Interview: Brenda Blethyn, Vera



Vera is one of the most enduring and watchable crime dramas. A mixture of Ann Cleeves’ writing and Brenda Blethyn’s canny portrayal (as well as some amazing North East scenery) always make it one to watch. Back for its fifth series on Sunday (Sunday 5th April), Brenda reprises her role as the brilliantly perceptive DCI alongside actor Kenny Doughty who joins the show as DS Aiden Healy. Here’s what Brenda had to say about it all…

The Killing Times: Vera is in now onto its fifth series. How did it feel to put that hat back on?
Brenda Blethyn: I’m always delighted to return to Vera. Not only are the scripts fabulous, but the production values are always maintained. The whole cast and crew love returning to Vera, and it’s really enjoyable to be in the North East. Northumberland is a beautiful county and the people are so friendly.

TKT: We’re sure after being with the series from the start David Leon was missed but how was it to get back with the rest of the cast and crew?
BB: Of course Vera misses Joe. We all do. Joe was promoted and moved with his family to another constabulary. Good for him. But Brenda also missed David. He’s a diamond, and a very talented one at that. But the great and exciting news is that we now have Kenny Doughty on the team. What a delightful addition. He brings a quite different dimension. Brenda loves him, but will Vera?

TKT: Returning to the North East must be a little bit like returning home these days, were there any locations you filmed at that were new/stood out this time?
BB: It’s always a joy to return to Newcastle. Not least because it’s a party town! We’ve filmed in so many beautiful places: Alnwick, Whitley Bay, Hadrian’s Wall, Seahouses, Rothbury, Blyth, South Shields, Northumberland National Park… I could go on forever!

TKT: What can viewers expect from this series?
BB: First of all the introduction of Aiden, our new team member and four more well-written and exciting scripts. We’re also very lucky to have a first rate casting director in Maureen Duff, who supplies us with the very best guest actors.

TKT: Ann Cleeves recently said she now hears your voice as Vera. How did that make you feel?
BB: I was very flattered to hear Ann’s comments and to feel that she totally approves of my interpretation of Vera. When I read her new Vera books recently, I could hear my voice too and I beamed with pride.

TKT: Series six of Vera has been commissioned and shortly begins filming. You must be delighted…
BB: Yep, we start filming series six in June. Bring it on!

TKT: Do you have any hopes or aspirations for series six?
BB: More of the same please! Good scripts, good production values and good guest actors. What I like most about the Vera series is that each episode concentrates primarily on solving the crime. Personal backgrounds don’t feature much, although we do learn little snippets of Vera’s private life. If we knew everything of course, we’d be less intrigued by her. I also like her because she doesn’t patronise her audience – she hasn’t just walked off a cat-walk and doesn’t rely on lipstick to get attention from her team. Three cheers for Vera!

Series five of Vera starts on Sunday 5th April, 9pm, ITV



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