions have consequences".

Mid-way, I began to question if some of the violence was gratuitous, but have to admit that the various murders are all "necessary for the plot" plus the skilful direction means that in fact much of the horror is in one's imagination. By the end, I was convinced that this is mainstream television drama that will be hard to better, and wish there was more produced of this standard.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sarah Lancashire at her very best., 10 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Happy Valley [DVD] (DVD)
This truly has been one of the most gripping TV dramas I have watched in a very long time. I must admit I came across this series by accident whilst searching through BBC iPlayer for something else, however having spotted Sarah Lancashire of whom I have always been a bit of a fan, I thought I'll give it a try. The series was already 3 episodes in by the time I discovered it therefore I had the chance to catch up, by the end of the first episode I was hooked and had no choice but to continue devouring the series. I will admit I'm not really a huge viewer of television especially crime dramas as they often tend to be extremely cliched however Happy Valley totally caught me off guard. The writing and story was absolutely fantastic, gripping from the get go and however dark the story matter I often found a slight comedic element to Catherine's character caravans excellent portrayal by Sarah Lancashire. As the series progresses you can't help but be dragged in to Catherine's fight and without wanting to give too much away if it wasn't already personal for her in the very beginning of the series by the third episode Catherine's fight becomes even more so. The acting all round is superb Sarah Lancashire is as I have already mentioned absolutely fantastic, the variety she brings to every character she plays surely can be compared only to some of the very best actresses in the business, she surely deserves much more recognition. Steve Pemberton is also in a strange way a delight to watch, Sibohan Finneran portrayed an excellent supporting character. Overall a sheer delight to watch although brutal at times but gripping British drama as it should be.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trouble Town, 24 Aug. 2014
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Happy Valley [DVD] (DVD)
'Stuck in speed bump city
Where the only thing that's pretty
Is the thought of getting out

There's a tower block overhead
All you've got's your benefits
And you're barely scraping by

In this trouble town
Troubles are found
In this trouble town
Words do get 'round'

Lyrics to 'Trouble Town'- by Jake Bugg, theme song of Happy Valley

'HappyValley' is one of those towns so misnamed, that you wonder as you drive through, who in their right mind named this town. It took me until Episode 3 to really get into this series. Until then, it was one of those series with an interesting but violent story lines. But, then, the adventures and personalities of the characters hooked me. It is one of those series where you really come to care for the characters.

Sally Wainwright, who wrote 'The Last Tango In Halifax' wrote this series, and it has more of the tough, brutal, real scenes, we don't see in The Last Tango. The characters are very real, very complex and some are downright nasty. Sarah Lancashire plays Catherine Cawood, you will note her from 'The Last Tango In Halifax'. She is a Police Sargeant in this area, and this is her life. Her daughter hanged herself in the past year, and Catherine has not been able to work through this. She takes in her grandson. Clare, Catherine's sister, played by Siobhan Finneran, (O'Brien from Downton Abbey), is superb in this role. She is a recovering drug addict, working in a Mission and helping to care for the boy. The boy's psychopathic father plays a large role in this series, and a nastier piece of work you will never see. All of the police are well played and realistic. The area of Yorkshire in England is as beautiful as it is deadly.

This series has taken the UK by storm and now the US. It is one of the better series you will see, and I urge you to view it. The proliferation of drugs into our society plays a big part in this series. Sarah Lancashire deserves awards aplenty, and I have read that Season 2 of 'Happy Valley' is on it's way.

Recommended. prisrob 08-24-14
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83 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best drama I have EVER seen!, 20 May 2014
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This review is from: Happy Valley [DVD] (DVD)
This is by far the best drama I have EVER seen! If Sarah Lancashire doesn't get a best actress award for this there is something wrong with the world!
The characters are so believable and the plot is so gripping it has you sitting on the edge of you're seat shouting "NO!" At the screen!
The content is horrific and shocking at times but it leaves you wanting more. PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE make this into a series! I cannot wait to own this on DVD.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best TV drama we have ever seen, 15 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Happy Valley [DVD] (DVD)
What can I say about this incredible series which hasn't already been said? It is beautifully written, superbly acted and a prefect combination of tense thriller and heartfelt emotional drama. Sarah Lancashire gives one of the greatest performances I have ever seen- the BAFTA must be hers next year.

I urge you to buy this series- you'll want to splurge out and watch it all in one go. I envy you for discovering this for the first time.
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62 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant series, 21 May 2014
This review is from: Happy Valley [DVD] (DVD)
What a fantastic series this is, yes it certainly shocks you, edge of seat stuff! Sarah Lancashire is absolutely brilliant, I love watching her in anything, Sarah Lancashire for Best actress award for definate. She thoroughly deserves it, She is exceptional in this!
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars British Drama at its best, 21 May 2014
This review is from: Happy Valley [DVD] (DVD)
Sarah Lancashire is just an absolute diamond. She is one of our finest actresses. I am wishing my life away, having watched episode 4 last night, can't wait until next Thursday. The acting is brilliant without any dramatic histrionics, and just the right amount of humour. The line about animal husbandry was brilliant. James Norton is excellent as the vile Tommy as he just doesn't look like your typical lowlife, looks are so deceiving. Sally Wainwright's writing skills just keeps you caught up in the drama and wanting more. Brilliant. Roll on next Tuesday.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Outstanding !!!, 22 Dec. 2014
By 
Conchie (Dublin, Ireland.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Happy Valley [DVD] (DVD)
At the risk of repeating everyone else, this is THE most outstanding police drama I have ever seen. I did it the right way, I did not wait week in week out for the next episode on tv, I waited and got the DVD and just devoured the whole thing in one sitting. What can be said about Sara Lancashire that has not already been said. If this was a movie she would be an Oscar winner. What an extraordinary actress. Police Sergeant Catherine Cawood has a difficult home life, she had two kids, one dead, one not speaking to her, she lives with her sister, she is divorced and is raising her 8 year old grandson, while trying to keep going in a full time job with the police. The grandson is at the heart of the family troubles as he is the product of her now deceased daughter's rape, and no one else in the family can bear to look at him, yet Catherine takes the decision to raise him. Her troubles begin when she gets word that the thug who raped her daughter has just been released from prison and she knows it won't be long until he shows his face somewhere on her patch. Elsewhere a disgruntled accountant approaches his boss in a somewhat groveling manner in an attempt to get a raise as he wants to put his daughter through the best College. When the boss dismisses his request with a half hearted "I'll think about it", a growing anger festers in him, which results in him taking action which will snowball out of control and result in total disaster. I don't think I exhaled once throughout this. While Sarah has been singled out for particular praise, the entire cast of this drama deserve equal mention. A roller coaster from start to finish. Do not miss it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a happy place at all, but made me very happy I've seen it!, 5 Aug. 2014
By 
K. I. Refseth "KIRR" (Trondheim, Norway) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Happy Valley [DVD] (DVD)
I'm not going to deviate from the praise heaped upon this series by so many other viewers as I agree with almost all of them. This was one of the finest TV experienced I have had lately and it left me wanting for more. There is so much that is good in this production, from story, plot, characters, location and so on, that the sum of it is a full score from me. And Sarah Lancashire shines. She is superb here and with this one role portrayal she's soared up on my list of favorite actors (I haven't seen her in any previous series/films). So kudos to everybody involved in the making of it. Highly recommended! :)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spellbinding., 11 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Happy Valley [DVD] (DVD)
From the off this is a riveting police drama. There is no let up, it is compelling, couldn't wait to get to the next episode. The drama builds and builds and builds. Then it palls very slightly when Catherine Cawood is incapacitated, thankfully, she soon gets back on her feet and away we go again. I do believe it is a steal off a film called 'Fargo'. However, I haven't seen that film but surely, it can't be as gripping as this TV drama. Sarah Lancashire was awarded best actress for her role in this series and the show was also named best new drama at the TV Choice Awards.
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Happy Valley [DVD]
Happy Valley [DVD] by Sarah Lancashire (DVD - 2014)
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