Category Archives: Vera

Vera season 11 and 12: ITV confirms transmission date

ITV has confirmed the transmission dates for the next batch of episodes of Vera.

It all kicks off with two episodes from series 11 and four episodes from series 12, making up a new, six-episode run.

Brenda Blethyn is back as Vera, naturally, as is Kenny Doughty, who also returns as Detective Sergeant Aiden Healy. Completing Vera’s team is Jon Morrison who plays DC Kenny Lockhart, Riley Jones who plays DC Mark Edwards and Ibinabo Jack as DC Jacqueline Williams. Paul Kaye returns to three of the new episodes as Pathologist Dr Malcolm Donahue whilst Sarah Kameela Impey joins the production from the episode entitled For the Grace of God as Pathologist Dr Paula Bennett.

Vera (Series 11 and 12): Sunday 15th January, 8pm, ITV

ITV confirms Vera series 11 transmission date

We’re edging towards a new season of crime drama, with things kicking off sooner than you think.

Today, ITV confirmed the new, 11th series of Vera, starring Brenda Blethyn.

We’re going to be getting two episodes in September, and then two more in 2022. Blame COVID for the interruption.

The 11th series opens when the body of well-respected local builder, Jim Tullman, is found beaten to death on the steps of the Collingwood Monument.

DCI Vera Stanhope questions how such a seemingly beloved and imposing figure could be attacked so viciously. The mystery deepens when she discovers that Tullman was due to testify in court as the key witness in a violent assault. Could these two crimes be connected?

ITV confirms Vera renewed for an 11th series and adds episodes

ITV has confirmed Brenda Blethyn will return to the role of DCI Vera Stanhope for six new feature-length episodes set against the backdrop of the North East.

It’s the first time the series will feature six episodes in a run.

Two of the six episodes will go into production this autumn until Christmas for broadcast in 2021, with the remaining four episodes filmed from spring 2021 for broadcast in 2022.

The 11th series opens when the body of well-respected local builder, Jim Tullman, is found beaten to death on the steps of the Collingwood Monument. Vera questions how such a seemingly beloved and imposing figure could be attacked so viciously. The mystery deepens when she discovers that Tullman was due to testify in court as the key witness in a violent assault. Could these two crimes be connected?

As Vera delves deeper into Jim Tullman’s life she discovers unresolved bitterness between his estranged wife Barbara and doting son John Paul, while tensions with old family friends Gary and Lesley Clayton threaten to spill over. Vera must see through the web of family grievances, jealousies and lies to ensure justice is done.

The strong ensemble cast reunited with Blethyn include Kenny Doughty who returns as Detective Sergeant Aiden Healy, Jon Morrison who plays DC Kenny Lockhart, Riley Jones who plays DC Mark Edwards and Ibinabo Jack who plays DC Jacqueline Williams.

More news as we get it.


ITV renews Vera for an 11th series

That venerable Sunday-night staple, ITV’s Vera, has renewed the show for an 11th series.

Deadline reports that the announcement was made by star Brenda Blethyn at the Winter TCA Press Tour.

The show stars Blethyn as Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, a middle-aged employee of the Northumberland & City Police, who plods along in a dishevelled state but has a calculating mind. The series is based on novels by crime writer Ann Cleeves.

Elsewhere, Cleeves announced that a ninth Vera novel would be coming out later this year.


New 10th series of Vera confirmed by ITV

Stand by for a rash of new series in January.

One of them will be Vera, the venerable series starring Brenda Blethyn and based on the novels written by Ann Cleeves.

Now we know when the 10th series is going to start.

As ever, Vera will follow experienced Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope (Blethyn) as she tries to crack some of the toughest cases in Northumberland.

Vera (Series 10): Sunday 12th January, 8pm, ITV

ITV renews Vera for a 10th series

Hot on the heels of the news that Endeavour has been renewed for a seventh series, we’re hearing that another ITV stalwart has been given an extension.

Following the success of series nine, ITV has confirmed that award-winning actress Brenda Blethyn will return as DCI Vera Stanhope for a 10th series of Vera. Four, feature-length episodes, set against the backdrop of the North East, will begin production in April for transmission in 2020.

Kenny Doughty will return as Detective Sergeant Aiden Healy, who over the years has proved himself to be a strong and reliable partner to DCI Stanhope. Completing Vera’s team is Jon Morrison who plays DC Kenny Lockhart, Riley Jones who plays DC Mark Edwards, Ibinabo Jack who plays DC Jacqueline Williams and Paul Kaye who returns as Pathologist Dr Malcolm Donahue.

The four self-contained crime stories will be inspired by the best-selling novels and characters created by acclaimed crime writer Ann Cleeves, who received the Diamond Dagger Award at the Crime Writer’s Association in 2017 for a lifetime achievement for sustained excellence.


REVIEW: Vera (S9 E4/4)

If there’s one complaint we’ve always had about Vera, it’s that we never find out much about the woman herself. Perhaps in The Seagull, the last of the current series, something of  her past will finally be revealed.

Based on the latest of Ann Cleeves’s Vera Stanhope novels, The Seagull opens with a panicky young woman at the titular club, Whitley Bay’s top nightspot in 1995 (which probably isn’t saying much). In the present, the arson-hit club is being rebuilt when a skeleton is found in a drainage tunnel – Vera suspects it might be Robbie Marshburn, a missing minor gangster. Was club owner and local crimelord Leonard Sidden involved, or his builder son?

Vera’s team seem unsure why she wants to reopen a cold case, but when a suspect, Scott Keane, is found dead, they perk up, particularly as his father-in-law is an imprisoned corrupt cop, John Brace (Mark Wingett, best known as DC Jim Carver from The Bill).

Brace taunts Vera about the death of her father Hector, and Len Sidden (Michael Feast) gives away nothing, but Vera is still convinced there’s a web of corruption going back years.

Vera digs up some family photos dating back to her father’s day – Aiden’s narked that she won’t share, and she finally admits that Hector, Sidden and Brace were mates. Is she beginning to suspect that her dad might have been bent?

She tasks Kenny with investigating, and he comes up with some suspicious-looking payments, but the Siddens’ accountant Claythorpe (Michael McKell) claims they were ‘nothing to worry about’. This hardly sets Vera’s mind at rest.

Things all start to get a bit fuzzy here; Brace had an affair with a girl who worked at the club, Mary, they had a daughter who was given up for adoption, Brace later tracked her down and tried to help her, and Brace’s wife, now a successful businesswoman, is still in with the Siddens – where is all this going, and how does it connect with the two murders?

Vera opens up to Aiden about her concerns, while Donahue finds another skeleton in the drain – it proves not to be Mary, but another club girl, the under-age Rebecca. Was Rebecca a witness to Marshburn’s murder, and had Scott Keane been asking awkward questions about the past events?

By this stage, we were beginning to lose the thread. Other than a conviction that Sidden’s hard-nose wife Elaine (Clare Higgins) was guilty of something, and that Vera’s dad must have been innocent despite the damning evidence, we didn’t really have a clue what was going on.

Finally, phone evidence leads Vera to the village of Morna in Scotland, where she finds Mary, the key to the mystery. When Vera leans on the Siddens, and finds documents linking her father to Morna, it all comes out – underage girls, drug overdoses, and the central part played by accountant Claythorpe, who had killed Marshburn to protect Mary, then Scott Keane to keep his secret.

When Claythorpe turns up at Vera’s, she thinks he’s there to shut her up; but Aiden comes to the rescue before it comes to that.  At least Claythorpe reassures Vera that her father was straight.

Vera engineers a meeting between Mary and her daughter, and is left sitting on her dad’s old bench, looking out to sea and lost in thought. She seems to have achieved some sort of closure, and so have we – though this finale dragged endlessly, and the denouement seemed more like a case of picking an ending out of a hat than anything else, at least we did finally find out a little more about Vera.

Her evidential insights in this series have rarely amounted to much more than going through phone records, bank statements and CCTV, so we can’t say we’re that impressed with her detective abilities; but she is becoming a more rounded character, and all the better for it.

Chris Jenkins





REVIEW: Vera (S9 E3/4)

After what must be the most shambolic boat party ever, beauty empire founder Dani Varsey is found floating in the quay. The unkempt Vera, unsurprisingly, isn’t familiar with Varsey’s…

Dani seems to have been strangled before going into the drink, as unsympathetic Donahue (Paul Kaye) points out. And when Vera visits Dani’s flat, it’s been inexpertly turned over.

Has unkempt boat captain Eddie (Gordon Kennedy) been involved in burgling guests’ homes while they’re empty, and what is the function of the mysterious clamps on the hull of his boat for? Does dodgy businessman Richard (Robert James-Collier) know about his employee Eddie’s smuggling plan?

Or does coastguard Gayle (Esther Hall) know more than she’s letting on about how the body got into the water?

Other suspects include bullying boyfriend Nial (Russ Bain), shop manager Megan (Natalie Gumede, who has previous as a nutjob in Coronation Street), and father Ross (Patrick Baladi, always a baddie, and thus perhaps too obvious).

More likely it’s one of the three witches behind the company, Sadie (Sonita Henry), Paula (Elizabeth Berrington) and Lisa (Shivani Ghai).

Aidan’s business studies degree comes in handy when he figures out how much money is tied up in the company, though it’s a surprise that Vera knows about Botox treatment – “just what we need to reverse industrial decline”, she deadpans.

When Vera figures out that the body could have been stuck under the boat long before being found, the search for the crime scene turns to a hotel, where blood and hair are found. This is a bit of a disappointing turn-up; we thought the mystery was going to be about how the murder took place on the boat without anyone noticing, but evidently not.

A witness suggests Dani was investigating busines front addresses, and there are drone shots a-plenty as her handbag turns up at the Tees Barrage. Meanwhile a waitress suggests that Dani’s dad Ross was a bit too hands-on, as confirmed by shop manager Megan – was Dani  tracking pay-offs to offended employees, and did Ross fight with Dani over his tendencies?

A bit more digging leads Vera to conclude that what Dani was onto was actually a case of fraud involving fictional employees and inflated payments. But who was behind it?

Turns out it’s financial manager Paula, but the money’s not in her accounts – so whose money-laundering scheme is she fronting?  Fingerprints in her flat link Paula to another crime where a restaurateur was murdered. Does Paula know who it was?

Vera rather unfairly pressures Paula into thinking her life might be in danger if she doesn’t co-operate, and eventually, the link is made to dodgy businessman Richard. Aidan catches him at the airport, and Vera pens him in with mobile phone data and fingerprint evidence linking him to the murders of the restaurateur.

It’s all a bit unconvincing; a sociopath that confident wouldn’t have been so afraid of his previous crimes being exposed that he would kill again to cover them up.

Vera’s brush with the beauty industry ends up with her buying herself a new coat – mind you, it’s exactly the same as her old one – and with a little lecture about how victims of sexual harassment are brave coming forward.

Well, we said Patrick Baladi always played baddies – remember his recent turn in No Offence? – but just for once, he didn’t turn out to be the murderer, just a touchy-feely Weinstein type. No, it was Robert James-Collier, the baddie in Downton Abbey, who actually dunnit, not surprising when his character fit the usual profile of appearing towards the start then being discarded until ten minutes from the end. So the butler did do it (well, the under-butler, to be exact).

Unusually, Vera rubbed shoulders with the sophisticated and well-heeled in this episode, though of course, they turned out to have all the problems of her usual down-at-heel customers. Scruffy she may be herself, but she sees through superficialities to the heart of the matter, whether it’s family loyalty, jealousy, or the good old root of all evil, the love of money.

Chris Jenkins



REVIEW: Vera (S9 E2/4)

While Vera often tackles gritty subjects, it’s rarely topical; but the themes of this episode, Cuckoo, are torn straight from today’s headlines. How will DCI Vera Stanhope deal with the realities of gang warfare in the run-down county towns of the north? 

The camera drone gets plenty of use in this episode, as sweeping overhead shots of rattling trains and windswept shores introduce the setting of this grim tale.

Caden Lennon, a young visitor to Peyton, is found stabbed to death in a boatyard. it’s soon established that he was on the run from a care home in Newcastle, where he had become involved with local gangs. But why would he have behind his younger brother Tyler?

Suspects include a dodgy community centre manager, the surly boatyard owner, his surlier employee, and a nosey cafe owner. But the real question is where the dead youth found money for new trainers and gold jewellery.

Pathologist Donahue (Paul Kaye, pretty well wasted in the role), finds some suspicious fibres, and the local bobby admits there’s a crack cocaine problem in the town (and gets in a dig about cutbacks, and a joke about Z-Cars – does anyone remember than venerable cop show?), while busybody Roy Brewer reckons the victim had been hanging about for some weeks.

Arcade owner Tony Briggs (Mark Addy) comes under suspicion, and because it’s Mark Addy, we know he’s up to something; surly Mincham is short of money, and suspects someone’s trying to put him out of business; Vera may have put her finger on it when she realises that Mincham’s run-down boatyard is in the way of urban regeneration.

Snooty yacht club manager Nila Dajani also seems suspect; is this one of those Scooby Doo plots where someone’s trying to buy up all the local property to redevelop the area? We tend to think that the solution actually lies back on the dead boy’s run-down home estate.

On the beach, Vera questions ‘David Hasselhoff’, the local surf instructor (can we imagine Vera watching Baywatch?), and tracks down a local addict – Aidan has to go toilet-surfing to retrieve some drugs. The local copper, Turnly, seems overly concerned – is he actually the drug supplier, we wonder?

Caden had evidently been dossing at the crack-house, in a ‘county lines’ plot, and it had been taken over for a centre for dealing, a practice we’re told is called ‘cuckooing’ – but who was the supplier?

If a gang from Newcastle was bringing drugs and coercion into Peyton, who had a motive to bump off Caden? Ex-dealer Briggs, Nila Dajani’s boyfriend, Caden’s girlfriend Kayleigh, or addict Declan Price? (well, not him, he’s been bumped off with a lethal dose of heroin). By this stage, we’re pretty much in the dark, and frankly beginning to not care.

Pressure on Kayleigh finally comes up with the name of Newcastle dealer Nat Halpin, but he’s done a flit; is it his 4×4 that runs Vera’s Land Rover off the road? Tyler gives him up and confesses to the county lines conspiracy, but we reckon it’s too easy an explanation that Halpin killed Caden in an argument over money.

In fact, it turns out that little brother Tyler was the violent one; he clobbers PC Williams and does a runner, but Vera tracks him down to the beach hut and beats a confession out of him (not really, she’s full of sympathy as Tyler admits to stabbing his brother to secure his place in the gang).

“We didn’t even scratch the surface of the problem” admits Vera; and it’s true, she might have taken one gang off the streets, but there’s no doubt someone else will take their place. A hard-hitting plot for Vera, but at the end of the day it was as usual all about family relationships rather than personal gain or revenge. Vera’s insight is crucial rather than forensics or digital data, and as she says, there’s years in the old girl yet – she’s talking about her Land Rover, but we know what she means.

Chris Jenkins


REVIEW: Vera (S9 E1/4)

Ambitious Prison Service forensic psychologist Joanne Caswell is found dead, her body dumped in landfill miles from home. She bought a phone just before her death, but who had a motive to kill her?

This ninth series of Vera  soon gets back into the usual rhythm. Dour DCI Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn) hides a sharp investigative mind behind a shabby exterior; she stomps around in Wellies and a sou’wester and drives a battered Land Rover, lives on Chinese takeaways and doesn’t seem to have much of a personal life.

Her team, notably DS Aiden Healy (Kenny Doughty) back her up, though it’s remarkable how often the septagenarian Vera gets embroiled in the action when her more youthful sidekicks should take the lead. (Maybe she’s still reluctant to expose them to danger since the death of DC Whelan (Cush Jumbo) in Series 6). Paul Kaye is now a series regular as narky pathologist Malcolm Donahue.

Stating the bleeding obvious, that the victim was not killed on the site, Vera soon establishes that she was living with a girlfriend Melanie (Faith Alabi), but had had lunch with her father Graham (Adrian Lukis), who had just left her mother. But who picked her up afterwards, killed her and dumped her?

She’d split up with her girlfriend, who had a record of obsessive behaviour and lied about her movements; she’d argued with her dad about his new relationship; her boss, Matthew Wells (Peter Davison), looks like a sex deviant; and violent former prisoner Paul Eastman (Sean Curnow) had argued with Joanne.

Eastman says he had nothing against Joanne, and in fact she bought him a phone to give to his son; but he did have a grudge against Matthew Wells.

Joanne’s girlfriend Melanie says she was worried about work – was it about one of her cases, Simon Beck, who killed himself in jail after being denied parole? Simon’s sister Ashleigh (Caitlin Drabble) had prompted Joanne to investigate Simon’s case – he’d been convicted of murder, but did he do it? Was there abuse involved?

At this stage, we still reckon Matthew Wells did it – Joanne must have discovered some failure of his during the Beck case, and he killed her to shut her up. Plus, it’s Peter Davison, isn’t it? He’s always been a baddie, since Dr Who.

Certainly, the case is something to do with the historic murder of youngster Jordan Payne. If Beck didn’t do it, who did? – someone else on his football team, or his dad? And did the investigating officer Jim Paisley (Andrew Readman) fiddle the case? As the Jordan Payne case seems relevant, Vera examines the scene; and finds evidence that Joanne was also killed there.

Our theories seem to be panning out when a driver’s dashcam captures Joanne getting out of Matthew Wells’ car; his assistant confirms that they’d argued over the Beck case, and others. He confesses to taking her to the murder scene, but insists he had solid evidence in the Beck case, and that he didn’t murder Joanne.

Further pressing Beck’s sister, Vera theorises that he confessed to murdering Jordan to cover for someone else; maybe his true love, Kieran Webb (James Atherton). Cornered in the locker room, Kieran confesses that he killed Jordan because he was being blackmailed about his relationship with Simon, and killed Joanne when she discovered the truth. But Vera somehow figures out it was Keiran’s wife Natalie who killed Joanne – we’ve no idea how she figured that out.

Not a promising opening episode then, with the usual roster of suspects, no really penetrating detective insights, a confusingly random assortment of gay subplots, and thankless roles for Paul Kaye and Adrian Lukis, though Peter Davison was rather better served in a role which at least at one stage made him look like major suspect.

Vera still managed to capture both perps single-handed while Aiden just floundered around looking hunky, and not much use was made of the locality, other than the landfill site, the council estate, one insignificant seaside scene, and the world’s least convincing art gallery.

What we could really do with is something a bit more personal for Vera to get her teeth into, though as she doesn’t have a personal life, that could prove difficult. We can confidently predict though, that if she does get involved with someone, he’ll either turn out to be a murderer, or be found dead on the moors.

Chris Jenkins