Happy Valley star Con O’Neill says ‘extraordinary’ final episode ‘blew’ his mind

Con O’Neill, who plays Neil Ackroyd in BBC’s hit drama Happy Valley has said his mind was “blown” when he read the script for the season finale.

The last-ever episode of the series airs on Sunday (5 January), in which main character Catherine Cawood (played by Sarah Lancashire) is expected to come face to face with Tommy Lee Royce (played by James Norton).

In last week’s penultimate episode, fans were left in suspense, concerned that prison escapee Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) might harm Catherine and take his son (and her grandson) Ryan, played by Rhys Connah, off to Spain.

Speaking on Thursday’s episode of This Morning (2 February), O’Neill shared his excitement for the finale, saying that there is lots of “tension” as viewers anticipate the episode.

O’Neil didn’t reveal any spoilers regarding the season finale but admitted that the script blew his mind when he read it.

“It blew my mind,” he said. “Sally [Wainwright, the show’s writer] has written an extraordinary ending to this show.”

He went on to praise the format of the BBC series airing each week, in comparison to series on streaming platforms that encourage bingeing altogether.

“Isn’t it wonderful to have a show not just dropping every episode [and] to have that tension,” he said, adding: “It’s so refreshing that people are that invested.”

Con O’Neill in ‘Happy Valley’ (BBC)
Con O’Neill in ‘Happy Valley’ (BBC)

In the series, Catherine discovered that her own sister Clare (Siobhan Finneran) and Clare’s partner Neil, played by O’Neill, were the ones taking Ryan to visit Tommy behind her back. The couple tried to insist that Tommy just wanted to get to know Ryan, but it soon became clear it was much more complex.

In the trailer for the final episode, Catherine can be heard warning people that Tommy is “gonna to be angry and he’s gonna be even more desperate and dangerous”. Tommy is seen with a bloody nose, while Catherine is shown crying.

The extended finale will air for one hour and eight minutes, 10 minutes longer than a typical episode.

Read The Independent’s finale theories here.

The last ever episode of Happy Valley will air at 9pm on Sunday night (5 February) on BBC One.