BBC One’s finale of BAFTA-winning crime drama Happy Valley took 7.5 million viewers last night in the UK, marking one of the country’s biggest TV hits in recent years.
The ratings, supplied by Barb data from overnights.tv, make Happy Valley the highest rated show of 2023 so far and one of the biggest in recent BBC drama history. The figures equate to a share of nearly 42% of people who were watching TV at the time.
The six-part series began last month and aired in the coveted 9pm BBC One slot that the likes of Line of Duty have previously sat. The finale’s numbers are the biggest for BBC One since Line of Duty‘s season six finale in May 2021 and will balloon further as on-demand viewing takes over in the coming weeks. Expect a figure somewhere around the 10M-11M mark.
The third and final season came to an end with star Sarah Lancashire’s police sergeant Catherine Cawood’s long-running cat-and-mouse game with psychopath rapist Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) reaching a crescendo.
Season three came seven years after the ending of the previous run. The series’ popularity in the UK has led to flocks of visitors to Hebden Bridge, the northern English town where the show is set. Internationally, the show gained popularity after streaming on Netflix and season three is co-produced with AMC+.
BBC Studios-owned drama house Lookout Point makes the show, with creator and writer Sally Wainwright and Lancashire among the executive producers.
Happy Valley‘s conclusion comes at the beginning of a new venture for Lancashire, who has teamed with husband and former BBC and Banijay UK boss Peter Salmon to launch Via Pictures.
Details logged at Companies House show the pair are directors of the new production business, which is based in Manchester. The company quietly launched in January.
Lancashire’s credits include Coronation Street, Clocking Off, Last Tango in Halifax, Kiri and Julia. Salmon was most recently Executive Chair of Banijay UK, having been Chief Content Officer of Endemol Shine Group before Banijay took it over. He was also a long-serving BBC channels and BBC Studios exec and has worked at other influential British production firms such as Television Corporation.
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