Happy Valley S1 E05 Act structure & story threads.

Having looked at the previous 4 episodes, we are now on to episode 5.

It is actually really interesting to see the colour codes change.

Whereas in episode 1, act 5 is colour-coded mostly blue – dealing with the A story (season) main plot, as we near the season finale of episode 6, act 5 of episode 5 is mostly red – dealing with the A story (trilogy).

So, as we near the end of season 1, writer Sally Wainwright is preparing the ground for the season trilogy.

Here are the 5 acts of episode 5.

Colour codes as follows:

Interesting to note that act 1 is completely focused on A story for the season – Ann’s kidnap plot.

Act 2 gives us mostly season plot scenes but 3 family scenes inserted as well.

In Act 3 we see the writer bring us back to the main plot of the trilogy with splashes of red mixed in with the blue (season plot) and green (family).

In Act 4 we start to see the trilogy become more pronounced with red trilogy scenes outweighing blue and green. There is also one scene which ties one of the season antagonists to the background issue of drugs (colour code: brown) from where Happy Valley gets its name.

Finally, to kick us into the finale that is going to be Episode 6, we have the last act of Episode 5, which, with the exception of the first scene, is completely focused on Catherine, Ryan and Tommy Lee Royce and the deceased Becky.


In scene 52 Catherine explains to her grandson Ryan that she is crying because she misses his mum – Becky – who committed suicide after being raped by Tommy Lee Royce. This storyline will play out over the next two seasons, culminating in Episode 6 of Season 3. And in a twist of genius, the final scene of season 3 pays off the opening scene of season 1, even though season 1 and season 3 were made 8 years apart.

If you have any interesting notes about Happy Valley please let me know on Twitter @screenwriteorg

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