Vera is four-part detective drama from ITV, set in the North East of England. Starring Brenda Blethyn OBE, the series follows Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope as she cracks cases around Newcastle and Northumberland.
Three of the episodes – Hidden Depths, Telling Tales and The Crow Trap – have been adapted from the novels by crime writer Ann Cleeves, while the fourth instalment, Little Lazarus, comes from an original screenplay by writer Paul Rutman, who has worked on Lewis and Marple.
Episode one, Hidden Depths, concerns the strange death of Luke Armstrong, a fifteen year old. Initially considered to be a suicide, it soon transpires that he was killed while his mother was out dating a soundman from The Sage – a concert hall in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. When the same man is present at the discovery of another body soon afterwards, the police pick up on the entangled private lives of a group of birdwatchers on the Northumbrian coast.
Blethyn says she finds a lot in common with Vera – even down to the problem solving:
“It’s a departure for me to be playing a detective but I’m a naturally inquisitive person. I love solving problems… If you needed to get a wardrobe though a keyhole I’d work out how to do it! It comes from my childhood as we were very poor and didn’t have a TV or a radio and Dad would set us puzzles, brain teasers and crosswords to keep us quiet. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in one of these forensic places; I’d find it absolutely fascinating. That aside, I just love the character.”
The Kent-born actress found Northumberland “wild” and “beautiful”:
“I was walking on the shore and it seemed like the sea was so wild, like 20 feet higher than me. With the mist coming in from the North Sea it was completely beautiful. That’s juxtaposed when you go in to the inner city and see how bleak it is with the loss of the ship building and mining industries. But there’s a great dignity in Northumberland. It shows in the people. The warmth in the people of Northumberland comes out in our characters. I can’t imagine Vera being anywhere other than Northumberland.”
Vera was filmed with the help of Northern Film & Media who have assisted notable releases on the small and big screens including such as Harry Potter, Wire in the Blood and Inspector George Gently. The public-private partnership helps filmmakers to source local talent and find suitable locations.
Vera will be screened in the United Kingdom on ITV1, with the first show, Hidden Depths airing at 20:00 BST on Sunday 1 May 2011.
- Brenda Blethyn as DCI Vera Stanhope
- David Leon as Sergeant Joe Ashworth
- Wunmi Mosaku as DC Holly Lawson
- Paul Ritter as Pathologist Billy Cartwright
- Gina McKee as Julie Armstrong
- Gabrielle Ross as Laura Armstrong
- Sam Fendor as Luke Armstrong
- Juliet Aubrey as Felicity Calvert
- Murray Head as Peter Calvert
- Craig Conway as Davy Sharp
- Neil Armstrong as Gary Wright
- Samantha Neale as Lily Marsh
- Paul Higgins as Clive Stringer
- Patrick Toomey as Samuel Parr
- Philip Correia as Ben Craven
- Producers: Elwen Rowlands and Elaine Collins
- Directors: Adrian Shergold, Peter Hoar, Farren Blackburn and Paul Whittington