James Norton says Happy Valley fans become ‘intimidated’ by him as they forget he’s not his murderer


James Norton has revealed that fans of Happy Valley often appear intimidated by him when seeing the actor in public as they forget he is not the murderous character he plays.

The British actor, 37, who plays Tommy Lee Royce in the BBC drama, was on The One Show couch speaking to Alex Jones and Jermaine Jenas and was asked how he feels about playing the villain.

He said: ‘I kind of love it… for a long time I felt like I should say how troubling and how much it cost me to play but the truth is it’s really fun.

Real life: James Norton has revealed that fans of Happy Valley often appear intimidated by him when seeing the actor in public as they forget he is not the murderous character he plays

‘Obviously the really dispicable stuff and the violence is complicated to play but the feeling of wondering around in that boiler suit, people giving you wide births, doesn’t happen to me in real life.

‘It’s incredibly empowering and I kind of love it.’

Presenter Alex then touched on the fact that some fans struggle to remember the difference between James and his role as Tommy.

‘Occasionally I get people being a little bit intimidated by me,’ James said.

Murderer: The British actor, 37, who plays Tommy Lee Royce in the BBC drama, was on The One Show couch speaking to Alex Jones and Jermaine Jenas and was asked how he feels about playing the villain

Murderer: The British actor, 37, who plays Tommy Lee Royce in the BBC drama, was on The One Show couch speaking to Alex Jones and Jermaine Jenas and was asked how he feels about playing the villain

'Intimidated': Presenter Alex then touched on the fact that some fans struggle to remember the difference between James and his role as Tommy. 'Occasionally I get people being a little bit intimidated by me,' James said

‘Intimidated’: Presenter Alex then touched on the fact that some fans struggle to remember the difference between James and his role as Tommy. ‘Occasionally I get people being a little bit intimidated by me,’ James said

‘It’s happened a little bit less this series I think, because of the barnet perhaps.’

In the next upcoming episode to air on BBC One, James’ character is seen getting ready for a court appearance.

The actor plays villainous murderer and sex offender Tommy Lee Royce in the drama who grows long locks while in prison. 

But in Sunday’s instalment shows prison staff cutting his hair and beard to smarten him up for an important day in court.

Tommy goes topless as he is given an image overhaul while showing off his muscly arms and physique. 

'Despicable': James also said that the 'really dispicable stuff and the violence' feels 'complicated' to play but the feeling of playing a murderer is so new and exciting

‘Despicable’: James also said that the ‘really dispicable stuff and the violence’ feels ‘complicated’ to play but the feeling of playing a murderer is so new and exciting

Role: James said of his role: 'I kind of love it... for a long time I felt like I should say how troubling and how much it cost me to play but the truth is it's really fun'

 Role: James said of his role: ‘I kind of love it… for a long time I felt like I should say how troubling and how much it cost me to play but the truth is it’s really fun’

In the second image he looks much more presentable with a clean-shaven face and shorter locks.  

It comes after last week James revealed that he loved his Happy Valley character’s long hair and ‘Messiah’ look while filming the last series of the drama.

He told how he liked the look and often found himself in the mousse section of Boots buying products and having lots of ‘Pantene moments’ on set.

Speaking on The Graham Norton Show he said: ‘Director Sally Wainwright knows the look she wants for him, and it is bold. 

Scary: The actor plays villainous murderer and sex offender Tommy Lee Royce in the drama who grows long locks while in prison

Scary: The actor plays villainous murderer and sex offender Tommy Lee Royce in the drama who grows long locks while in prison

‘I loved having long hair – it was fun, and I found myself hanging out in the mousse section of Boots. I also have a weird number of clips of me and ‘Pantene’ moments!’

Talking about the final series of Happy Valley and the great response it has had he added: ‘It is a huge relief that people like it – after seven years there was no guarantee that anyone would want to see it.’

Asked if he will miss playing Tommy he said: ‘He is a despicable monster, but he became really enticing, a sort of weird distant friend that you love seeing. 

‘I loved playing him and I miss him and the show.’

Filming for the much-anticipated third and final series got underway early last year following a six-year hiatus.

Change: In the next upcoming episode to air on BBC One, James' character is seen getting ready for a court appearance

Change: In the next upcoming episode to air on BBC One, James’ character is seen getting ready for a court appearance

In October, BBC confirmed a third season of the hit show would be on its way, and that it would be its last.

The final season follows Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) as she investigates a gangland murder that leads her back to Tommy, and her struggle to end the drug supply in the valley. 

It comes after James revealed he sought therapy after being badly bullied as a student at boarding school.

The said he was picked on for five years during his school days. Speaking on the Comfort Eating podcast, he said: ‘My school years were complicated. I didn’t have the greatest time.

Funny: It comes after last week James revealed that he loved his Happy Valley character's long hair and 'Messiah' look while filming the last series of the drama

Funny: It comes after last week James revealed that he loved his Happy Valley character’s long hair and ‘Messiah’ look while filming the last series of the drama 

‘I was quite badly bullied for five years and I was at boarding school so I couldn’t leave. I’ve had a great therapist for the last four years, and it’s not from a place of drama.

‘And I’m luckily not suffering from depression or anything like that but it’s been really, really helpful to understanding what [happened to me at school].’

James added that he is not a fan of the boarding school system and thinks most of the kids there are ‘deeply homesick’.

He said: ‘I’ve realised that boarding schools are really weird places. We’re the only country that still sends our kids away voluntarily.

‘You’re stuck with these people, and all these young kids are just deeply, deeply homesick and they’re just lost. 

‘For some of them, that pain manifests itself in being needy or rebellious. But some of them get angry and rather than crying out for their mum they just bully someone.’

It comes after James spoke about his role on Happy Valley during a recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show.

Speaking about the final series and the great response it has had he added: ‘It is a huge relief that people like it – after seven years there was no guarantee that anyone would want to see it.’ 

Candid: James Norton has revealed he sought therapy after being badly bullied as a student at boarding school (pictured in November 2022)

Candid: James Norton has revealed he sought therapy after being badly bullied as a student at boarding school (pictured in November 2022)

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