Brenda Blethyn and David Leon returning for 13th series of Vera

Brenda Blethyn and David Leon are returning for a 13th series of crime drama Vera.

The long-running ITV detective show sees Oscar-nominated Blethyn play Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, who solves murder mysteries in the north-east of England.

Kenny Doughty, who played Detective Sergeant Aidan Healey, announced this month he was leaving the show after eight years, with his final appearances later this year.

ITV has also confirmed Ibinabo Jack, who has played DC Jacqueline ‘Jac’ Williams since 2018, will not be returning for the 13th series due to her theatre work.

Blethyn, who won the Rose d’Or Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021 for Vera, said: “It’s been such a pleasure to work alongside Kenny and Ibinabo.

“They’ve both been terrific members of the Vera team, and I’ll miss them.

“I’m absolutely over the moon to welcome David back to the show and can’t wait to get started.”

RocknRolla UK Film Premiere – London
Actor and director David Leon will make a return as Joe Ashworth for three of the feature length programmes (PA)

The drama is based on the Vera Stanhope novels written by Ann Cleeves, with Kenny and Ibinabo’s final appearances part of a storyline taken from The Rising Tide.

That series is expected on screens later this year while season 13 begins filming in summer.

Actor and director Leon, known for RocknRolla and Gold Digger, will make a return as Joe Ashworth for three of the feature-length programmes still to be filmed.

Jon Morrison and Riley Jones, who play DC Kenny Lockhart and DC Mark Edwards, respectively, will also be in the cast.