Vera Season 11 has now started on ITV in the UK and is on BritBox in the US. Since investigating her first case in 2011, DCI Vera Stanhope has been a massive hit with viewers around the world.
With her no-nonsense approach and scruffy appearance, we’ve followed Vera as she solves murder after murder in the northeast of England for years. But what is it about the prickly cop played by Brenda Blethyn and based on the best-selling books by Anne Cleeves (opens in new tab), that keeps us glued to our TVs?
Vera Season 11 release date
Vera Season 11 began on Sunday 29 August 2021 on ITV in the UK, concluding on Sunday 5 September, and those two episodes (1 and. 2) of Vera Season 11 launched on BritBox in the US from 1 September.
Vera Season 11 continues on ITV in 2022, with two further episodes (3 and 4), to be shown on Sunday 9 January at 8pm, concluding on Sunday 16 January at 8pm. See below for full episode details.
The final two episodes (5 and 6) of Vera Season 11 will be shown later in 2022 on ITV and ITV Hub.
Britbox is the No. 1 way to watch all your favorite British shows from the BBC and ITV. And you can watch it easily via Amazon Prime Video Channels. Subscription and billing is handled through your Amazon account, so you can watch as much as you want for a single price.
How many series of Vera are there?
There have been 10 full series of Vera so far while this new series currently running is the 11th and features six episodes. The remaining episodes of Vera Season 11 will be shown in January 2022 (see above).
Where is Vera filmed?
Vera is filmed right across the county of Northumberland in England, from it’s stunning open dune-lined beaches, dramatic castles such as Bamburgh and Alnwick, forests such as Kielder, to small towns and villages of the north east including Whitley Bay and Amble, and the swish bars and restaurants of Newcastle city centre, every episode of Vera makes us want to visit the area! In particular the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, which is where Vera’s home is.
"The exterior of Vera’s home is on Holy Island, while the interior is a set at our Wallsend studio base," says Brenda. "The studio interior is an exact replica of what it’s really like on Lindisfarne. Sometimes when I’m on set I forget I’m not actually in Vera’s house!"
'Vera' Season 11 in 2021 — episodes 1 and 2
The first of the two episodes sees Vera investigating the murder of builder Jim Tullman (Gavin Kitchen), who’s found beaten to death. When it emerges Jim was due to testify in court Vera wonders if this is the motive for his murder, but she then discovers a web of family grievances, jealousies and lies. Lorraine Ashbourne guest stars as Barbara Tullman.
In the second episode of Vera, support worker, Angela, is found murdered among the bleak woodlands of Northumberland National Park. But was the killing an opportunistic attack or carefully planned? Angela worked for a women’s addiction recovery centre but kept colleagues at arms’ length, and before she died clashed with clients…does the centre hold the key to the case? Guest stars for this episode are former Emmerdale star Sian Reese-Williams and Shakespeare & Hathaway’s Mark Benton and former Brookside star Louis Emerick.
“I was glad to be starting work again for lots of reasons. But at the same time I was nervous of it, admits Brenda Blethyn. "We were in the middle of a global pandemic and nobody was safe really. But when it was explained to me about all the precautions to be set in place and my word they were very very thorough, I became a little less nervous. I was quizzed on the phone by a Covid detective, and medicals were carried out to make sure I wasn’t too vulnerable. Medicals are necessary anyway for any filming for insurance purposes. They really just want to know you’re going to make it to the end of the shoot!
“Covid did make it more difficult to film. It lengthened the filming time of each episode by about a week. To start with the Covid protocol made it a little bit inhibiting but we soon got used to it. It became a sort of dance. If somebody approached you, you naturally stepped backwards. And if anyone did forget, the Covid marshals were over to you with a long stick. Not to hit you with but to make sure you were the appropriate distance apart.
“On the first day back filming, I think everyone felt a huge sense of pride. That we had all come together, we were all putting our best foot forward to try and get this done. We all knew it would be difficult with all the restrictions."
'Vera' Season 11 episode 3 'Tyger Tyger'
There’s murder, mystery and brutality when Vera Season 11 returns for two new episodes in 2022. Here's everything you need to know about the first, Tyger Tyger on Sunday 9 January (ITV, 9pm)...
DCI Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn) and her colleague DS Aiden Healy (Kenny Doughty) are called to a port where a heist has gone wrong. When a container lorry tears off at break-neck speed and two workers are injured, one critically, the big question is, was it an inside job?
The fatal hit and run happens at a container port in Blyth, outside Newcastle, and eagle-eyed Vera quickly suspects it could be a heist that’s gone wrong.
"Vera and Aiden go down to investigate," says Brenda Blethyn. "The lorry has knocked one chap down and scarpered. A security foreman called Gary Mallon, has ended up in intensive care.|As Vera and DS Healy start questioning workers at the port, they think the heist could be an inside job. The case soon takes an unexpected turn, however, when Gary’s ex-wife has distressing news.
"Her and Gary’s son has been kidnapped," continues Brenda. "Suddenly things get a lot more complicated and it later becomes a murder case."
Young actor Jake Lawson plays 13-year-old kidnap victim Joe Mallon who’s taken to a remote house. Other guest stars include former Coronation Street and Emmerdale star Bill Ward, who plays Joe’s stepdad Peter, Joe McGann (Hollyoaks) who plays businessman, Julian Carr, and Charlie Hardwick, best known for her long-running role as Emmerdale’s Val Pollard, is fearsome matriarch Grace Webley who heads up a family of organized criminals. As the investigation deepens, there are serious repercussions for Vera when she clashes with a National Crime Agency officer who’s conducting a covert surveillance operation at the port.
"Vera’s not your normal run-of-the-mill detective," says Brenda, ‘Sometimes people say to me, “You don’t see coppers like that at a police station”. And I say to them, "Well how many times have you been in a police station?"'
'Vera' Season 11 episode 4 'As The Crow Flies'
Episode four of Vera Season 11 is As The Crow Flies.
Shockwaves rip through a community after the body of a teacher is found on the beach. The victim, Lizzie Swann, was the well-respected deputy head of a local primary school and it’s not long before DCI Vera Stanhope and DI Aiden Healy have a particularly complex case on their hands.
"The body is discovered at the bottom of very steep steps that lead down to the beach,’ explains Kenny Doughty who plays Aiden. "At first it looks like she may have slipped, but from the evidence Vera and Aiden find it soon becomes a murder investigation."
The pair has to break the terrible news to Lizzie’s husband Phil (Line of Duty star Craig Parkinson), a former soldier turned farmer, their two daughters and Phil’s straight-talking mother Moira Swann, who lives with them. Moira is played by Ann Mitchell who was Cora in EastEnders.
The detectives soon learn that the Swanns have already suffered a string of troubles and losses. Phil was pensioned out of the army following an injury, his brother died in a car accident while the family farm is falling into ruin. And it transpires that Lizzie’s bereaved and envious sister-in-law Rose (played by another former EastEnders star Simone Lahbib) was embroiled in a bitter feud with Lizzie who had also clashed with her youngest daughter’s boyfriend and had had a public confrontation with a close friend of her husband’s.
The dead teacher had also been keeping a secret from her family - she had recently been suspended from work for recklessly accusing a father of physically abusing his son, so there is no shortage of murder suspects for Vera and Aiden to sift through.
"This episode is full of misunderstandings of the truth," says Kenny. "What I love is you really get into the nitty-gritty of these characters' stories. The further you go, the more dark secrets you unravel."
All about Vera actress Brenda Blethyn...
Brenda Blethyn has played Vera since 2011. Born in Ramsgate in England in 1946, Brenda was the youngest of nine children. She worked as a secretary before landing a place at the Guildford School of Acting in her late 20s. Brenda then joined the Royal National Theatre and received praise for her performances.
In 1980 she made her TV debut in Mike Leigh’s Grown-Ups, then starred in the sitcom Chance in a Million. A film career followed with a part in Nicolas Roeg’s The Witches in 1990, and then for her role as Cynthia in Mike Leigh’s 1996 film Secrets and Lies she won Best Actress at Cannes, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and received an Academy Award nomination. She earned a second Academy Award nomination two years later for Little Voice. Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, Brenda appeared in numerous TV shows and films, including Between the Sheets, Pride & Prejudice, War and Peace, and Anne Frank before landing the role of Vera in 2011. She has also appeared in the 2020 sitcom Kate and Koji, playing Kate, the owner of a seaside cafe. Brenda splits her time between London and Ramsgate and is married to British art director Michael Mayhew.
Brenda Blethyn on playing Vera
Brenda says: “Vera is different because she’s just doing her job and solving a crime, you’re not hampered with her home life or romance or her parade of fashionable costumes. I think you have a lot of middle-aged women sitting at home who are really pleased there’s this woman in authority who doesn’t look like someone off the catwalk so they don’t feel intimidated by her. She’s clever and she doesn’t ask for sympathy. She doesn’t ask the audience to like her, either, she just behaves as she behaves. Sometimes you think she’s horrible, then a minute later you might like her.”
Who plays Vera’s sidekick DS Aiden Healy?
Kenny Doughty plays DS Aiden Healy in Vera. Aiden replaced DS Joe Ashworth (David Leon), who was transferred to another area.
On arrival, Aiden often put his foot in it with Vera, but she warmed to him and now they have a working relationship built on mutual respect. Vera knows he’s committed and diligent and gives it his all to juggle his job with the demands of a young family, and Aiden feels protective of his boss, knowing her obsessive nature and complete absorption in a case can be at the cost of her own wellbeing at times.
Kenny Doughty on starring in Vera
Kenny says: “Aiden and Vera understand each other. Aiden can be thoughtful but he’s also protective. I love it when they’re grumpy with each other and they argue. They love each other in their own way, it’s really lovely that they’ve kind of got a mutual understanding of each other’s uniqueness. It seems to work really well. And Brenda and I have so many laughs together!”
What else has Vera star Kenny Doughty starred in?
Kenny was born in Barnsley, England in 1974 and studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he landed various roles in TV shows including Dinnerladies, Heartbeat, Wire In the Blood before starring as William Forrest in the TV mini-series Servants (2003) and as Liam Woolf in Funland (2005). He starred as playwright Joe Orton in Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!, has appeared in Casualty and New Tricks as well as Coronation Street. Between 2012-13 Kenny played Sean in Stella opposite Gavin & Stacey’s Ruth Jones and worked with Sheridan Smith in Black Work.
He landed the role of DS Aiden Healy in Vera in 2015 when his predecessor David Leon left to concentrate on directing. While working on Vera Kenny also appeared as Rick in Kay Mellor’s Love, Lies and Records. He’s married to the actor Caroline Carver.
Who are Vera’s other work colleagues?
Vera relies on her team, but is a hard taskmaster, and there are often confrontations. But her colleagues respect her and Vera appreciates it when they do a good job.
Jon Morrison as DC Kenny Lockhart
Long-suffering Kenny often feels the sharp end of Vera’s tongue. But he’s been a stalwart of the team for years and Vera relies on him. Vera values his years of experience and instinct. Kenny often speaks his mind which can sometimes land him in hot water with his boss!
What else has Jon Morrison been in?
Jon was born in Glasgow and has an acting career spanning almost 50 years. He’s appeared in Crown Court, Van Der Valk, Bergerac, A Touch of Frost, The Bill and Monarch of the Glen.
Like Kenny Doughty, he appeared in the TV mini-series Servants as Andrew Adams. He went on to land regular roles in Dream Team and High Times before landing the role of DC Kenny Lockhart in Vera in 2011.
Ibinabo Jack as DC Jacqueline ‘Jac’ Williams
Jac is a valued member of Vera’s team, with a dry wit and no-nonsense attitude, she excels at gathering background information and evidence, which Vera relies on. She’s tough and determined and doesn’t let Vera’s high expectations faze her.
What else has Ibinabo Jack appeared in?
Ibinabo appeared in C4 soap Hollyoaks and BBC lunchtime drama Doctors before joining the Vera cast as DC Jacqueline ‘Jac’ Williams. She’s also starred in the comedy Big Fat Like.
Riley Jones as DC Mark Edwards
After joining Vera’s detective team from being a uniformed officer, Mark is a little less confident than his colleagues. But he channels his introspective energy into detailed analysis and research, and has a brilliant eye for detail.
What else has Riley Jones been in?
Born in Gateshead, Riley had a few roles in various TV shows, including United, Wolfblood and EastEnders before joining the cast of Vera.
Paul Kaye as pathologist Malcolm Donahue
Always on hand to deal with the grisly task of gathering evidence at the murder scene and later investigating the cause of death, Vera uses his information to piece together the puzzle, but the two often clash.
What else has Paul Kaye starred in?
Londoner Paul has had a varied career as an artist, comedian and actor. He was a scene painter at the Old Vic Theatre, and designed posters and artwork for other theatres and magazines.
In 1994 he created comic character Dennis Pennis, a celebrity interviewer, who would ask celebrities embarrassing or awkward questions. Paul made a move into dramatic roles in 2000 with Two Thousand Acres of Sky, and appeared in Waking the Dead, Hustle, EastEnders, Game of Thrones, Kingdom, Hotel Babylon, Doctor Who and Good Omens before joining Vera.
What is Vera famous for?
Vera is famous for her fishing hat. Vera wouldn’t be Vera without her famous green hat, and she’s never without it when she’s out and about investigating. Matched with a similar green raincoat, and comfortable boots, Vera’s fashion style oozes "down to earth".
"Vera dresses for comfort. She doesn’t care if it looks terrible, she’s concentrating on solving crimes," says Brenda. "I’ll let you into a secret. I bought the boots she wears for £12 in Birmingham 20 years ago. They’re children’s — I’ve got small feet — but I knew they’d come in handy one day. Perfect for Vera."
Vera never takes any nonsense!
It’s not just murder suspects that Vera is tough with, she also comes down hard on her loyal team. But her reluctance to mollycoddle them and push them hard gets results and they respect her for it, even if poor colleagues Kenny (Jon Morrison) and Aiden (Kenny Doughty) bear the brunt!
"I love the way she doesn’t beat about the bush," says Brenda. "You don’t have to second-guess her and she’s fair. I like that about her."
Vera’s battered, beloved Land Rover
Never one for convention, Vera has shunned modern vehicles for her old, reliable Land Rover Defender. Living out in the countryside, miles from anywhere, she needs a motor that can battle mud and driving rain and wind in the bleakest terrain.
"If ever there’s a final series, we’d have to jack in the Land Rover for a mobility scooter!" laughs Brenda.
Vera’s always eating junk food!
Busy solving murders and working long, unsociable hours, Vera is usually forced to eat on the go, and she’s rather partial to a classically British bag of chips. Vera can regularly be seen munching in her beloved, battered Land Rover, or sitting by the sea, shoveling in snacks as she ponders a case.
‘Sometimes you’re out in the middle of a field and you want something stodgy and comforting to warm you up to stave off the hunger,’ says Brenda. ‘When you’re freezing cold and in the middle of nowhere, sometimes you just want a plate of chips!'
Vera likes a drink or two of whisky
Often sipped from a coffee mug, the hardworking detective often likes a wee nip at the end of a long day. Vera is often seen pawing over case notes at home or in the office with a whisky in hand, and one could argue it often helps her crack the case!
"She does like her drink," says Brenda. "Beer or scotch!"
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