Happy Valley star details James Norton ‘switching into psychopath’

Happy Valley: James Norton sets the scene for BBC crime show

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In recent weeks, Happy Valley viewers learned Ryan Cawood (played by Rhys Connah) has been visiting his evil father Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) in prison. He was recently given an ultimatum from his grandmother Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) warning him if he doesn’t stop the prison visits, he will have to move out of her home.

Reflecting on filming with James, Rhys explained his co-star is ‘instantly” able to switch from “nice person” on set to “psychopath”.

He explained: “He [James], brings so much to the character, like the energy. You see him on set between takes and he is such a nice person.

“Then we’ll start filming and he’ll just instantly switch and there’s this psychopath. He brings a lot to the character and he does it really well.”

Rhys’s tribute to his co-star comes after he confessed he finds watching himself in earlier episodes “cringeworthy”.

Speaking on the Obsessed With Happy Valley podcast, he said: “I couldn’t stand the sight of myself.

“I’m like, I’m some annoying little guy that does everything wrong and has a squeaky voice.”

What made it really uncomfortable for Rhys was the time between the second and third seasons as the show’s creator

Sally Wainwright left a seven-year gap.

Many fans at the time were left wondering whether the thrilling drama would ever return to our screens.

Explaining the time jump, Rhys noted it was partly to do with him growing up.

“I think it was always a plan to have three seasons and the structure they wanted in this season would make more sense when I’m a bit older,” Rhys shared.

“Such as me going to visit Tommy in prison, which wouldn’t really have made sense if I was 12 or 13.”

Rhys has also learned quite a lot since he first began working on the crime drama.

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Recalling his first day of filming of the show, Rhys laughed: “I remember the first shot we did was when I opened the door to walk in.

“I remember the first ever time we did it I looked directly at the camera – I didn’t look at anyone else, I just looked straight at the camera.

“They had to stop and say ‘Rhys, the most important part about filming is don’t look at the camera!'”

On what he is most proud of in the show, the actor went on to share: “It is a very successful show and I don’t think there is one element to thank for that.

“There’s the writing and the casting but everyone helps – sound, lighting, costume, everyone.

“I’m sure there are a hundred other people and roles I’ve missed there but they’re all deserving of all the praise.”

Following the release of episode three on Sunday night, viewers flocked to Twitter to heap praise on Sarah and Clare star Siobhan Finneran.

Happy Valley continues Sundays at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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