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The third and final series of the TV serial Happy Valley has captured the imagination of millions of viewers, but it might also provide some inspiration for those keen to follow in the footsteps of the cast, who are mostly from the north.

While the series may be set in the Calder Valley of West Yorkshire, the cast are from both sides of the Pennines and even beyond, although James Norton, who plays the villainous Tommy Lee Royce in the series, was brought up in Yorkshire after being born in London.

Those who might encourage people to take drama classes in Manchester include Oldham-born Sarah Lancaster, who plays tough police sergeant Catherine Cawood, while Rhys Connor, who plays Ryan Cawood, comes from Heywood. The role of Dan Cawood is played by Mancunian Karl Davies, who has also appeared in Game of Thrones and Chernobyl.

George Costigan, who plays Nevison Gallagher, is another adopted northerner, being born in Portsmouth but brought up in Salford, while other Lancastrians include Steve Pemberton, the man who played Nevison’s accountant and blackmailer behind his daughter’s kidnapping in the first series, Kevin Weatherill. Born in Blackburn, Pemberton studied drama at Bretton Hall in Yorkshire.

If ever there was evidence that being born or brought up in the Manchester area or other parts of the north is no impediment to a successful acting career, this cast list is it. Indeed, the ability to carry a northern accent is an obvious advantage when acting in a production set in the Pennines rather than the Chilterns.

Happy Valley may now have finished and anyone from the real Calder Valley will tell you it isn’t really the crime hotbed that the series might portray it. But it is definitely real life proof of the opportunities that are open to northern actors.

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