It kicks over every cliche-covered rock and holds the squirming, desperate truths underneath up to the light. In a crowded field that includes Last Tango in Halifax, Scott & Bailey, At Home With the Braithwaites and Unforgiven, the two series of Happy Valley are writer Sally Wainwright’s masterpieces. The second series, broadcast this year, was arguably even better than the astonishing first. The violence was less bloody, but Wainwright’s pitiless examination of the human condition as it plays out in the Calder Valley was bleaker, more brutal and even braver than the first time round.
As ever in Wainwright’s work, women were – simply, unapologetically, vitally – at the heart of it. Sarah Lancashire was the lynchpin again, of course, as Sergeant Catherine Cawood, stoically shouldering burden upon