We were thrilled when we heard earlier this year that Brenda Blethyn would be putting on her mac and hat once more to play DCI Vera Stanhope in ITV’s award-winning TV drama, Vera.
While the first two hour long episodes were aired earlier this year, the remaining four will be released in 2022 and once again will be adapted from award winning author Ann Cleeves’ crime novels.
The British crime drama has been on our screens since 2011 following the life of Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope and is filmed in beautiful Northumberland. Vera is very dedicated to her job working for Northumberland & City Police, and has very close relationships with her colleagues.
Joining Blenthyn, is the return of some series favourites, including Kenny Doughty who plays DS Aiden Healy, Jon Morrison who plays DC Kenny Lockhart, Riley Jones who plays DC Mark Edwards and Ibinabo Jack who plays DC Jaqueline Williams.
Starring alongside them are three new guest stars, including Mark Benton who you may also recognise from his time on Early Doors and even Strictly Come Dancing.
We take a closer look at this years’ cast...
Vera cast: series 11
Brenda Blethyn, DCI Vera Stanhope
Brenda Blethyn OBE (75) has won numerous accolades during her acting career, from a Golden Globe to two Academy Awards and even a BAFTA. She’s acted on stage and the small screen, starring in films such as Secrets and Lies and Pride and Prejudice (2005).
She’s the beating heart of the show and has played the (almost retired) DCI Vera Stanhope in her iconic mac and hat since the series began back in 2011. And it looks like she’s planning to keep it that way for a very long time after telling Good Housekeeping she’s planning to work until her dying day.
“My parents worked until their dying days, and I fully expect to be doing the same,” she said.
“Mum had about six jobs to put food on the table and dad spent the latter part of his life working in a ladies’ dress shop as a handyman. “They instilled that work ethic in me; if you want to earn some money, you’ve got to work for it.
Spoken like a true detective!
Kenny Doughty, DS Aiden Healy
Kenny Doughty (46) has played DS Aiden Healy since 2015.
Aiden’s a family man, who in the series has one son, but still remains a dedicated detective. Over time he’s proven himself as a reliable partner to DCI Stanhope, who respects her colleagues opinion on the task in hand, as well as his loyalty and diligence. Aiden’s also always trying to make sure his boss doesn’t over do it and is always there to protect her, like a true gent.
Jon Morrison, DC Kenny Lockhart
Jon has played in many different TV series and films since the 1970s, including High Times, Dream Team, Monarch of the Glen, and Who Dares Wins. He started playing DC Lockhart since the series began in 2011.
He’s a committed member of Vera’s team and has been part of it for years. She knows that she can rely on Lockhart at the most important times and that he’s a dedicated and trustworthy detective.
Ibinabo Jack, DC Jacqueline Williams
You may recognise Ibinabo Jack from TV soaps, including Hollyoaks and Doctors. She joined the Vera cast in 2018 and is a sharp and witty soul. Jac has a no-nonsense attitude and is very intelligent. When feeling stuck on a crime and in need of uncovering new evidence, Jac is your go-to woman.
Ibinabo has said when returning to set she likes to get into her character by building her from ‘the feet up’: “This is going to sound strange but I practice Jac’s posture before returning to set. I usually build characters from the feet up, so rediscovering the way Jac sits, stands and walks is really important in playing the role, as it informs the rest of her physicality, , movements, mannerisms and pace.”
Riley Jones, DC Mark Edwards
DC Edwards is the baby of Vera’s team, but age is just a number as he’s proven himself with his meticulous attention to detail and desire to seek out the truth.
He made his first appearance on the show back in 2011 on the fourth episode ‘Little Lazarus’ and cropped up throughout the remaining series before being made a permanent member of the main cast member in series 8.
He may be in the office while Vera is out at the crime scene, but he can always be found digging up important evidence. Edwards doesn’t miss a beat.
Vera cast star guests: series 11
Mark (55) is an actor and TV presenter who has three children with his wife, Sarah Gardner.
You may have seen him play Eddie in the BBC sitcom Early Doors or the school-based drama series, Waterloo Road, where he played Maths teacher Daniel Chalk, otherwise known as ‘Chalky’. He even appeared on the eleventh series of Strictly Come Dancing back in 2013 and hosted the TV game show The Edge in 2015.
Caroline Lee Johnson
Caroline is best known for playing Janice Blackstock in the Lenny Henry comedy-series Chef! and Diane Ralston in ITV’s Customs and Excise drama, The Knock.
She trained at the Guidhall School of Music and Drama before making her television debut in 1988 where she appeared in ITV drama Campaign, as Dee Vincent alongside Pennie Downie and Charlotte Coleman.
She’s also been a guest star in other popular TV dramas, including Casualty, Holby City and Judge John Deed.
Amber James is up and coming and is most well known for Royal Shakespeare Company: Titus Andronicus and the TV drama series, Ransom, where she starred alongside Holby CIty’s Luke Roberts.
She’s also had cameos in other TV series too, including Doctors back in 2016 and the comedy-drama Doc Martin, where she played Audrey.
Where is Vera filmed?
Perhaps the most talked about thing on Vera other than the gripping storylines is the stunning backdrop. Vera often appears strolling along the beautiful beaches and investigating the wild moorland of Northumberland. Some of our favourite filming locations include Nose’s Point, Durham and Kielder Water.
Where can I catch up watching Vera?
You can catch up on the latest series of Vera (series eight) online on the ITV hub. For previous series, the DVD boxsets are available in stores.
Who writes the soundtrack of Vera?
The beautiful soundtrack to Vera is loved by so many of it’s fans. The man behind the music is British composer Ben Bartlett who has also composed soundtracks for the documentary, Walking with Dinosaurs. Listen to parts of the Vera soundtrack, here:
Is Vera based on a book?
Yes. The Vera series is based on the bestselling and critically acclaimed crime novels by award-winning author Ann Cleeves. The books include The Crow Trap, Telling Tales, Hidden Depths and Harbour Street. The books are available to purchase from Amazon.co.uk
Can I buy Vera on DVD?
Yes. Currently, you can purchase series one to seven on box set from Amazon.co.uk, so there’s no need to worry if you’re new to Vera. Series eight can still be watched online on the ITV Hub and is released on DVD 29 January 2018.
Is Vera broadcast overseas?
As well as being hugely popular in the UK, Vera is also popular in the 19 other countries it is broadcast in including Australia, Spain and Italy.
Did you know...
Brenda actually considered hanging up her hat after series seven, but thankfully changed her mind. She told What's On TV: "I kind of missed doing it. The only way I can describe it is if you go ot for a big slap-up meal and you've eaten too much and someone says, 'would you like to see the menu?' You go, 'Oh no, please leave me alone.' But a week later you get hungry!"
If you're a fan of Vera, you'll no doubt love Ridley too. It stars Adrian Dunbar and is written by the same writers as Vera.