'It's no Happy Valley!' Viewers slam new BBC police drama Better

‘It’s no Happy Valley!’ Disappointed viewers slam new BBC drama Better about corrupt police officer as ‘unrealistic’ and ‘painful’ to watch

  • Lelia Farzad and Andrew Buchan star in the new BBC drama about a corrupt cop 
  • The first episode fell flat for many viewers – who tweeted their disappointment 
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Viewers hoping to fill the Happy Valley hole in their diaries were left bitterly disappointed with the BBC’s new police drama Better last night.

The new five-part series – which is from the producers of Chernobyl – follows corrupt police detective Lou Slack, who has been working with a local Leeds drugs baron Col McHugh (Andrew Buchan) for over 20 years.

As a result of their partnership, the show’s protagonist (played by I Hate Suzie’s Leila Farzad) was able to salvage her failing career.

Meanwhile, Col went on to become the city’s rich and powerful gangster as a result of the police turning a blind eye to him murdering his rivals.

However after her teenage son almost dies from meningitis, Lou has a crisis of conscience – which leads to her trying to unravel herself from her deal.

Although the show had been billed as a must-watch for fans of Happy Valley, the first episode fell flat for some viewers – who took to Twitter to express their disappointment.

One fumed: ‘Don’t think I’ll bother with the rest – bring back Happy Valley! 

‘Mediocre script and acting at best. Not believable and no likeable characters.

‘What a waste of time watching episode one was. Disappointed.’ 

Having already watched the second installment on BBC iPlayer, another added: ‘Anyone else reeling sufficiently from the first episode of Better [and thinking] it’s a good idea to watch the second? 

‘Believe me, things do not get better. Painful, unrealistic and unbelievable.’ 

Still wanting to give it a chance, a third said: ‘Not sure how I feel about Better.

‘At least with Happy Valley and Line of Duty, you have some degree of sympathy with the main character.  

Lou Slack’s armed team of officers were waiting in the corridor outside as she spoke to an armed drug dealer who knew about her arrangement with their shared boss

The first episode of the new BBC police drama fell flat for some viewers, who took to Twitter to express their disappointment 

‘I don’t think I really care for Lou to be honest.’

‘Thought Better looked really good but how wrong was I,’ a fourth said. ‘The writing is shocking and the acting is even worse, won’t be watching the rest of it.’ 

What’s more, others took issue with a critical scene where Lou and her team burst into the home of an armed drug dealer Noel – who is aware of her deal with Col.

As her armed officers wait in the corridor, Lou tells the dealer that she has to ‘do right’ by their shared boss and hand himself into police .

Confused by the interaction, one critic tweeted: ‘So nobody would be listening to the conversation?

‘They’d allow them to just chat like mates without checking on them? What a load of b******s.’ 

Lelia Farzard plays Lou Slack – a corrupt police officer who made a deal with a local drug dealer 20 years ago to salvage her career

Left: Andrew Buchan (most famous for Broadchurch) plays drug dealer Col McHugh. Right: I Hate Suzie’s Lelia Farzad plays corrupt police officer Lou Slack

‘As if she’d be in that room chatting with an armed suspect,’ another fumed. 

Jumping to the show’s defence, one supporter wrote: ‘Bit early to be judging Better and hardly fair to compare with Happy Valley already.’

Another added: ‘Well episode two of Better is better than the first. 

‘Seriously though, don’t be comparing it to Happy Valley, it’s ridiculous to do that.

‘I’ve watched the first two now and I’m fully invested. It’s going to get very interesting.’ 

Speaking to the Mail’s Weekend magazine, Lelia said: ‘Whether Lou can extricate herself from the situation she finds herself in, though, only time will tell.’

Lelia Farzad (who plays Lou Slack) is best known for her role as Suzie’s agent in hit drama I Hate Suzie. Pictured with co-star Billie Piper

Meanwhile, a third viewer described it as a ‘compelling slow burn and interesting perspective from the eyes of a corrupt but conflicted copper’.

The show has been written by Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley, who are the team behind Spooks. 

Speaking to the Mail’s Weekend magazine earlier this month, Lelia – who is best known for playing Naomi Jones in I Hate Suzie – said she hopes viewers will have some level of sympathy for Lou and researched other flawed policewoman as part of her research.

‘Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect was one – a great detective but a terrible alcoholic,’ she said.

Happy Valley – which came to an end earlier this month – followed police officer Catherine Cawood as she came to terms with the loss of her teenage daughter

The final episode drew in a staggering 7.5m viewers. Pictured: James Norton in character as Tommy Lee Royce

‘Catherine Cawood in Happy Valley is another. A brilliant cop, yet she allows too much of her personal agenda into her work.’

But she insists Lou is very much her own woman, rather than a pale imitation of female policewomen who have gone before her. ‘Whether she can extricate herself from the situation she finds herself in, though, only time will tell.’

Earlier this month, 7.5m people tuned in to watch the final episode of Happy Valley – which saw Sergeant Catherine Caywood and Tommy Lee Royce have their final showdown after nine years.

Sally Wainwright’s series – which starred Sarah Lancashire and James Norton – is now going to be taught to students at Caledonian University in Glasgow.

The hit series – which was set in Calder Valley, West Yorkshire – followed police officer Catherine Cawood as she came to terms with the loss of her teenage daughter and seeks revenge on her rapist Tommy Lee Royce.

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