Vera – the ITV drama based on the novels by Ann Cleeves and starring Brenda Blethyn – is such a solid and enjoyable watch on a Sunday evenings, and the ratings for series eight have certainly proved it: over six million people (6.1 yesterday) have watched it for the past four weeks, making it one of the most popular crime shows on British television. Its many fans will be delighted to hear that it’ll be back for more in 2019.
It’s been a long time coming, but Shetland – the series starring Douglas Henshall and based on the novels by multi-award-winning crime writer, Ann Cleeves – is almost upon us. We’ve known that series four had wrapped and was preparing for transmission, and now we know when it’ll air. Not from the BBC, as is tradition, but the two main creative forces behind the show.
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.
The next stop for me at yesterday’s excellent Killer Women Crime Writing Festival was the panel session comprising some big names from the world of crime fiction and crime drama, which was obviously a good fit for this site. Entitled ‘Serial Thrillers’ it was hosted by Colette McBeth and asked questions about what it takes to adapt something for TV.
We love a bit of Shetland here at The Killing Times, that extremely watchable adaptation of Ann Cleeves’s bestselling novels starring Douglas Henshall. And, judging by the way our readers voted for it in the Euro 2016 Of Crime Drama, so do many of you out there, too. We weren’t quite sure whether the series would be commissioned for a third series, only because series two didn’t do as well as its first and we all know how impatient TV people are. But Ann herself tweeted something out this afternoon that gladdened our heart.
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.