School pupils’ winning combination on Happy Valley series

Bob and Carol Bridgestock.
Bob and Carol Bridgestock.

When two Halifax girls walked through the gates of Sowerby Bridge Grammar School in the 1970s little did they, their classmates or their teachers know that they would go on to work on one of the most popular BBC 1 dramas.

Screen writer and playwright Sally Wainwright and Carol Bridgestock have been working together on the hit series Happy Valley.

Two years’ her senior at the now Sowerby Bridge High school, Carol Bridgestock is one half of acclaimed crime-writing duo RC Bridgestock, whose popular DI Dylan series of novels is set in Calderdale.

Carol writes the DI Dylan novels with her husband, Bob, a former senior West Yorkshire Police detective with over 30 years’ experience.

Almost 40 years since Carol and Sally went to Sowerby Bridge Grammar they are now working together. Carol and Bob are story consultants on Sally’s hugely popular BBC1 drama and ITV’s Scott and Bailey.

Carol said: “I have fond memories of my time at Sowerby Bridge Grammar. It was very strict; if you didn’t wear your beret when you walked through the school gates then you could be sure of detention.

“Even though Sally and I were at the school at the same time we don’t remember each other so it’s a real coincidence that we have now ended up working together professionally.

“As a story teller Calderdale is a great place to set our novels for a number of reasons. The people here are down to earth and real and the landscape is so spectacular it becomes a central character in its own right. One minute we will have brooding skies and foreboding weather and the next the sun can be cracking the flags, it really plays a part in all our novels and even though we now live on the Isle of Wight, Calderdale is the only place in the world we could ever dream of setting the DI Dylan series.”

The six part Happy Valley series was first broadcast on BBC1 on April 29 this year and is set around its central character Sgt Catherine Cawood, who is based at Sowerby Bridge Police Station, the station where Bob and Carol used to work