Shockwaves ripped through last week's opening episode of Vera on ITV, when DC Bethany Whelan (Cush Jumbo) was shot dead by a suspect.
Kenny Doughty – aka DS Aiden Healy – reveals how all the team are coming to terms with their loss…
How are DCI Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn), Aiden and all of the team coping with Bethany's death?
“Bethany's death has hit all the team really hard and they're all having to reflect on it in their own ways. The way Vera is, she doesn’t really let anyone into how she's feeling emotionally, so they're all trying to keep an eye out for her as well."
How does Aiden in particular look out for Vera?
"Aiden has to second-guess how Vera’s coping – he’s very protective of her in his own way. In the aftermath of Bethany’s death, there are quite a few moments where Aiden can be seen quietly listening in from the sidelines, just to check she's all right."
In Sunday's second episode, how do the team juggle an internal inquest into Bethany’s death with a new murder investigation?
"Obviously with Bethany gone and others giving evidence at the inquest, there's the practical issue that they're short-staffed. But, when a new case comes in, Vera's like: 'We just have to carry on and get on with things as best we can'."
This weekend's murder victim has connections to a local fairground. What does Aiden make of the people who work there?
"It's a fascinating world – they call themselves 'show people' not travellers. It's hard to get a grasp on that world from Aiden’s point of view. Everybody there is very close and it's obvious there are lots and lots of secrets. They seem to look after each other and not share anything at all with people of authority. It's up to the police to delve in and figure it all out."
Aiden gets caught unawares, at one point, when one of the fairground workers, Harris Kirke (Waterloo Road’s Ben Ryan-Davies), rugby-tackles him to the ground. Do you like filming those stunt scenes?
“I'm always full of bravado when we start filming these stunt scenes, but that soon disappears when my ribs start hurting. But I like getting Aiden a bit physical, it's fun!"
Later in the episode, Vera literally has Aiden digging for clues. What was it like filming those scenes?
"That's right! Vera's basically sat there in a deckchair drinking tea while Aiden's doing all the work. Brenda and I had a real laugh doing that – though I think the only time she got out of the chair was when she wanted another cup of tea!"
Did you enjoy reuniting with Brenda?
"Yeah, she's brilliant and has become a really good mate! Vera is such a long job – it's five months – but one of the reasons why it's so nice to go back is because of Brenda. We have the same daft sense of humour. When it's three o'clock in the morning on set and we're making each other laugh doing silly voices, it makes the whole job worth it."
Finally, given that Bethany was killed off – do you worry that Aiden might suffer the same fate?
"Erm, I hope not. I don't think they'd do that, imminently, but they might get fed up of a Yorkshire lad up in the Northeast and decide to have him murdered. That would be interesting wouldn't it?"
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