Fast turnaround for Happy actor
‘‘I think that if you make people recognise the human being, it’s much easier for the audience to go along with it.’’
Kevin Doyle on his Happy Valley character.
many of her productions. The ironic title for this one, given the often-bleak depiction of life in the region, comes from a nickname used by police, due to the level of drug use among the residents.
For Doyle, one of the pleasures of shooting the series was that ‘‘I could sleep in my own bed’’, as much of it was filmed on location in the Calder Valley. And there were other advantages, once he got past the audition. ‘‘I knew Sally well,’’ he says. ‘‘I’d worked on a couple of other pieces with her. I’d done At Home with the Braithwaites for four years and I’d been in Scott & Bailey. In some ways, that made it harder to audition, because I didn’t want to screw it up. I didn’t want to disappoint her.’’
Clearly, Wainwright saw what she needed for Wadsworth. ‘‘I wanted him to be as ordinary as possible,’’ Doyle says. ‘‘I didn’t want him to be this person who’s just bad throughout. He made a mistake hooking up with this woman and he’s trying to get out of it and it all turns horribly messy. I think that if you make people recognise the human being, it’s much easier for the audience to go along with it. If you make characters very black-andwhite, people are not pulled into the drama in the same way. And I don’t like the idea of painting people as evil. I don’t believe in that notion.’’
Viewers who followed the suspenseful first season of Happy Valley might wonder where Wainwright could take the second, given that her resolute yet flawed protagonist, policewoman Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire), eventually apprehended her nemesis, rapist Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton).
The writer quickly assuages such concerns by packing the sixpart follow-up with plotlines. Catherine’s discovery of a body leads to a hunt for a serial killer and also serves to inflame Royce’s raging hatred of her. And he has a spooky accomplice. In addition, there’s a blackmail threat, a nasty case of bullying and evidence of a human trafficking operation being run by the Halifax mafia. On the home front, there’s romance for Catherine’s sister, Clare (Siobhan Finneran), and a threat to Catherine’s grandson.
Doyle reckons that, alongside some of its grimmer developments, Happy Valley ‘‘can be very funny’’, noting, ‘‘the brilliant thing about Sally’s writing is that she’s able to get the audience to empathise with her characters, even when they’re doing bad things.’’
As for Downton, he’s ‘‘delighted’’ with the resolution for Mr Molesley, with the finale seeing him moving into a cottage and devoting himself primarily to his dream job as a teacher. ‘‘I couldn’t have wished for a better outcome,’’ Doyle says. ‘‘I thought Molesley was such a delightful human being and he deserved his break. I loved playing him. He had enormous heart and he’d lived with so many disappointments. He was a decent, bright person who had compromised a lot of his dreams in the past. So it was lovely to see that fire reignited, to see the passion come back.’’
Happy Valley’s harried police detective John Wadsworth (Kevin Doyle).