Last Tango In Halifax star Sarah Lancashire is to team up with the hit series’ award-winning writer Sally Wainwright for new BBC drama Happy Valley.

In a six-part crime thriller, Sarah plays Catherine, a no-nonsense police sergeant who heads up a team of dedicated police officers in a rural valley in Yorkshire. When a staged kidnapping quickly spirals out of control and turns into a much more brutal series of crimes, Catherine finds herself being dragged into something darker than she ever dreamed possible.

Joining Sarah will be Steve Pemberton (Whitechapel, Benidorm) and Siobhan Finneran, famous for her portrayal of Downton Abbey’s evil maid Miss O’Brien.

“Happy Valley is a dark, funny, multi-layered thriller revolving around the personal and professional life of Catherine, a dedicated, experienced, hard-working copper,” says Sarah Lancashire, who has also recently appeared in The Paradise.

“She is also a bereaved mother who looks after her orphaned grandchild. It’s an emotional, complex, challenging role. I’m terrified, exhausted and freezing cold, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Filming has begun in Yorkshire and the series is expected to come to BBC1 in 2014