Barnsley priest stars in TV's Happy Valley

It was only supposed to be an opportunity for the production team behind the top TV series Happy Valley to pick his brains about how to conduct a funeral service. 

And before he knew it, Fr Paul Cartwright was asked to audition and last night he appeared in the second episode of the hit series by Sally Wainwright, set in Calderdale.

Said Fr Paul, parish priest at St Peter the Apostle and St John the Baptist, Barnsley and chaplain to his former employer, West Yorkshire Police: “ I thought I was just doing a favour for a former colleague from my time  in the police service.

“It came completely out of the blue but it was great fun to be part of the team,” he added.

Fr Paul was seen in last night’s episode conducting the funeral of the mother of main protagonist, Tommy Lee Royce.

Said Paul: “From being shown to my dressing room, to having my make up done sitting next to Sarah Lancashire and Shirley Henderson, to speaking with the fantastic writer Sally Wainwright and her police advisor Lisa Farrand (who I used to work alongside when I was a police officer) to make sure everything was just right, it was a day of firsts. 

“Happy Valley is so gripping because it pays attention to detail, and this was no different for the funeral service which I was asked to advise on and be involved in.  Those involved in the production wanted the funeral scene to be authentic, and there's no better way to ensure this than asking a priest for advice.  That said, I was gobsmacked when they invited me to audition for the part and subsequently asked me to be the vicar on the show,’ he added.

The crime series, Happy Valley returned to our screens for its second series last week after becoming the TV highlight of 2014 and won Broadcast award for best drama series at the BAFTAs. It stars Sarah Lancashire in the lead role as Sgt Catherine Cawood.  


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