Series 1 - 1. Hidden Depths

Hidden Depths
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Radio Times
Review by:
Jane Rackham

DCI Vera Stanhope is not your normal TV tec. Yes, she has a shambolic Columbo-like scruffiness and, like many of her ilk, is a complex loner who’s partial to a drink and obsessive about work. She even has a Morse-like relationship with her long-suffering sidekick Joe Ashworth and unresolved issues with her recently deceased father. But she feels very real and Brenda Blethyn is superb, making the dowdy Vera likeable despite her occasionally cruel tongue.
Adapted from Ann Cleeves’s novel, this first case is a pair of horribly stylised murders. Returning home from a night out in Newcastle, Julie (Gina McKee) finds her son strangled in a bath of water strewn with wild flowers. Days later an equally artfully arranged body is found in a rock pool. So far it’s all a bit Pre-Raphaelite. But the investigation is far from romantic and leads the unfit Vera to lumber across beaches and fields, becoming almost hysterical in her need to find the killer. But she’s a fine addition to the roster of TV sleuths.

About this programme

1/4. The detectives investigate two murders in which the victims have been placed in water and surrounded by flowers. Vera and sidekick Joe believe the culprit may be linked to a group of bird-watching friends, but despite their increasingly tangled and dysfunctional relationships, the twitchers seem determined to protect one another. Drama adapted from Ann Cleeves' novel Hidden Depths, starring Brenda Blethyn, David Leon, Gina McKee, Wunmi Mosaku, Paul Ritter and Neil Armstrong.

Cast and crew


DCI Vera Stanhope
Brenda Blethyn
DS Joe Ashworth
David Leon
DC Holly
Wunmi Mosaku
Billy Cartwright
Paul Ritter
Gary Wright
Neil Armstrong
Felicity Calvert
Juliet Aubrey
Davy Sharp
Craig Conway
Ben Craven
Philip Correia
Luke Armstrong
Sam Fender
Peter Calvert
Murray Head
Clive Stringer
Paul Higgins
Jim Kitson
Julie Armstrong
Gina McKee
Lily Marsh
Samantha Neale
Laura Armstrong
Gabrielle Ross
James Calvert
Louis Shergold
Rosie Stancliffe
Samuel Parr
Patrick Toomey
Peter Michael McGowan
Officer 1
Andrew Thompson


Adrian Shergold
Tania Reddin
Executive Producer
Kate Bartlett
Executive Producer
Kate Lewis
Elwen Rowlands
Paul Rutman