James Norton reveals story behind ‘weirdly meditative’ Happy Valley scene

James Norton has revealed the Happy Valley crew “let the cameras roll” in order to film a “weirdly meditative” scene in an episode airing on Sunday.

The 37-year-old actor stars as notorious villain Tommy Lee Royce in the BBC One drama, which is currently airing its third and final series.

Speaking to The One Show on Wednesday, Norton shared the story behind a scene which shows Tommy receiving a haircut while in prison, as his long and unruly hair is transformed into a sleeker and tidier style.

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Norton first revealed the barber in the scene was a professional barber, not an actor, saying: “He’s called Gaz, from Cut Throat Barbers in Manchester, I think.

“He was amazing.”

He added: “What was amazing about that scene is that we basically let the cameras roll, and I just got a hair cut.

“Usually you have cuts, you know, minutes or two, three minutes here and there, but that (the haircut scene) was like a 40-minute shot.

“The cameras just rolled and everyone was watching the monitors and it was weirdly meditative.

“The music was playing, Gaz was doing his thing, and I was getting lulled into a lovely state. It was a really bizarre but kind of magical day.”

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The series, which returned on New Year’s Day after seven years off screens, is written by Sally Wainwright and stars Sarah Lancashire as its protagonist Sergeant Catherine Cawood.

Despite playing the villain, Norton also told presenters Alex Jones and Jermaine Jenas that portraying Tommy is “really fun” and “incredibly empowering”.

When asked by Jenas, 39, what it is like to get into the mind of such a troubled character, Norton replied: “I mean, I kind of love it.

“For a long time I felt like I should say how kind of troubling… And how much it cost me to play.

“But the truth is, it’s really fun. Obviously the really despicable stuff and the violence is complicated.

“But the feeling of wandering around in that boiler suit and people giving you a wide berth, that doesn’t happen to me in real life, you’d be surprised to hear.

“So it’s incredibly empowering and I kind of love it.”

The One Show airs every weekday on BBC One at 7pm.