Brenda Blethyn’s DCI Vera Stanhope is back in her hat and mac, which can only mean her rattling Land Rover is close by too, as ITV’s Vera makes a triumphant return to ITV on Sunday 29th August at 8pm.
The first two episodes of the six-part eleventh series will arrive in 2021, with a further four scheduled to air in 2022. The slightly tweaked release schedule is the result of COVID-19 related filming precautions.
The coronavirus will also play a huge part on whether the series, based on Ann Cleeves’ novels, returns for a twelfth run. When Blethyn recently addressed her future on Vera, she revealed “it rather depends on the COVID situation.”
We’ll definitely miss both the scruffy detective herself and the stunning North East backdrops where Vera is filmed. However, we do have her latest investigation to look forward to in the meantime, RadioTimes.com releasing an exclusive Vera preview for season 11 that teases what’s in store.
Want a refresher on Vera who’s who? We’ve put together a guide to the cast and characters of Vera – for season 11, and for previous seasons of the drama. Check it out below.
Brenda Blethyn plays DCI Vera Stanhope
Who is Vera? DCI Vera Stanhope is a talented, compassionate and unconventional detective who heads up a team at Northumberland and City Police. She’s prickly, blunt, almost always wears her distinctive hat, and doggedly pursues the truth of each case – even if it lands her in hot water. As the series have progressed we’ve learnt more about her backstory, including her difficult relationship with her father.
Where have I seen Brenda Blethyn before? You might recognise two-time Oscar nominee as Mrs Bennett in the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice, or from her roles in Atonement, Secrets & Lies, Little Voice, and the Clémence Poésy version of War and Peace.
Speaking ahead of season 11, Blethyn revealed that she can never say never to future Vera seasons. “At the end of filming every season I think, ‘Oh, thank the Lord I’m going home. Never again’,” she said. “But it’s like having a lovely slap-up meal. You’ve eaten too much. You couldn’t eat another morsel. And you’re shown the menu again. ‘Take it away, take it away!’ But then a week later you get hungry again.”
Kenny Doughty plays DS Aiden Healy
Who is DS Aiden Healy? Vera’s right-hand man, DS Aiden Healy has proven himself to be a fiercely loyal and hard working partner-in-solving-crime. He’s a family man with a young boy, and when it comes to cases about fathers and sons or children he sometimes struggles to keep his emotions in check.
Where have I seen Kenny Doughty before? Doughty previously played Jake Harman in Coronation Street and Sean in Stella. He’s also more recently starred in Kay Mellor’s BBC One drama Love, Lies and Records, and in an episode of Black Work (playing Ryan Gillespie).
Jon Morrison plays DC Kenny Lockhart
Who is DC Kenny Lockhart? A loyal detective with decades of experience under his belt, and the cynical sense of humour to prove it.
Where have I seen Jon Morrison before? The Scottish actor has previously starred in The Bill, Monarch of the Glen, High Times, Dream Team, and Who Dares Wins.
Paul Kaye plays Dr Malcolm Donahue
Who is Dr Malcolm Donahue? A pedantic pathologist who joined the team last season, Dr Malcolm previously worked with Vera and they failed to get on, but the pair are finally establishing a grudging respect for one another.
Where have I seen Paul Kaye before? While Game of Thrones fans will recognise Kaye as the character Thoros of Myr, the prolific actor’s more recent onscreen appearances include Catherine the Great as Pugachev; Year of the Rabbit as the unpleasant D.I. Tanner; Ricky Gervais’ series Afterlife as the Psychiatrist; and Cold Feet as Reverend Daniel Booth. He originally rose to fame via his comic alter-ego Dennis Pennis.
Ibibnabo Jack plays DC Jacqueline ‘Jac’ Williams
Who is DC Jacqueline ‘Jac’ Williams? A young and talented detective with a wry sense of humour and a knack at finding key witnesses and crucial information.
Where have I seen Ibibnabo Jack before? Jack played Theresa Sutton in Doctors, and has previously starred in the film Two for Joy.
Riley Jones plays PC Mark Edwards
Who is PC Mark Edwards? The youngest member of Vera’s team, Jones has proved himself to be hard working and eager to prove himself.
Where have I seen Riley Jones before? He recently played Ewan in EastEnders; his other credits include the short film Run and the TV series Wolfblood.
Season 11 episode one guest stars
Ian Bonar plays Ewan Webster
Who is Ewan Webster? A local professional who works with vulnerable people, and with connections to a well-respected local builder, Jim Tullman, who is found beaten to death on the steps of the Collingwood Monument. As Vera discovers, Jim was due to testify as a witness to a violent crime.
Where have I seen Ian Bonar before? He’s known for I May Destroy You, Skyfall, Now Blood, Atonement, and Starter for 10, among other projects.
Rina Mahoney as Aliah Kapoor
Who is Aliah Kapoor? A lawyer with links to murder victim Jim Tullman.
Where have I seen Rina Mahoney before? Although best known for her work on-stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the actress is also known for roles on Doctors, Hollyoaks, and Scott & Bailey.
Micky McGregor plays John Paul Tullman
Who is John Paul Tullman? The adoring adult son of murder victim Jim Tullman. He learns that his father has died in our exclusive Vera preview for season 11, in which Vera breaks the news to him.
Where have I seen Micky McGregor before? The actor is known for I, Daniel Blake, Sorry We Missed You, among other projects.
Season 10 episode 3 guest stars
Emily Stott plays Georgia Hay
Who is Georgia Hay? An old friend and neighbour of Luke Sumner, who has died following an assault. Her sister went to school with Luke.
Where have I seen Emily Stott before? The up-and-coming actress is still starting out in her career, but has appeared in shorts and onstage in A Comedy about a Bank Robbery.
Jacqueline Boatswain plays Sarah Ashers
Who is Sarah Ashers? The mother of Jasmine, who used to date Luke when they were teenagers.
Where have I seen Jacqueline Boatswain before? The actress recently starred in Hollyoaks as Simone Loveday, and plays Frances Holland in this year’s Bancroft series. She’s previously starred in Grange Hill and Shameless.
Leah Walker plays Jasmine Ashers
Who is Jasmine Ashers? An ex-girlfriend of the deceased, Luke.
Where have I sen Leah Walker before? Walker has appeared in Safe, Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, The Dumping Ground, The Royals, and In The Dark.
Dempsey Bovell as Jojo Walters
Who is Jojo Walters? A mini-bus driver who works for the same cleaning company that Luke did.
Where have I seen Dempsey Bovell before? Bovell played a drug dealer in Patrick Melrose alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, and has previously had cameos in Solo: A Star Wars Story and Rocketman.
Episode 2 guest stars
Martha Cope plays Steph Bayliss
Who is Steph Bayliss? The mother of a young man, Dennis, who is found washed up on a beach. She reveals that her son had recently tracked down his birth father.
Where have I seen Martha Cope before? The TV actress has appeared in various shows, including Doctors, Men Behaving Badly, Peak Practice and Family Affairs.
Stuart Laing plays Rob Bayliss
Who is Rob Bayliss? The man who raised Dennis, Rob is married to Steph.
Where have I seen Stuart Laing before? Laing is perhaps best known for playing Rob Minter in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. He’s also starred in various shows including 3 Steps to Heaven and Strike Force.
Episode 1 guest stars
Ajay Chhabra plays Nasir Ali
Who is Nasir Ali? A car salesman and father of two whose absent business partner, Freddy Gill, is found mysteriously murdered.
Where have I seen Ajay Chhabra before? Younger viewers might recognise Chhabra as Anil from The Basil Brush Show; he’s also played Defense Barrister George Karnad in Holby City and Suresh Mattai in the BBC Radio series The Archers.
Viraj Juneja plays Saddiq Ali
Who is Saddiq Ali? Nasir’s youngest son, Saddiq is a university student and is coddled by both his father and older brother.
Where have I seen Viraj Juneja before? The actor has previously starred in Doctors, Boyz in the Wood and The Stand Up Sketch Show.
Mariam McLoughlin plays Tina Tripp
Who is Tina Tripp? A proud matriarch and pub owner whose husband has just died; her grandson’s father, Freddy Gill, has also just been murdered, but Tina doesn’t spare any tears for him.
Where have I seen Mariam McLoughlin before? The actress has previously starred in Party Animals, Holby City, Truckers, and The Bill.
Additional cast for series 10 episode one:
- Ay Saighal as Agrah Ali, Saddiq’s older brother
- Josh Barrow as Riley Gill, teenage son of murder victim Freddy Gill
- Barry Aird as Darren Tripp, brother-in-law to widow Tine Tripp
- Charlotte Pyke as Jade Gill, the ex of murder victim Freddy Gill
- Jonathan Spencer as murder victim Freddy Gill
- Brian Lonsdale as Jade’s volatile brother, Lee Tripp
Season 9 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.
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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 season nine 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