Brenda Blethyn quits ITV’s Vera

Brenda Blethyn as DCI Vera Stanhope
Brenda Blethyn as DCI Vera Stanhope - Stuart Wood/ITV

Brenda Blethyn has quit her role in ITV’s Vera, bringing the detective drama to an end after 14 series.

The actress, who turned 78 in February 2024, will hang up DCI Vera Stanhope’s trench coat and hat this summer when filming comes to an end.

She began playing Vera in 2011, in a series of detective mysteries based on the novels by Ann Cleeves. The series is based in Northumberland and has been credited for boosting tourism there.

Blethyn said: “Working on Vera has been a joy from beginning to end and I’m sad to be saying cheerio. But I am so proud of our achievements over the last 14 years.

“I’ll be forever grateful to the wonderful Ann Cleeves who created Vera, and to Elaine Collins who saw fit to cast me in the role. The producers, dream cast and crew have been fabulous and I’m going to miss them, but I won’t forget their huge talent, the camaraderie, laughter or kindness we shared, nor the friendship of the people of the North East and our fans worldwide.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

‘A truly iconic character’

Kate Bartlett, the show’s executive producer, paid tribute to “the absolutely extraordinary talent of the inimitable Brenda Blethyn”, calling Vera “a truly iconic character of our times”.

“It is the end of an era and has been an extraordinary journey over 14 amazing series of Vera,” Ms Bartlett said. “We will all be very sad to say goodbye to Brenda and everyone involved in making the show.”

Blethyn with co-star Kenny Doughty, who quit the series in 2023 - Helen Williams/Television Stills

In a 2021 interview with The Telegraph, Blethyn said she had been thinking of “putting my feet up for five minutes” when she was sent the Vera scripts.

“I couldn’t wait to play her,” she said.

However, she has also said that filming so far from the home she shares with her husband in Ramsgate, Kent, takes its toll.

“When we finish filming I always say, ‘I really don’t think I can do this any more’,” she told The Mirror. “Filming usually means six months away from home and in 2022 it was the best part of 10 months.”

Blethyn also said she was sad to continue the series without her co-star, Kenny Doughty, who quit his role as DS Aiden Healy at the end of 2023. She was “overjoyed” when producers then brought back an old character, Joe Ashworth, played by David Leon.

“I wouldn’t have continued if David had not agreed to come back. I just didn’t want to start another board game with somebody else when I know I’m not going to do many more,” she said in 2023.