Reason Happy Valley series 4 was rejected as nail-biting TV drama comes to an end

Despite fans all over the UK desperately hoping that Happy Valley producers would announce a fourth series and confirm the return of Sergeant Catherine Cawood and her nemesis Tommy Lee Royce, Sunday night saw the show come to a dramatic end.

The critically-acclaimed BBC police drama – starring Sarah Lancashire and James Norton – returned to our screens on 1 January 2023 after almost seven years off-air, with the ultimate episode having viewers picking the jaws up off the floor.

Following a nail-bitingly intense showdown between Sgt Catherine and Tommy, the Calder Valley villain ending it all for himself by setting himself on fire.

And despite leaving viewers satisfied with a "brilliant" finale, during which Cath visited the grave of her late daughter Becky where she received a text confirming Tommy's demise, fans are wondering why producers made the decision to end the show after four series.

Huddersfield-born writer of the show Sally Wainwright previously confirmed that the intention was always to make the show three instalments, telling fans: "We always said this would be the final season and it very definitely is the final season."

Executive producer Will Johnston also confirmed the news at a BFI screening, adding: "It definitely isn't coming back – and again this is [from] Sally and Sarah who completely and rightly feel that you can have too much of a good thing. We're really not doing any more.

"When you get to it [the ending], I really hope you'll feel content that if that's the last you ever see of the characters of Happy Valley, it was a big way to go out."

Both series one and two of the show won BAFTAs for best drama series and writing, while leading lady Sarah bagged the leading actress prize for the second series.

And Happy Valley fans last night spotted a subtle nod back to the very first episode of the show in the closing scenes of last night's eagerly-anticipated finale.

The crime-drama's first ever episode – which originally aired in April 2014 – saw protagonist Sgt Catherine sent to a playground in her area to handle a drunk and a high local boy named Liam, who was threatening to set himself on fire.

Taking to Twitter moments after making the connection in their heads, fans were quick to point out the similarities between the first and last ever episode, with some noting that it was a fitting end to Catherine's career after a turbulent few years.

One viewer immediately tweeted: "Talk about full circle, Happy Valley started with someone trying to set themselves on fire and then it ends with Tommy Lee Royce setting himself on fire. Phenomenal writing, what a show."

Another added: "#HappyValley comes full circle as Catherine deals with the threat of self-immolation at the beginning, middle and end of her tour".


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