Happy Valley star Con O’Neill says ‘extraordinary’ final episode ‘blew’ his mind

Con O’Neill, who plays Neil Ackroyd in BBC One’s hit drama Happy Valley, has said his mind was “blown” when he read the script for the season finale.

The last-ever episode of the series aired on Sunday (5 January), in which main character Catherine Cawood (played by Sarah Lancashire) came face-to-face with Tommy Lee Royce (played by James Norton).

In last week’s penultimate episode, fans were left in suspense, concerned that prison escapee Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) might harm Catherine and take his son (and her grandson) Ryan, played by Rhys Connah, off to Spain.

Speaking on Thursday’s episode of This Morning (2 February), O’Neill shared his excitement for the finale.

O’Neill didn’t reveal any spoilers regarding the season finale but admitted that the script blew his mind when he read it.

“It blew my mind,” he said. “Sally [Wainwright, the show’s writer] has written an extraordinary ending to this show.”

He went on to praise the format of the BBC series airing each week, in comparison to shows on streaming platforms that encourage bingeing all episodes at once.

“Isn’t it wonderful to have a show not just dropping every episode [and] to have that tension,” he said, adding: “It’s so refreshing that people are that invested.”

Con O’Neill in ‘Happy Valley’ (BBC)
Con O’Neill in ‘Happy Valley’ (BBC)

In the series, Catherine discovered that her own sister Clare (Siobhan Finneran) and Clare’s partner Neil, played by O’Neill, were the ones taking Ryan to visit Tommy behind her back. The couple tried to insist that Tommy just wanted to get to know Ryan, but it soon became clear it was much more complex than that.

The extended finale aired for one hour and eight minutes, 10 minutes longer than a typical episode.

Read a full recap of the finale here.