James Norton Acknowledges Debt to ‘Happy Valley’ as He Provides New James Bond Update

Thanks to Happy Valley coming to an end on Sunday night, James Norton is now free and available to take on a new major project – with the Tommy Lee Royce actor tipped to be the next James Bond

James Norton has explained just how Happy Valley changed the entire trajectory of his career.

The actor, 37, says he was almost destined to a lifetime of playing ‘foppish poshos’ but his role as Tommy Lee Royce in the BBC series allowed him the opportunity to explore darker roles.

James recalls how being Cambridge educated and speaking with a specific accent meant some felt he might not be ‘quite right’ to play the part of a murderous villain, but he jumped at the chance to prove his range.

Ahead of Happy Valley ’s nail-biting conclusion on Sunday night, James’ odds to become the next James Bond shortened – with bookies revealing the star stands a real chance of taking over from Daniel Craig.


James Norton’s portrayal of Tommy Lee Royce has seen the actor tipped to be the next 007 (Image: BBC)

In an interview published just days before the Happy Valley finale, James addressed the 007 rumours, and reminisced about the first series of Happy Valley airing almost a decade ago.

“Britain is obsessed with class, and our industry is obsessed with pigeon holes,” the boarding school educated actor explains.

“Having been to Cambridge and speaking with a [specific] accent I did run that risk. When Happy Valley came out I had people ringing my agent saying ‘We have this part, but it’s a bit posh, I’m not sure James is right for it.’

james as tommy

Playing Tommy opened up new doors for James (Image: BBC/Red Productions)
Continuing in his interview with Vera magazine, James continues: “My agent was punching the air. It’s a perfect part, a hand of aces, and you don’t get many of those throughout your career.”

Happy Valley has certainly served James’ career well – with bookies now putting the actor now just behind Henry Cavill in the running to ask for his martinis shaken, not stirred as the next 007.

“After evading police in Happy Valley fans of James Norton would love to see him tackle 007 following Daniel Craig’s departure,” Jessica O’Reilly of Ladbrokes said as James’ Bond odds were chopped down to 3/1 on Saturday.

James in a suit

James says he’s ‘flattered’ to be touted as a possible Bond (Image: BBC/Cuba/Nick Wall)
Speaking about the rumours during his recent interview, James kept tight-lipped – offering little more than acknowledgement of the speculation and confessing “it’s flattering to be in the conversation.”

Sunday night’s final ever episode of Happy Valley saw James’ character Tommy enjoy one final showdown with his enemy Catherine Cawood – with the serial murderer and rapist’s fate sealed.

While some Happy Valley fans were left wanting more from the drama, others praised creator Sally for three incredible series of the gripping saga.

As the end credits rolled on Sunday night, one fan took to Twitter to write: “Catherine & Clare‘s complicated relationship was one of the many highlights of Happy Valley.

“Their love for each other overcoming everything else is what I needed to see tonight. Thank you Sally Wainwright, Sarah Lancashire & Siobhan Finneran! You are all amazing!”

Another agreed, tweeting: “Absolute perfection. Every word. Every breath. I’m not going to say much more because not everyone watches live, apart from…the way Sally Wainwright writes villains and victims is entirely radical. And every single breathless plaudit is deserved and still not enough #HappyValley.”

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