‘We first met when I was 17’: Inside the wholesome friendships of the Happy Valley cast

Sarah Lancashire getting all the cast and crew a goodbye candle is too cute

Happy Valley is over, and the cast won’t be filming any more scenes together – but that doesn’t mean that the friendships between these wholesome British icons are going to go anywhere. Considering the three seasons of Happy Valley Sally Wainwright and her immaculate pen have given to us over the last decade, it only seems natural that friendships have blossomed between these actors who have worked so closely with each other, developing characters that feel completely believable and filming the most emotionally charged scenes any actor could hope to have to grapple with. Here’s a peek inside the friendships that exist between the cast of Happy Valley – prepare for wholesome content ahead!

Sarah Lancashire and Siobhan Finneran

Siobhan Finneran and Sarah Lancashire’s relationship together on the show as sisters Clare and Catherine is absolutely essential to the show’s success, and it’s so nice to know the two absolute powerhouses of British acting are close in real life thanks to both growing up in the same acting circles in the north when they were younger.

Speaking to The Guardian in December, Siobhan said the following of their friendship: “We first met when I was 17. She’s a couple of years older and was doing this brilliant theatre studies course at Oldham College, which I’d applied to. Sarah and some other students performed at the open day. We met then and eventually did a play together. We’ve both got a slightly warped sense of humour and we both like a cake. It’s always a joy to work with another actress who actually eats cake.”

James Norton and literally everyone

You only need to scroll through James Norton’s Instagram right now to see how close mates he is with pretty much the entire cast. He’s posting endless behind the scenes pics where he’s thick as thieves with the lads from season one, Joe Armstrong and Adam Long who played Ashley Cowgill and (the love of my life) Lewis Whippey.

A special shoutout goes to the cute relationship he has with Rhys Connah, who plays Tommy Lee Royce’s son Ryan on the show. The two clearly had a proper laugh filming the show over the years – most of the pics James Norton’s posted are of the two of them!

James Norton’s pally with Shirley Henderson too, who played the TLR obsessed Frances Drummond. But we’ll all know her permanently as Moaning Myrtle whether she likes it or not!


Adam Long, James Norton and Charlie Murphy


Adam Long and James Norton seem close to Charlie Murphy, the actress who plays Ann Gallagher. This trio is one of the nicest Happy Valley friendships in the cast I think, since what the two of them were doing to Ann on screen was so unspeakably awful – nice to know they were having a laugh when the cameras were off!

James Norton and Alec Secareanu

Perhaps it’s because I’m gay, but every time I see Alex Secareanu pop up in anything I have to catch my breath a bit after seeing the formative homosexual watch that is the film God’s Own Country – where he plays the lead with Josh O’Connor and we see them n*ked.

But this pic and friendship pleases me greatly.

Rhys Connah and Sarah Lancashire

My personal fave: The cute relationship between Rhys Connah and Sarah Lancashire, where he told her he’s going to miss her – CRYING. The fact he calls her Gran is just too cute I can’t

Happy Valley cast


Sarah Lancashire and the whole cast

The Yorkshire Soap Company posted a tribute to Sarah Lancashire, who they said came in to their store and created the below candle as a goodbye gift to all the cast and crew of the show!

Happy Valley seasons one to three are available to stream now on BBC  iPlayer.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

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• The definitive tier list ranking of every major character in Happy Valley

This Happy Valley theory about who Tommy Lee Royce’s real dad is has changed my life