Happy Valley – S1 E01 – Character Revealed through Action and Dialogue.

In the last post we summarized Season 1 Episode 1.


The purpose of this exercise is to see and understand what the writer discloses about each character in the pilot regarding character.

What is revealed through a) dialogue and b) action?

Let’s take it scene by scene:

NB these scenes do not correspond to the shooting script. They are according to my breakdown from watching the show.

Scene 1:

Action: Catherine is compassionate, skilled and professional.

Dialogue: Catherine is witty, with a dark sense of humour and has a complicated family life, which we learn about in detail.

Scene 2 is opening credits.

Scene 3:

Dialogue: we learn that Weatherill is the accountant and that Nevison, his boss is from a poor background.

Scene 4: 

Dialogue: we learn that Richard is a journalist, and that Tommy Lee Royce (series antagonist) has been released from prison.

Scene 5: 

Dialogue: Ryan has been aggressive and using unacceptable language at school.

Scene 6: 

Dialogue: we learn from Clare that Lee Royce has been released. This is the second time we have heard this, so it must be important.

Scene 7: 

Dialogue: Kevin is jealous of Nevison. He is falling apart. Feels undervalued. 

    Jenny is positive and reassuring, even in the midst of severe illness.

Scene 8:

Dialogue: Normal family friction. Nevison reveals he does value Kevin as he at least is thinking about his pay rise.

Scene 9: 

Dialogue: Richard and Catherine have a good relationship as friends. 

Scene 10:

Action: Richard and Catherine still fancy each other.

Scene 11:

Dialogue: Jenny positive, Kevin negative and self-pitying.

Action: Jenny needs help being put to bed and so is physically dependent on Kevin.

Scene 12:

Action: Writer Sally Wainwright is a fan of Sylvia Plath.

Scene 13: 

Dialogue: Ashley Cowgill presents himself as generous and considerate. Kevin is jealous and self-pitying.

Scene 14:

Catherine is concerned about the whereabouts of Tommy Lee Royce.

Scene 15: 

Action: Cowgill is a cannabis dealer to scale. 

Dialogue: Cowgill is passive / aggressive and a bully.

Scene 16:

Dialogue: Kevin Weatherill is cowardly, deceitful and manipulative.

Scene 17: 

Dialogue: The ‘other’ man working for Cowgill has been in jail for 8 years, and is therefore      the man Catherine is worried about, Tommy Lee Royce. NB we don’t yet know what Lee Royce has done. (We find out in scene 24 / 25).

    Lewis, Cowgill’s other worker, doesn’t like Lee Royce.

Scene 18:

Dialogue: Catherine is tired and impatient with her grandchild, Ryan. She is taking her worry over Tommy Lee Royce out on Ryan, his son – projecting her anxiety onto him.

Scene 19:

Action: We are reminded that Kevin is a father with a daughter.

Scene 20:

Dialogue: Kevin is self-deceiving as he believes he has the power to negotiate over his kidnapping arrangement fee.

Scene 21:

Action: Catherine is active, fearless, professional and strong.

Scene 22:

Dialogue: Catherine wittily makes fun of her own challenges in the job – but not regarding Lee Royce.

Scene 23:

Dialogue: Nevison is generous and kindhearted.

Scene 24 / 25

Dialogue and Action: Catherine is broken over her daughter’s ordeal of sexual violence and subsequent suicide. Through this scene of emotional turbulence exposition and backstory about her daughter Becky and Tommy Lee Royce’s crime and character are expertly revealed.

Scene 26:

Dialogue: Catherine desires intimacy with Richard.

Scene 27:

Dialogue: Catherine hates Lee Royce

Scene 28:

Action: Kevin cannot sleep.

Scene 29:

Dialogue: Kevin is nervous and scared.

Scene 30:

Action: Ashley seems cool and focused / Kevin is aggressive and careless.

Dialogue: Ashley sounds anxious.

Scene 31:

Action: Ann is fervent, youthful and life-loving.

Scene 32 / 33 as 31.

Sceen 34:

Lewis and Lee Royce are in conflict.

Scene 35:

Action: Kevin is experiencing inner conflict between doing what is right and fear of the consequences.

Scene 36:

Action: Catherine is busy at work.

Scene 37:

Action: Catherine is quick-thinking / Kevin is impulsive and irrational.

Scene 38:

Action: Lee Royce is brutal, misogynistic and violent / Lewis is naive.

Dialogue: Lee Royce is brutal, misogynistic and violent.

Scene 39:

Dialogue: Kevin is naive.

Scene 40:

Action: Lee Royce is a narcissist (signified by his adjusting his hair in the rear view mirror immediately after having been violent to Ann).

Dialogue: Lee Royce is vulgar, misogynistic and violent / Lewis is inexperienced, thoughtless and naive.

Scene 41:

Dialogue: Catherine is chatty, convivial.

Scene 42:

Action: Catherine is fearless.

Scene 43:

Action: Catherine is intensely angry.

Scene 44:

Action: Nevison is terrified.

Dialogue: Kevin is nervous.

Scene 45:

Dialogue: Lee Royce is heartless, cruel, and sadistic.

Scene 46:

Dialogue: Nevison loves his daughter.

Dialogue: Kevin is duplicitous.

Scene 47:

Action: Catherine is smart, resourceful, investigatively skillful.

What do you think?

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