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As dishevelled detective Vera Stanhope might say, it'll take more than a global pandemic to stop me doing my job, and sure enough Brenda Blethyn's sullen sleuth is returning for an 11th series.
Focusing on the titular Detective Chief Inspector (Blethyn), the show is based on the series of books by Ann Cleeves (whose work has also inspired the forthcoming series The Long Call).
Find out everything you need to know about the new season…
How many episodes are there?
Vera series 11 comprises six feature-length episodes. Two will air later in 2021, while the remaining four are expected to broadcast in 2022.
What’s series 11 about?
Each episode of Vera tells a different story.
The new series opens with the beaten body of a well-respected builder being found. Vera questions why he’d be the victim of such a brutal attack – could it be linked to him being a key witness in another assault case?
In episode two, Vera is called to the scene of a murdered support worker found hidden among the woodlands of Northumberland National Park. The team must peel back the layers of the introverted victim to uncover her closely-guarded secrets.
Where is Vera filmed?
As usual, this series is filmed in the North East of England.
Blethyn revealed: “The opening of our first episode includes a lovely view of the Holy Island causeway. I love it when they are able to include that as part of the story.
“We also have a very impressive location - the Collingwood Monument at Tynemouth. A body is found on the steps of the memorial. A builder who appears to be an upstanding member of the community and who was due to be giving evidence in a trial that very morning. We also see him earlier on board the Shields Ferry. Sadly, Vera doesn’t get to go on the ferry but I have been on it myself as a passenger.”
Executive producer Phil Hunter also spoke about the Wallsend location of the studios where Vera is filmed.
“Vera is based in one of the buildings near the old Swan Hunter shipyard in Wallsend on the banks of the Tyne. In terms of the standing sets, we have the police station interior there, the mortuary and the interior of Vera’s cottage.
"The police station is the whole width of the building. We take the props out, but it’s standing all the time. The mortuary is up on the first floor. CID is on the ground floor. And then the interior of Vera’s cottage has moved about a bit. We put it up and then take it back down again. It’s whichever space we can fit it into.
“The history and importance of that site is incredible, famous not only for the 19th and 20th century shipbuilding industry that thrived there, it also sits near the site of the Segedunum Roman fort that lay at the end of Hadrian’s Wall.
“One coincidence for me is that some 30 years ago my mum started a job with North Tyneside Council in the building our sets occupy. She was based on the floor where our mortuary set is. My mother-in-law’s partner trained as a draughtsman in that building as well. So, I have a couple of links to it.
“We don’t show it on screen because it’s not part of the set but as you go in through the door of that building it’s got a beautiful curved elevation at each end. And when you step inside it has wonderful aluminum bannisters designed by the draughtsman on each side with a fish curled up at the bottom.
"It’s obvious that even down to the building they worked in they took pride in its design. It’s lovely to be surrounded by that history. We rent that space and retain it series to series because we need to leave things in place. I love the fact the building has found a new use providing work today, albeit in a different way.”
Vera cast and characters
DCI Vera Stanhope – Played by Brenda Blethyn
Vera heads up the team at Northumberland and City Police, and is dogged in her desire to uncover the truth at the heart of each case she leads.
She demands fierce loyalty and respect from her team, but also cares for both them and the victims of the crimes she investigates.
Where have you seen Brenda before?
Secrets & Lies, Little Voice, Pride & Prejudice
DS Aiden Healy – Played by Kenny Doughty
Aiden is seen as strong as reliable by Vera, and he feels protective of his boss – he knows that her commitment to the job can sometimes be at the cost of her own wellbeing.
He has settled into family life and has a renewed focus on the demands of the job.
Where have you seen Kenny before?
Stella, Funland, Servants
DC Kenny Lockhart – Played by Jon Morrison
Kenny is a loyal and trusted member of the team. He works at his own pace, but he has a wealth of experience and Vera knows she can trust him.
He has a keen memory for old cases and is sometimes surprisingly savvy with technology.
Where have you seen Jon before?
High Times, Dream Team, Servants
DC Jacqueline ‘Jac’ Williams – Played by Ibinabo Jack
With her dry wit and no-nonsense attitude, Jac uses her sharpness to bring a new perspective to the case at hand.
She is tough, courageous and determined and admires Vera’s commitment to the truth.
Where have you seen Ibinabo before?
Big Fat Like, Doctors
DC Mark Edwards – Played by Riley Jones
Mark joined Vera’s team from uniform, and has become a skilled and reliable detective. He’s one of the younger members of the squad prefers to channel his energy into meticulous analysis and research.
Where have you seen Riley before?
Dr Malcolm Donahue – Played by Paul Kaye
Dr Donahue is a thorough and observant pathologist. He can come across as dour but his grim scientific approach comes from a deep commitment to justice.
He worked with Vera several years ago and their relationship has always been challenging – Malcolm is pedantic, can come across as rude and often treads on Vera’s toes.
Where have you seen Paul before?
How to watch Vera
Vera returns to ITV with two new feature-length episodes, starting on Sunday August 29 at 8pm. After broadcast, they will then be available on BritBox and the ITV Hub.
Vera series 1-10 are available on BritBox.