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'I'm weirdly grateful to the boys who bullied me at school', says Happy Valley actor James Norton

Tonight, James Norton’s evil Happy Valley char­acter Tommy Lee Royce will come face-to-face with his nemesis Catherine Cawood, in what promises to be the most dramatic television finale of the year.

Bully Royce – jailed for abduction and multiple ­murders before Happy Valley viewers saw him escape two weeks ago – has hinted he will kill the show’s protagonist, played by Sarah Lancashire.

But it was being bullied himself which prompted him to turn to acting, after other students made his life a misery at the £40,000-a-year Ampleforth College – dubbed the Catholic Eton – where he boarded as a red-headed, freckly child. 

This pushed him towards the school’s theatre department, where he became a mainstay.

‘I had a complicated time at school. I didn’t have the greatest time,’ Norton admits. ‘It wasn’t helped by the fact that I was bullied. I was quite badly bullied for five years and I was also at boarding school so I couldn’t leave.

‘But I owe that school a lot. I loved theatre, I made some good friends. There’s a magic to the place.

‘It’s intoxicating to be part of something so big, with that atmosphere of grandeur, when you’re in such a period of flux.’

The abuse, he says, left him ‘hyper aware socially’. ‘Possibly to a fault,’ he adds. ‘I constantly critique how I’m affecting people and how I’m being judged.’

Source of data and images: dailymail

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