TV & Movies

6 Happy Valley Easter Eggs You May Have Missed

Creator Sally Wainwright hid a lot in plain sight...

by Sophie McEvoy
'Happy Valley' Easter Eggs You May Have Missed
BBC/Lookout Point/Matt Squire

Sally Wainwright’s masterful crime drama Happy Valley has finally ended, tying up many loose ends while concluding Sergeant Catherine Cawood’s tragic story. Ending on somewhat of a high note, fans of the show are still dealing with the fact that there’s no more series left to indulge in. The impact of Happy Valley has been astounding, thanks to the seemingly never-ending talent of its cast and Wainwright’s extraordinary writing. Having been the mind behind many beloved series like Last Tango In Halifax (which also starred Sarah Lancashire) and Gentleman Jack, there’s always been a chance for some overlaps here and there. In one particular episode of Last Tango In Halifax, Wainwright confirmed an overlap between the show and Happy Valley existed when Cawood was referred to after another police officer was spoken down to.

With two series of Happy Valley fresh in viewers’ memories, it was a given that Easter Eggs to previous drama would be alluded to in season three. Aside from trying to figure out where the last season of Happy Valley was headed, fans were quick to notice a bunch of Easter eggs during the six-episode run — whether they were related to previous storylines, underlying messages, or throwaway lines.Below are the most notable Happy Valley S3 Easter Eggs fans have spotted so far.

References To Gentleman Jack

Singer-songwriter Belinda O’Hooley appeared in the first episode as a plain-clothes police inspector. In her first dramatic role, O’Hooley is one half of the musical duo O’Hooley & Tidow – the same duo that sing the theme song for Gentleman Jack.

In the fourth episode, Joyce revealed that “£2,175 and a sixpence” had been raised by colleagues and even criminals for Cawood’s retirement party. One Twitter user noted that this is a variation of a line spoken by Anne Lister in Gentleman Jack, to which she says: “This divides into £226, 17 shillings, and a sixpence.”

The S3 Poster


Before the S3 premiere, the BBC released a promotional poster for the series. At first glance, it’s an ominous prediction of what’s to come. But if you look closer, there are actually references to major plot points, all relating to what will happen to Tommy Lee Royce. There’s the bike he uses during his courtroom escape, the brutal fight on the field which results in Tommy getting battered and stabbed, and his, shall we say, smokey demise. “Has the ending been staring us in the face all along?” Sky news reporter and fan David Chipakupaku asked on Twitter. Yes, yes it has.

The Opening Titles

The same can be said for S3’s opening titles. For six episodes, viewers may not have noticed that two major plot points are hinted at very briefly within the montage. These include a bike wheel in the countryside referring to Tommy’s escape and his hand grabbing a petrol canister.

A Fiery Throwback To Happy Valley S1

Tommy Lee Royce’s demise took Happy Valley full circle, with dialogue mirroring what happened when Cawood dealt with Liam Hughes as he threatened to set himself on fire during the first ever episode. “Once you go up you won’t just go up a bit, you’ll go up a lot. And the other big thing to say is it hurts. Three seconds in you’ll be screaming at me to put you out. Seven seconds in and you’ll be begging for me to shoot you,” she warns him.

The Recreation Of This Conversation Between Catherine & Ryan

Speaking of throwbacks, the moment when Cawood reprimands Ryan for travelling to Nevison Gallagher’s house while Tommy is on the loose echoes a moment between the two in season one. In both instances, Cawood takes the opportunity to correct her grandson’s grammar, no matter if it has no relation to what they’re actually talking about.

The S3 Subplot

For some viewers, the subplot of Happy Valley’s third season seemed a bit meaningless in the grand scheme of things. But as a Reddit user noted, the story of domestic abuse playing out between Robert and Joanne Hepworth actually mirrors that of Tommy and Becky. However, instead of relying on flashbacks to their relationship, Wainwright subtly references it through conflicting memories from members of the Cawood family and Robert’s abuse of Joanne.

“Tommy has always said he didn’t r*pe Becky and he loved her, but doesn’t hold himself accountable for his abusive behaviour. He’s not directly culpable for her death, but is the indirect cause,” they write. “Rob’s control and abuse to Joanna leads her to a vulnerable situation, while not directly killing her he is the driver behind her drug use and why she blackmails Faisel. The comments about the grandmothers and grandfathers being the two girls’ new caregivers seems to cement the parallel stories.”