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The police officer who inspired Happy Valley and advised storylines

The police officer who inspired Happy Valley and advised storylines

Sarah Lancashire's character in BBC One's Happy Valley has been informed by a real police officer called Lisa Farrand

If you’ve been watching BBC’s Happy Valley now that it's finally back on our screens, perhaps you might be interested to learn that there’s a real-life policewoman behind Sarah Lancashire’s character Catherine Cawood.

Here's the trailer for the latest series to bring you almost up to speed:

Yes, behind Lancashire's gritty northern law enforcer is a real woman who has been advising on the show since the very start, right down to some of the character traits and storylines over the course of the three seasons.

That woman is Lisa Farrand, a 60-year-old former WPC from Kirklees in West Yorkshire, a stone's throw from the Calder Valley, where the show is filmed.

Farrand worked in the police force for 30 years before retiring, and has been working with Lancashire on Happy Valley straight up until the new series of the BBC One show.

Lancashire’s character is a straight-talking copper who finds her personal and private life unfortunately intertwined with the man who raped her teenage daughter, an incident which lead to her suicide.

Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood in Happy Valley.

That character, played by James Norton, has storylines throughout the three series’ that drive the narrative of the show, alongside Lancashire and the rest of the supporting cast.

With the second episode of series three set to air this evening (8 January), following rave reviews from both critics and viewers, the real-life police officer shared some of the things that she brought to the show.

Farrand told the Sunday Times that she has had an influence on loads of small details, including advising on the correct way to put a pair of handcuffs on and whacking on doors like a proper copper.

Farrand said she told Lancashire to be less timid, instructing her: “Sarah, you're not selling Avon.

“You need to go and knock on the door so he knows that you're there.

“And don't engage him in dialogue on the doorstep: as soon as he opens the door, you make your way in and take control.”

Lisa Farrand, the former policewoman who inspired the main character of Happy Valley.

As for the levels of police aggression that take place in the show, Farrand believes that they are faithful to the truth.

She said: “The uniform doesn't protect you one iota, particularly today when people have been taking drugs, or alcohol-induced.”

Of course, with her influence on the show, some of her mates have recognised parts of her in what they’ve seen on screen.

One asked her if the show’s writer, Sally Wainwright, had ‘been following me around when she wrote the part of Catherine’, though she added: “I think so many policewomen who joined the service at a certain time will see elements of themselves in her character.”

This season is already off to a flyer, with Catherine discovering the victim of a gang-related murder at the bottom of a reservoir, unearthing a mystery that inevitably leads back to Norton’s character – and the father of her grandson Ryan – Tommy Lee Royce.

James Norton also stars in Happy Valley.

The latest episode will air at 9:00pm tonight on BBC One.

You’d better switch the channel over.

Featured Image Credit: BBC/Facebook/Lisa Farrand

Topics: TV and Film, UK News, Celebrity