I don’t know about you but all three of us have been completely obsessed with Happy Valley. The whole series is done so incredibly well: three seasons of drama, diving into heavy topics such as drugs, trafficking, rape and murder. It’s a tough watch for sure, but our absolute favourite part of Happy Valley is Sarah Lancashire’s character Catherine Cawood.
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t finished watching it yet, stop what you are doing, binge watch it and then come back because I don’t want to give anything away!
Catherine’s character is so well written and perfectly executed! Here are the top 5 things we love about her:
1. Her assertiveness
Catherine is not afraid to put her boundaries in place, and she does it so damn well! Assertiveness is not an easy skill to learn, but we could all take a few tips from the way Catherine asserts her own boundaries with colleagues, strangers and (the hardest one of all) her own family. She is confident in what information she wants to share with others, and what information she wants to keep to herself – and she communicates this SO well.
2. Her strength
Losing her daughter, who took her own life after being abused and raped by Tommy Lee Royce, understandably completely broke Catherine. Her loss clearly weighs heavy on her every single day, but the strength she finds to use her anger and grief to change the world is immense. We love how strong Catherine is, whatever she is facing. Her anger is magnificent and we love to see it portrayed so well.
3. Her sass and humour
Each episode is packed with heavy topics, but it never fails to make you laugh when Catherine gets sassy with someone who is getting on her nerves. Her quick wit and hilarious insults (thinking in particular of “wankertron”) never get old.
4. Her intuition
Her strong intuition and ability to follow it is a great trait for a police officer, but she clearly uses this skill every day for both her personal choices and her professional ones. This is again something we could all take from Catherine’s character. Trust your gut! And when people around you aren’t listening, use that assertiveness to either make yourself heard or put your boundaries in place (preferably with them on the other side of it).
5. Her vulnerability
My absolute favourite thing about Catherine’s character is the fact that she is human. She is both incredibly strong and assertive, whilst also being vulnerable and emotional. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to see this. Her character is all of these things at once, and being vulnerable does not cancel out her strength, it adds to it.
“She’s a woman, she’s blunt, she’s savage, she’s a hero but isn’t untouchable. She is driven by her grief and anger and is intent on using those to effect change. She’s Northern, she’s relatable and I bloody aspire to be that awesome!”– Sarah’s response to “What did you love about Catherine?”, which sums it up perfectly!
The lessons I have taken from Catherine Cawood are that it’s okay to put boundaries in place, even if it hurts people’s feelings – they don’t necessarily have to understand, but someone who deserves to be in your life will respect your boundaries no matter what. Trusting your intuition is not always easy, but it will never lead you wrong. Being emotionally vulnerable does not make you any less strong or assertive – nobody said being strong and assertive was easy, it’s okay to find it difficult.
Oh, and I learnt lots of new insults!
The character was based on a police officer called Lisa Farrand who was the Police Advisor for the series, which is what made it so realistic. We imagine Lisa is a total badass with all of the amazing qualities listed above! Thank you Lisa, and thank you Sarah Lancashire for doing such an amazing job of portraying this character.