Fast turn­around for Happy ac­tor

The Press - The Box - - COVER STORY - Fair­fax

‘‘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).

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