Happy Valleys Ryan Cawood isnt a psychopath thanks to one key detail

Happy Valley: Tommy chats to Ryan through his games console

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WARNING: This article contains spoilers from Happy Valley season 3

Happy Valley will be wrapping up this weekend with fans on tenterhooks about the fates of Catherine Cawood (played by Sarah Lancashire) and her grandson Ryan Cawood (Rhys Connah) with Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton) on the loose. Viewers were given a sneak peek at the series finale with Tommy stalking his nemesis Catherine with plans to murder her. More worryingly, Tommy appeared to be beating someone else to death with his face covered in blood as fans feared for Ryan’s life.

However, there have also been concerns Ryan would indeed take up his father’s offer to go to Spain and begin a new life with him.

Happy Valley has played on the theme of nature versus nurture and whether Ryan would take after Tommy or if Catherine had done enough to help the youngster lead a well-adjusted life.

In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, criminologist and former prison governor Professor David Wilson addressed whether Ryan had become a psychopath.

He explained: “Ryan said something in the last episode which a psychopath would never be able to say.”

Professor Wilson said Ryan was able to say “I love you” to his grandmother and “he meant it”.

The academic from Birmingham City University continued: “What it suggested was Catherine and her nurturing of Ryan had overcome any biological element to his personality that might have been psychopathic.”

He went on to outline the nature versus nurture debate and whether psychopaths were born or made.

“It’s usually a messy combination of the two but you are usually born that way and then how you are nurtured can predict how that underlying personality disorder is going to become a problem for you,” Professor Wilson said.

The criminologist is a big fan of Happy Valley and praised actor Norton’s performance as psychopath Tommy.

He said the Grantchester star was a “very good example” of a psychopath and nailed the narcissism and lack of empathy commonly seen in these personality types.

Moreover, he rubbished suggestions Norton was too attractive to play the rapist, saying psychopaths would often be “well-disguised” and come across as charming to mask their true nature.

But Professor Wilson did say there was one flaw to Tommy, which didn’t mirror real-life psychopaths.

He said: “The thing in Happy Valley that they didn’t quite got quite right is he would not have been so focused on trying to extract revenge.

“He would have moved. He would have found out who else to target by now because he’s self-centred.

“He would have felt he couldn’t get anything out of that family, there were more fish to fry. He was so narcissistic, he would have moved on to someone else.”

Professor Wilson said Tommy’s next victim would have been someone else who wasn’t in the drama to get his “claws into”.

He went on to elaborate: “It’s not so much about who he would have got his hooks into in the drama, a true psychopath would have moved on.

“He would have mined that particular scene for what he would have wanted and obviously the other thing to interpret is that he doesn’t actually care about his son. That’s true.

“He would not actually care about his son, he cares about his son only in as much as his son represents to him things that he wants to get beyond. Psychopaths only care for themselves.”

However, it appears for the purposes of Happy Valley creator Sally Wainwright’s underlying theme, the story is very much about Catherine and Tommy’s conflict with Ryan caught in the middle.

Along with his research work, Professor Wilson fronts the Channel 4 factual series In The Footsteps of Killers with actress Emilia Fox.

The current series is airing and sees the duo looking into cold cases in the hopes of having some fresh leads making for intriguing viewing.

Happy Valley continues on BBC One on Sunday at 9pm

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