“WHEN we shot the first scene in the Land Rover I was horrified to notice that all the rubbish that Vera has accumulated had been removed and the whole vehicle sanitised. Valeted.
‘I want all Vera’s rubbish back please!’ I cried. So they sanitised all the rubbish and put it back in. Haaa! All the empty crisp bags and apple cores. They all came back.”
Brenda Blethyn talking to me about her return to filming as DCI Vera Stanhope for the 11th series of Vera which begins on ITV at 8pm this Sunday.
The first of two new films: ‘Witness’ written by Paul Logue. The second – ‘Recovery’ written by Colette Kane – will be screened on the following Sunday. Both were filmed post lockdown in the autumn and winter of 2020, with Vera digging out her winter coat.
The episodes also being made available after ITV transmission on the ITV Hub and BritBox UK.
With the remaining four episodes in series 11 – filmed over this summer and still in production – to be broadcast in 2022.
Locations in the first new film include a dazzling view of the Holy Island causeway after the first of two return visits to the exterior of Vera’s cottage – watch out for some expert DCI Stanhope toast throwing near the start of the episode and her later return home with the shopping.
The Collingwood Monument in Tynemouth plays a prominent role as does the Shields Ferry. With Newcastle’s Civic Centre doubling for law courts. Other locations include Chester-le-Street and South Shields.
The second film features, among other places, Thrunton Wood, Walltown Visitor Centre and Country Park near Greenhead, Alnmouth, both sides of the Gateshead / Newcastle Quayside and ARLO cafe and bistro in Jesmond, re-named Kassin.
More on the locations and studio sets in the new series press pack.
It also includes my in depth interview with Phil Hunter who has been an executive producer on Vera now for five consecutive series. Originally from the North East, he provides a fascinating glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes.
Inspired by the books written by best-selling author Ann Cleeves, Vera returns to TV with some familiar faces. Not least the ever excellent Kenny Doughty as Det Sgt Aiden Healy.
Click / tap on the link below (you don’t need to use the ‘Download’ button) to read my interviews for ITV with Brenda Blethyn and Phil Hunter: