Series seven of Vera starts tonight (Sunday 19th March) on ITV in the UK, and, as ever, it showcases the talents of one of Britain’s finest actors – Brenda Blethyn. Adapted from crime writing legend Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope novels, the series has become a bit of a Sunday-night institution. Series seven starts when Vera investigates the body of a wildlife ranger, found on a remote island off the coast of Northumberland. Her death is at first assumed to be an accident, since she was alone on the island when she died, but marks on the body seem to point to murder. A few weeks ago I went along to ITV’s HQ to chat to Brenda about Vera. But with Brenda it’s never just about one thing – she’s just a hoot and a delight, with an infectious laugh and an endless stream of stories. Have a read after the jump…
ITV’s adaptations of Ann Cleeves’s best-selling Vera Stanhope novels have attained national treasure status, largely thanks to the brilliant Brenda Blethyn in the lead role. Now the series is back for a seventh run, and Vera and her team are drawn into four new mysteries, including the death of a wildlife ranger left alone overnight on a remote and inaccessible island. ITV has announced the transmission date.
It’s a tough life being a fisherman, but you’d think it would be tougher being a fish; not so when you end up dead in your own nets. Trawlerman Tommy Stonnall had been missing for weeks, says harbourmaster Frank (David Calder), but death took place only 24 hours ago. You can practically smell the fish as the body’s examined, revealing a head wound.
NB: Review = spoilers
After last week’s less than stellar effort, which barely came to grips with its plot, let alone the implications of the death of Bethany, this episode opens with two indignities, when a terrified woman is chased through a dark forest by unseen assailants, and is then found dead by an ancient woodsman stopping to have a wee.
NB: Spoilers ahoy!
After last week’s shock events ending with the death of Bethany, it’s hard to imagine what worse horrors might befall Vera in this episode. There’s fallout from the death – the inquest is still in progress – but Vera does seem to have drawn a line under the events.
Vera, TV’s tattiest detective (post-Columbo) returned for a sixth outing last night, her grimy old raincoat bustling like sails in the brisk, forlorn Northumbrian winds, and still chiding her young colleagues with that unsettling voice that sounds by turns like black treacle slipping off a spoon to the shrillness of iron nails scraping down a windowpane. One thing at least looks slightly different; our dowdy DCI has obviously found a decent hairdresser – the style is shorter, chic-er and a fetching darker shade to cover the grey. This may or may not have been influenced by the delicately coiffed hair of her elegant DC Bethany Whelan (Cush Jumbo). Give it up, V, Beth’s gorgeous.
You know what you’re getting with Vera – solid, tightly-plotted crime drama with an outstanding central performance from Brenda Blethyn and stories that are informed as much by the northeast landscape than they are from the characters. Series six of the adaptation of Ann Cleeves’ novels is upon us this weekend, and we managed to get hold of an interview with Brenda Blethyn, which is after the jump.