As millions of viewers in the UK prepare to sit down on Sunday evening for the grand finale – and last ever episode – of hit crime drama Happy Valley, one small town will have a special reason to toast the success of this massively popular and critically acclaimed show.
With just 4,500 residents, Hebden Bridge is a pretty market town in West Yorkshire, long known for embracing alternative lifestyles and providing a sanctuary for those wanting to get off the beaten track.
But in recent years, it has become best known as the location for many of the scenes shot in hit crime drama Happy Valley, the BAFTA-winning show written by Sally Wainwright and starring Sarah Lancashire as the brow-beaten but never defeated Sergeant Catherine Cawood.
The show began in 2014, but fans have had to wait seven long years for the third and final series, which has lived up to all hopes and expectations, with UK fans now waiting with bated breath for Cawood’s final showdown with her nemesis and father of her grandson, psychopath and fugitive from justice, Tommy Lee Royce.
In that time, the show has been made available for streaming on Netflix, bringing it a whole new wave of international fans, and many of them have made their way to Hebden Bridge, creating a boon for the town.
One sweetshop owner, Les Leedham, told The Times:
“We’ve been here for 15 years, and we’re very much part of the town. Happy Valley is all the customers talk about. I haven’t heard anyone say a bad word about it. Everyone loves it. We love watching it with the family. We’ve had Sarah Lancashire in a few times… I had a woman from New Zealand walk in and ask me about Happy Valley. The series shows how beautiful the town is.”
Another resident told the same publication that tourists visiting the spots made famous by the show and stopping to shop, had helped the town through a quiet winter.
Award-winning writer Sally Wainwright, originally from nearby Huddersfield, looks to Yorkshire to base much of her work, including the drama Last Tango in Halifax, and the period drama Gentleman Jack – the true story of lesbian landowner Anne Lister who lived in the house Shibden Hall, where Wainwright used to visit as a child.