A new copper in the not-so-Happy Valley

Kevin Doyle as DS John Wadsworth
Kevin Doyle as DS John Wadsworth

Excitement is building ahead of Happy Valley’s hotly-anticipated return to our screens tonight.

The second series promises to be every bit as gripping as the first, as new characters with their own stories to tell join the multi-award winning drama, which is both set and filmed on location, in Calderdale.

One of those characters is DS John Wadsworth, played by Kevin Doyle (Downton Abbey), who arrives on the block with his own set of problems - not least an affair which threatens to take a dark turn.

Speaking during filming the second series, which airs on BBC One next Tuesday, Kevin said he had been hooked on the first series.

“I was glued to Happy Valley, I thought it was absolutely brilliant. I think everybody assumed it was going to be the normal police procedural thing,” he said.

“I actually think it was Sarah’s performance that made the difference, because the way she talked to other people was just so like a police officer.

“I’d never seen that, even though you get really good actors playing policemen, there was something about her performance which I thought was just so authentic.

“The scripts were sent and I loved it. They were thinking about me for a couple of parts so I went and met them and read for two different parts, but I wanted this part.

“But I was sure they had given me the other one - it was another interesting part but it wasn’t a police officer. But I really wanted to play this, so I was surprised and chuffed they came through with the offer.

“I think people will see me doing a slightly different performance from what they have seen recently. He’s a Detective Sergeant and he is part of a group of officers who come in to the station from outside to work on this crime, and then you realise very quickly that he has got his own story to tell.

“There are repercussions of his affair and that begins to get very complicated and begins to feed into the ongoing story. It gets darker for him.”

But Kevin admits there is a lot to live up after the huge success of the critically acclaimed first series.

He said: “You’re aware when you come onto this that, not only was it critically lauded, it got fantastic audiences as well. My first reaction to getting this was ‘brilliant’ and my second reaction almost immediately was ‘ah, okay, so now I have to try and match what they did last year’.

“But that’s good and I enjoy trying to match it - it’s a brilliant story and hopefully I can. I can’t believe it won’t be as successful as last time just from the reading the scripts.

“It’s just brilliant. I know in the first series there was the novelty aspect, so there’ll be great expectations this time around. Personally I think the scripts for this are better than the first series.

“Sally knows those characters a little bit more, so despite the lack of novelty, I hope we can ride out that level of expectation. I think we should be able to because it’s brilliant.”