Happy Valley cast mistaken for real police officers while filming crime drama



In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Happy Valley’s Shafiq Shah star Shane Zaza opened up about how he and other cast members were frequently approached by members of the public, who thought they were real-life police officers. Zaza, 39, has been part of the BAFTA-winning Sally Wainwright series since its debut on the BBC back in 2014 and has appeared in all three seasons. His character Shafiq often gets caught in some sticky situations with senior police officer Catherine Cawood (played by Sarah Lancashire) having to bail him out and put him and his fellow junior officers in their place.

Addressing getting mistaken for a police officer, Zaza said: “Actually it did happen on this season.

“When you’re walking around outside when you’re not around the film crew sometimes.

“People would ask questions about certain things or decide to confide in you about something.

“I think it was in the previous seasons it happened a few times. Sometimes you think, ‘Do I go along with this? I should probably say something.’ Which we did.”

READ MORE: Happy Valley star opens up on ‘bittersweet’ final season

Prior to taking on Shafiq in Happy Valley, Zaza spoke about researching the role.

He said: “With season one, we did a bit of police training, a few of us did police training beforehand and it’s a crazy, difficult world. It’s a difficult job that they do.

“Even just being dressed up as a police officer, quite often, we were – people used to think we were police officers.

“Quite often. So it’s a difficult job. It’s draining and it’s consuming, so I have only admiration for what they have to do.”

READ MORE: Happy Valley’s Ashley Cowgill has a checkered past in the BBC series

Adding: “There’s a character you have to put on as well when they’re on duty. So it was really interesting to see.”

Zaza said it was “an honour” to have worked on Happy Valley, which he praised as one the best shows to have been made in the UK.

The actor is now moving on to other projects and will be appearing in the BBC’s forthcoming drama Best Interests starring Michael Sheen and Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan.

He is also going to be appearing in an Apple TV+ series which he recently wrapped on.

Happy Valley season 3 airs on BBC One on Sundays at 9pm

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