Happy Valley stars reunite for new ITV thriller – and it sounds brilliant

Clare Cartwright & Catherine Cawood
Clare Cartwright & Catherine Cawood (Matt Squire,BBC)

Happy Valley might have ended earlier this year with its third series, but two stars from the BBC crime drama's cast have reunited for a brand new thriller series coming to ITV.

Siobhan Finneran, who played Clare Cartwright, the sister of Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire), has joined the cast of the upcoming drama, Protection, along with fellow Happy Valley alum Katherine Kelly.

Katherine appeared in the second series of the gritty drama in the role of DI Jodie Shackleton, a lead investigator looking into the murder of Vicky Fleming. Siobhan, meanwhile, appeared in all three series of Happy Valley as Catherine's sister, a recovering addict who helps look after Catherine's son, Ryan, following the death of his mother.

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Protection will see Siobhan take on the leading role as Detective Inspector Liz Nyles who finds herself investigating a major security breach which takes place within a witness protection programme.

According to the synopsis, Liz is "personally compromised by an affair with a colleague, but determined to fight back and uncover the true source of corruption within her unit, to redeem herself, the reputation of her lover, and to keep her witnesses safe. Even if they don't always deserve it."

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Siobhan Finneran and Katherine Kelly will star in Protection
Siobhan Finneran and Katherine Kelly will star in Protection (ITV)

The synopsis continues: "Navigating the morally grey, clandestine world of witness protection, Liz's mission to find the truth will take her deep into the heart of the criminal underbelly and beyond as she becomes more and more torn between caring for her family, her loyalty to her lover and her duty as a police officer. This is the story of a smart, tough cop, out of her depth in a world where nothing is as it seems."

Filming for Protection has officially begun in Liverpool and will come to ITV and ITVX in 2024. Also appearing in the cast is Barry Ward (Bad Sisters), Chaneil Kular (Sex Education), David Hayman (Sid and Nancy), Nichola Burley (The Gold) and Akiya Henry (Silent Witness).

Siobhan Finneran played Clare Cartwright in Happy Valley
Siobhan Finneran played Clare Cartwright in Happy Valley (Screen Grab)

Away from her role in Protection and Happy Valley, Katherine Kelly is a recognisable face on our screens and the actress is currently appearing in ITV's brilliant new drama, The Long Shadow, which is about the search for notorious serial killer Peter Sutcliffe.

Told from the perspective of the police officers and the victims, the series details the harrowing five-year search for the killer, who claimed the lives of 13 women and attempted to murder seven others.

Katherine Kelly as Emily Jackson in The Long Shadow
Katherine Kelly as Emily Jackson in The Long Shadow (Justin Slee)

Meanwhile, Happy Valley enjoyed success at the recent National Television Awards when the drama series, and its leading star, Sarah Lancashire picked up wins in the Best Drama and Best Actress categories.

Taking to the stage to accept her win, Sarah paid tribute to her co-star Siobhan in her speech. She said: "Thank you so much for this. I have adored every scene, every moment of Happy Valley. And I know I will never forget it, nor the brilliant people that I've worked with, the way the BBC have supported us."

Happy Valley ended with its third season
Happy Valley ended with its third season (Matt Squire)

She continued: "To James Norton, to Siobhan Finneran who has been my partner in crime for three years and she is an extraordinary actress." She finished by saying: "My family walk every step of the way with me, and I am so incredibly lucky to have them in my life."