Happy Valley star teases more to come and final season felt right

Happy Valley: James Norton discusses 'rollercoaster' series finale

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One of the stars of Happy Valley has spoken out about the series with just two episodes left before the BBC series wraps up for good. Shane Zaza – who is most recognisable as rookie police officer Shafiq Shah – teased the third series of the drama and how he felt when he read the script. Season three is confirmed to be the last one as the tense conflict between police officer Catherine Cawood (played by Sarah Lancashire) and Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) reaches its natural conclusion.

In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Zaza, 39, said about the moment he read the outline for season three: “To be honest, it’s just challenging just reading the script, seeing all these things happening.

“The script that Sally has written, just like the previous series, it’s a page-turner and it does make you gasp.

“The show – there’s more to come throughout this season anyway.”

He went on to say he was pleased with Shafiq’s arc in the show but also grateful to be involved in Happy Valley.

Zaza said he was just happy the show had a “beautiful three seasons” and was “glad to back” and be part of it.

Adding: “I think it’s realistically one of the best shows the UK have every produced, certainly the BBC.”

Creator Wainwright has previously stated how she always planned Happy Valley as a trilogy with the writer always intending the show to go, envisioning a future beyond just the first six episodes.

The Yorkshire-born star went on to address the show’s ending: “I think it felt right.

“Obviously, with a show like this and the characters, you want it to go on and on but I think sometimes when shows or anything goes past its peak, you lose the legacy of it. I think it felt right to end when it’s going to end.”

Zaza concluded: “It just felt right, actually. It really did feel like we were completing as opposed to [continuing] – we were continuing and completing this story. It felt natural.”

The star reprised his role after six years and admitted the years just melted away as they got to work on the shoot and the police uniforms went back on.

The only big change was child star Rhys Connah – who plays Ryan Cawood – now being an adult and looking completely different to the carefree schoolboy audiences remembered back in 2016.

In the interim, Zaza has had a range of projects including Doctor Who, Press, Will, London Kills and Everything I Know About Love.

He said it was “bittersweet” finishing Happy Valley having worked on the show since it aired back in 2014, starring opposite BAFTA-winner Lancashire.

The actor paid tribute to his co-star and now executive producer, hailing her as “magnificent”, saying the British actress was a “work horse” as she managed her dual roles.

However, Lancashire’s additional responsibility didn’t change the way she worked on the show and Zaza said there was a lot of fun both on and off-screen.

He said Lancashire not only had to so much to learn in terms of lines but as a character she had “so much to carry”.

To balance the gritty script, Zaza said there was “a lot of light” when the cameras weren’t rolling to balance with the onscreen darkness depicted.

However, due to the nature of filming out of sequence, Zaza had to go onto a new project and wasn’t on set for the last day of filming.

The star is now going on to a whole host of other projects including an Apple TV+ drama and the forthcoming BBC drama Best Interests with Good Omens’ Michael Sheen and Sharon Horgan of Catastrophe fame.

Happy Valley season 3 airs on BBC One on Sundays at 9pm

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