Happy Valley's James Norton has therapy after trauma at boarding school

by 24britishtvJan. 19, 2023, 5 p.m. 14
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Happy Valley star James Norton has opened up about having therapy following his traumatic time at boarding school.

The 37-year-old star, who is currently playing twisted psychopath and killer Tommy Lee Royce in the hit BBC police drama, has revealed he was badly bullied for five years during his childhood. Speaking on the Comfort Eating podcast, he said: "My school years were complicated. I didn't have the greatest time.

"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.

READ MORE: Happy Valley's Rick Warden's life from actress wife to fans spotting him from hit US 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, who attended North Yorkshire's Ampleforth College, a fee-paying private boarding school, said he does not agree with the boarding school system and thinks most of the kids who board are 'deeply homesick'.

He added: "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 shortly after James spoke out about his role as Tommy Lee Royce during a recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show. Discussing the response to the third series, James said: "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 the murderer, James 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."

During a recent red carpet event, James said: “I love him. It’s a complicated relationship I have with him because he’s a monster and he’s obviously despicable, but he’s also undeniably kind of compelling. Everybody’s fascinated by that kind of character and so am I.”

James has appeared in a number of popular TV shows and films including ITV drama Grantchester and BBC's War & Peace. In 2019, he appeared in the film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel Little Women as John Brooke.

For his Tommy Lee Royce performance in Happy Valley he earned a nomination for the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2015.
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