Vera: Brenda Blethyn calls time on ITV series after 13 years

There will soon be one less trench coat trawling crime scenes in the North East, as Brenda Blethyn is quitting Vera after 13 years on the show.

The renowned actor has portrayed Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope in every episode of the ITV crime series, which debuted in 2011.

On Monday (22 April), it was announced that Blethyn, 78, would be stepping away from the programme, bringing it to a close with its 14th season later this year.

“Working on Vera has been a joy from beginning to end and I’m sad to be saying cheerio. But I am so proud of our achievements over the last 14 years,” Blethyn’s statement reads.

“I’ll be forever grateful to the wonderful Ann Cleeves who created Vera, and to Elaine Collins who saw fit to cast me in the role. The producers, dream cast and crew have been fabulous and I’m going to miss them, but I won’t forget their huge talent, the camaraderie, laughter or kindness we shared nor the friendship of the people of the North East and our fans worldwide.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Blethyn concluded.

The series is filmed across the North East of England in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Northumberland. Specific locations include Gateshead, North Shields, Whitley Bay, Amble, Warkworth, Alnmouth, Bamburgh, and Holy Island.

Brenda Blethyn as Vera (ITV)
Brenda Blethyn as Vera (ITV)

As a result, Vera has had a positive impact on North East Tourism, which was celebrated by a win at the 2019 RTS North East and Border Awards.

Vera tracks Blethyn as a detective chief inspector of the fictional Northumberland & City Police, who is nearing retirement but continues to solve cases with her team, often detecting small errors in her colleagues’ thought processes.

The lead character, as well as some specific episodes in series one and two, are based on Ann Cleeves’s Vera Stanhope crime novels.

Brenda Blethyn in Vera (ITV)
Brenda Blethyn in Vera (ITV)

Season 13 aired in January, and welcomed the new character of DC Steph Duncan, played by the former Hollyoaks actor Rhiannon Clements.

UK viewership peaked in 2018 with season eight, which raked in an average of 9.03 million viewers.

Blethyn has also starred in the ITV sitcom Kate and Koji, as the owner of an old-fashioned seaside cafe who forms an unlikely connection with an asylum-seeking doctor played by Jimmy Akingbola, and then Okorie Chukwu in season two.