Happy Valley provokes “Tiny Phone” search spike

Searches in the UK for “tiny phone” spiked dramatically at just after half past nine on Sunday evening.

The relatively unusual search term – which until that time had been fairly stable in the volume of enquiries – went through the roof, according to Google Trends data analysed by Screen OD.

The reason… a TV show, of course.

To be precise, Happy Valley on BBC One, Sally Wainwright’s brilliant drama which has returned to our screens after six long years away for a third and final season where we hope to find out if there really can be a happy ending for Catherine Cawood and her family.

The surge in search interest came when Tommy Lee Royce, played by James Norton, unwrapped the smallest mobile phone you’ve ever seen in his prison cell after smuggling the device out of the prison kitchens where he’d been working. Clearly, it wasn’t just us wondering if you really can get a phone that small as at 9.36pm, just seconds after the phone appeared on screen, search volumes on Google in the United Kingdom went from not much more than zero to 100 in a flash.

The spike in searches for “tiny phone” continued for the rest of the show and slowly died off, as the graph below shows.

Google Trends Data analysed by Screen OD for the search “Tiny Phone” in the UK on Sunday evening when Happy Valley episode two aired

Those searching will have been presented with a number of tiny phones, although the most prominent appears to be the Zanco Tiny T1 which claims to be the world’s smallest mobile phone. You can buy one for £39.99 on Amazon if you like (affiliate link). However, closer inspection suggests that’s not the model being used in the show.

And so now we know how Tommy Lee Royce is managing to communicate with the outside world from his prison cell – and that television has the power to influence the way that people use Google while watching their favourite shows (who would have thought it) – one question still remains very much unanswered…

Does Tommy really have small enough fingers to send a text on that phone without hitting the wrong keys?

I guess we’ll have to wait for the next episode to find out…

Happy Valley season 3 starring Sarah Lancashire continues on Sunday night on BBC One

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