Brenda Blethyn has once again donned her hat and mac to play the eponymous DCI Vera Stanhope in ITV’s long-running crime drama Vera.
The four new feature-length episodes which make up series nine star some of our old favourites as Vera is joined by her talented team. The drama will also welcome a strong ensemble cast with some very familiar faces.
- When is Vera back on TV? Who is in the cast? What’s going to happen?
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Here are all the characters you need to know, and where you’ve seen them before…
Brenda Blethyn plays DCI Vera Stanhope
Who is DCI Vera Stanhope? Heading up a team at Northumberland and City Police, the indefatigable Vera is dogged in her desire to uncover the truth at the heart of every case she faces. Unconventional and unglamorous (and always wearing that distinctive hat), Vera earns fierce loyalty and respect from her team. She has a wry sense of humour and is an extremely talented detective who truly cares about the victims of the crimes she investigates.
What else has Brenda Blethyn been in? The actress (now 72) has a Golden Globe, a Bafta and two Oscar nominations to her name. Across her long career, she has starred in TV shows and movies including Secrets & Lies, Little Voice, Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, and War and Peace.
Kenny Doughty plays DS Aiden Healy
Who is DS Aiden Healy? In his time with DCI Stanhope, Detective Sergeant Healy has proven himself a capable and reliable partner. She respects him for his insight, commitment and diligence, and he is always on hand to protect his boss and make sure she doesn’t compromise her own wellbeing. Aiden is a family man with a young son, but remains dedicated to the job.
What else has Kenny Doughty been in? Kenny joined Vera in 2015. You may also have seen him in the 2017 TV series Love, Lies and Records, or in an episode of Black Work playing Ryan Gillespie. Before taking on the role of DS Aiden Healy, he was Jake Harman in Coronation Street and Sean in Stella.
Jon Morrison plays DC Kenny Lockhart
Who is DC Kenny Lockhart? This member of Vera’s team has years of experience under his belt. He may work at his own pace, but he is a loyal and trusted detective and Vera knows she can rely on him when it counts.
What else has Jon Morrison been in? The actor has starred in Vera since 2011. Before he joined the ITV crime drama, he appeared in High Times, Dream Team, Monarch of the Glen, and Who Dares Wins.
Ibinabo Jack plays DC Jacqueline ‘Jac’ Williams
Who is DC Jacqueline ‘Jac’ Williams? Jac is admired for her sharp intelligence, no-nonsense attitude and dry wit. She is often able to uncover new and vital evidence.
What else has Ibinabo Jack been in? Ibinabo Jack is a relative newcomer to both Vera and TV. She joined the show in 2018, and her only previous screen credit is the film Two for Joy.
Paul Kaye plays Dr Malcolm Donahue
Who is Dr Malcolm Donahue? Vera is not exactly excited when she meets the new pathologist, because the two of them worked together years ago and it wasn’t a raving success. Dr Donahue is pedantic and dismissive, and treads heavily on Vera’s toes. Will the two be able to establish a working relationship?
What else has Paul Kaye been in? Game of Thrones fans will recognise him as the character Thoros of Myr. He is also known for playing shock jock Dennis Pennis on The Sunday Show. Recent TV appearances include Jim Duggan in Dark Heart, Howell in Zapped, Lawrence in Wanderlust, and Jim Winshaw in Three Girls.
Riley Jones plays DC Mark Edwards
Who is DC Mark Edwards? He may be the youngest member of Vera’s team, but Mark has proven himself with a key drive for detail and desire to find out the truth.
What else has Riley Jones been in? His other credits include the short film Run and the TV series Wolfblood.
Episode 4 guest stars
Daniel Ryan plays Alec Sidden
Who is Alec Sidden? Boss of Sidden Holdings, and son of the famous Leonard Sidden – a renowned businessman (and crook) who was untouchable in his heyday and has always managed to cover his tracks. Now Leonard is retired, Alec has taken over the company and is determined to make it a legitimate business.
What else has Daniel Ryan been in? Recent roles have included Phil Collins in the Lee Ingleby drama Innocent, Dan in Mount Pleasant, and Bryn Brindsley in Home Fires. He has also appeared in Doctor Who, playing Biff Kane in the 2008 episode Midnight.
Michael McKell plays Michael Claythorpe
Who is Michael Claythorpe? Leonard Sidden’s finance guy, and a member of his inner circle back in the nineties. He also happened to know Vera’s dad, Hector Stanhope.
What else has Michael McKell been in? He is perhaps best known as DC Nick Henshall from Emmerdale, but left in 2011 when his character died by suicide. Other roles include Dr Nick West in Doctors, Basil in Hatton Garden the Heist, and Joseph Mengele Senior in The Angel of Auschwitz.
Leon Stewart plays Scott Keane
Who is Scott Keane? Scott works for Alec Siddon, and is on the building site when the human remains are discovered. He is recently separated from his wife Patty Keane and their two children.
What else has Leon Stewart been in? The actor has made appearances in Endeavour, Victoria, and The Bill.
Kathleen Cranham plays Patty Keane
Who is Patty Keane? Scott Keane’s estranged wife. She was adopted as a child.
What else has Kathleen Cranham been in? The actress is a newcomer to our screens. Brenda Blethyn especially praised her performance, saying: “One of the highlights for me was working with Kathleen Cranham on the fourth episode, The Seagull. It was her first TV role and the performance she gave was great.”
Mark Wingett plays John Brace
Who is John Brace? An ex-detective currently in jail for perverting the course of justice. This corrupt cop was involved in some shady business with Leonard Sidden. He also worked with Vera’s late father Hector Stanhope.
What else has Mark Wingett been in? This is far from the first time Mark Wingett has played a police officer: he starred as DS Jim Carver in The Bill for more than 780 episodes. Since then he has appeared in the TV series Missing as Danny Hayworth, the movie Snow White and the Huntsman as Thomas, and Mr Turner as Mariner. He is also a stage actor and director.
Michael Feast plays Leonard Sidden
Who is Leonard Sidden? Vera is NOT a big fan of Leonard Sidden. Everyone knows he was a gangster in his heyday, but he handed out bribes and somehow was never brought to justice. Now he is retired and lives locally with his wife Elaine, while their son Alec tries to make his mark on the family business.
What else has Michael Feast been in? Pictured here in a production of Pygmalion at the Garrick Theatre in London, Michael Feast is an accomplished stage actor. He is also known for his TV roles including Aeron Greyjoy in Game of Thrones and Andrew Wilson in State of Play.
Claire Higgins plays Elaine Sidden
Who is Elaine Sidden? Leonard’s wife. She has spent a lifetime protecting him and is wary of Vera’s renewed interest in the Sidden family business.
What else has Claire Higgins been in? Her film credits include Hellraiser, Small Faces, Ready Player One, and The Golden Compass. On TV she currently stars in Sheridan Smith drama Cleaning Up and children’s show The Worst Witch, playing Miss Cackle, while previous roles have included Ohila in Doctor Who and Mrs Bartlett in Downton Abbey. She is also a three-time Olivier Award winner who can often be found on the West End or Broadway stage.
Josie Walker plays Mary-Frances Lascola
Who is Mary-Frances Lascola? We first encounter Mary-Frances as the young girl in the photograph taken at nightclub The Seagull.
What else has Josie Walker been in? She is an Olivier-nominated musicals star, with credits including Cats, The Beautiful Game, Evita, Matilda the Musical, and Everybody’s Talking about Jamie. On TV Josie Walker has appeared in Call the Midwife, Waterloo Road, and Holby City.
Additional guest stars for episode 4:
- Steve Evets plays PC George Wooten
- Delena Kidd plays Eleanor Marshburn
- Ian Reddington plays Glen Polson
- Angela Wynter plays Justine Brace
- Joanne Henry plays Alison Mackie
- Zita Sattar plays Laura Harper
Episode 3 guest stars
Robert James-Collier plays Richard
Who is Richard? A businessman who invests in the hospitality industry. He owns the boat which hosted the booze cruise where Dani died.
What else has Robert James-Collier been in? His most famous role is in Downton Abbey, playing Thomas Barrow – a role he is set to reprise in the upcoming Downton movie. Recently he starred in an episode of Death in Paradise, and he’s also been in The Level, A Christmas Star, and Coronation Street – as Liam Connor.
Shivani Ghai plays Lisa Varsey
Who is Lisa Varsey? Successful businesswoman Lisa Varsey is owner of an empire of beauty salons in Newcastle. She was hosting a lavish boat party on the River Tyne when her sister went overboard.
What else has Shivani Ghai been in? After starring as Ayesha Rana in EastEnders, the actress went on to play Arika in Dominion, Amal Mansoor in London Has Fallen, and Felicity in The Catch. Her other credits include House of Saddam, Identity (starring Keeley Hawes), and Five Days II.
Patrick Baladi plays Ross Varsey
Who is Ross Varsey? Lisa’s caring husband. He runs the training side of the family business.
What else has Patrick Baladi been in? He played Neil Godwin in The Office. You may also have spotted him in Marcella (as Stephen Holmes), Line of Duty (as lawyer James Lakewell), Stella (as Michael Jackson) and No Offence (as Lionel Dirkin).
Russ Bain plays Nial
Who is Nial? The boyfriend of victim Dani. The Varsey family are keen to blame him for her death, but Nial maintains his innocence.
What else has Russ Bain been in? The actor has appeared in a handful of minor roles in Bodyguard, Manhunt, Snatch and The Rack Pack. He voices characters in video games, including characters in State of Mind, Battlefield V, Spellforce 3 and Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Sonita Henry plays Sadie
Who is Sadie? Lisa (and Dani)’s sister.
What else has Sonita Henry been in? As pictured above, she starred as Raika in Krypton. Sonita Henry recently appeared as Daria Shubik in Luther, and has also taken on roles in Doctor Who (as Colonel Meme), Olympus, The Good Karma Hospital, and Star Trek.
Elizabeth Berrington plays Paula
Who is Paula? A member of the Varsey family.
What else has Elizabeth Berrington been in? Recent credits include Stella, Patrick Melrose, Little Boy Blue, and Vanity Fair – where she played the awful Lady Bareacres. She has also featured in Doctor Who, Being Eileen, Waterloo Road, Camping, Black Mirror and Doctors.
Additional guest stars for episode 3:
- Natasha Atherton plays victim Danielle, otherwise known as Dani
- Gordon Kennedy plays boat captain Eddie
- Laura Jane Matthewson plays Eddie’s daughter and crew member Kirsty
- Esther Hall plays coastguard Gayle
- Natalie Gumede (best known for Coronation Street and Strictly) plays hairdresser Megan Sibisi
Episode 2 guest stars
John Hollingworth plays PC Shawn Turnly
Who is PC Shawn Turnly? Local cop PC Turnly knows everybody in town. When a body is found and a murder investigation opened, he must work with Vera and her team to track down the killer – but will his connections to the local area be a help or a hindrance?
What else has John Hollingworth been in? The actor is perhaps best known for his role as Captain Henshawe in Poldark. His other credits include Dark Angel, Doc Martin, Da Vinci’s Demons, The Hour, Top Coppers, and Transformers: The Last Knight.
Chelsea Edge plays Kayleigh Mincham
Who is Kayleigh Mincham? Stroppy teenager Kayleigh works at the cafe in town, waiting tables. She is estranged from her dad Gary, who owns the struggling boatyard where the body of murder victim Caden is found.
What else has Chelsea Edge been in? She appeared as the real Alice Webster in The Missing, and starred in Wolf Alice’s music video for Don’t Delete the Kisses.
Dean Fagan plays Dave Miller
Who is Dave Miller? Down at the Ferrycross Estate, Dave tries to keep the local kids out of trouble at his community centre.
What else has Dean Fagan been in? The actor spent four years starring as Luke Britton in Coronation Street. His other credits include Homefront, Fresh Meat, and All at Sea.
Louis Healy plays Tyler Lennon
Who is Tyler Lennon? The younger brother of murder victim Caden Lennon. The two of them have been raised in care after the death of their mother, and Tyler is a vulnerable teenager full of rage and grief.
What else has Louis Healy been in? He appeared in the TV series Hetty Feather, as well as Scott & Bailey, Doctors, and Sometimes Always Never.
Additional cast for episode two:
- Ben Robinson plays murder victim Caden Lennon
- Sam Chapman plays bathroom attendant and drug addict Declan Price
- Deka Walmsley plays boatyard owner (and Kayleigh’s dad) Gary Mincham
- Pauline Turner plays Kayleigh’s mum Bridie Mincham
- Stephanie Street plays the Lennon brothers’ foster mum Christine Madden
- Vineeta Rishi plays yacht club boss Nita Dajani
- Jonny Lavelle plays boatyard employee Alan White
- Mark Addy plays ex drug-dealer and local club owner Tony Briggs
- Lorcan Cranitch plays café owner and neighbourhood busybody Roy Brewer
- Assad Zaman plays surf instructor Lee Nadella
- Matt Cross plays Nathaniel “Nat” Halpin
Episode 1 guest stars
Peter Davison plays Matthew Wells
Who is Matthew Wells? The senior forensic psychologist of Northumberland’s prison, HMP Scanton. He worked with the murder victim, Joanne Caswell, who was a trainee forensic psychologist.
What else has Peter Davison been in? Doctor Who star Peter Davison played the Fifth Doctor, and is also the father of Georgia Moffett – who appeared in the BBC time-travel show and went on to marry David Tennant. Davison’s other credits include Sink or Swim, Law & Order: UK, Toast of London, and Liar. He’ll soon appear in the TV series Gentleman Jack.
Seeta Indrani plays Sandra Main
Who is Sandra Main? Matthew Wells’ loyal and capable office co-ordinator at HMP Scanton.
What else has Seeta Indrani been in? The actress recently played Bryce in the TV drama Unforgotten, and portrayed Dr Amira Shah in the Jodie Whittaker thriller Trust Me. Indrani also appeared in Catastrophe, playing the character Harita, and spent several years starring as Dr Lily Hassan in Doctors.
Additional cast for episode one:
- Sharon Singh plays murder victim and trainee forensic psychologist Joanne Caswell
- Amira Ghazalla plays her mother Ava Caswell
- Adrian Lukis plays her father Graham Caswell
- Faith Alabi plays her girlfriend Melanie Kirk
- James Atherton plays football coach Kieran Webb
- Jodie McNee plays Kieran’s wife Natalie Webb
- Andrew Readman plays retired detective Jim Paisley
- Sean Cernow plays ex-inmate Paul Eastman
- Caitlin Drabble plays a former inmate’s little sister Ashleigh Beck
- Gerard McDermott plays bereaved father Frank Payne