Waterford's Fergus O'Brien calls directing Happy Valley 'an incredible experience'

Waterford's Fergus O'Brien calls directing Happy Valley 'an incredible experience'
Happy Valley's Sarah Lancashire

The final episode of the BBC drama series Happy Valley drew 7.5 million viewers in the UK and set Twitter on fire last Sunday night when the fate of Catherine Cawood and Tommy Lee Royce was decided.

Written by Sally Wainwright, the final three episodes were directed by West Waterford man, Fergus O’Brien.

“It was an incredible experience for me… I was a fan of the show for a long time,” Fergus told Orla on the Sunday Grill.

Fergus had worked on another Sally Wainwright show called Gentleman Jack. He contacted Sally while he was rewatching Happy Valley during the Covid pandemic lockdowns to tell her how much he was enjoying rewatching the series which was first broadcast in 2014.
“Then my phone rang and it was Sally… she said she was actually trying to write the third season and asked if would I be up for directing it so obviously I bit her hand off. I wasn’t able to do the opening episodes because I was still finishing Gentleman Jack but I was so thrilled to do the last three episodes… It was a gift to me.”


Fergus admits the reaction to the last series of Happy Valley was unlike anything he has experienced before.

“It's a very strange thing because when you are making the shows you disappear into a bubble of production… You never really know until the shows start going out and then they belong to the audience and they take on a life on their own and with this show it just took off like a rocket… the buzz was happening and the social media noise around it… people got really into the post-show chatter. It was fascinating to read people’s projections and theories on what might happen”.

And Fergus can confirm that season three is definitely the last season of Happy Valley “I met Sally Wainwright last week and I knew the answer anyway but I just thought I’d check in case the reaction has given her a new impetus to do more with it… and it is the end. No more, that’s it”

You can hear the interview with Fergus O’Brien in full on the Sunday Grill this weekend from 10 am or on the Sunday Grill podcast from Sunday, Feb 12th.