Happy Valley: Compassion, Evil and Exploitation in an Ordinary ‘Trouble Town’

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Reasoning that class identity is partly a matter of cultural allegiance, this chapter examines how viewing alignment with a fictional protagonist may call upon sympathies, attitudes and values comparable to those which underpin class affiliations. The possibilities of this are demonstrated through close analysis of the series Happy Valley (BBC 2014–) with a particular focus on the moral positioning of its central character, Catherine Cawood, and her role in policing the wider community of a ‘troubled town’. It also explores how this drama reworks one of the more powerful, traditional tropes of the detective story.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Class and Television Drama in Contemporary Britain
EditorsDavid Forrest, Beth Johnson
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781137555069
ISBN (Print)9781137555052
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2017


  • Social Class
  • Television Drama
  • Representation
  • Happy Valley


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