Vera star Brenda Blethyn details ‘last minute’ change to cast
Vera: Brenda Blethyn suffers stab vest blunder in outtake
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Earlier this month, Vera fans were left disappointed after they were only able to watch the first two episodes of series 11. The latest season was cut short due to filming being delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The final four episodes of series 11 will be available to watch in 2022. The first two programmes saw DCI Vera Stanhope (played by Brenda Blethyn) back with her sidekick Aiden Healy (Kenny Doughty), as they attempted to solve another murder. The dynamic duo have become firm favourites with fans over the years, however, according to actress Brenda, bosses had to make some changes to the cast during production.
The first instalment of series 11 saw DCI Stanhope and DS Healy investigating the murder of local builder, Jim Tullman.
The builder was found beaten to death on the steps of Tynemouth’s Collingwood Monument.
Speaking about what it was like to film the first episode, the Vera star began: “The opening of our first episode includes a lovely view of the Holy Island causeway.
“I love it when they are able to include that as part of the story. We also have a very impressive location – the Collingwood Monument at Tynemouth.”
She continued: “A body is found on the steps of the memorial. A builder who appears to be an upstanding member of the community and who was due to be giving evidence in a trial that very morning.
“We also see him earlier on board the Shields Ferry. Sadly, Vera doesn’t get to go on the ferry, but I have been on it myself as a passenger.”
Discussing the guest cast who featured in the first instalment of the cop drama, Brenda added: “The guest cast includes the wonderful Lorraine Ashbourne, who plays the victim’s estranged wife Barbara.
“Almost everyone could be a suspect. There are also some great new actors in the first two films.”
Brenda went on to explain TV bosses had a shake-up of the cast in the second episode of series 11.
She said: “There is one young actress called Ayten Manyera who came into the second episode as a replacement at the very last minute.
“Ayten was terrific. Made me laugh. We have some wonderfully talented new young actors.”
Praising her co-star Kenny, the 75-year-old said: “Kenny is terrific. He really should have his own show.”
“He’s the most wonderful mimic. If you shut your eyes when he’s impersonating someone his voice is pitch-perfect.
“A very funny fella. He can probably imitate me too, but it would be at his peril. We have such a laugh.”
Executive director Phil Hunter also recently opened up about Vera and Aiden’s relationship.
The duo may get on like a house on fire now, but it hasn’t always been that way.
Speaking about the actor who plays Aiden, Phil began: “Kenny plays a crucial role. To be second in command with such a formidable DCI. Kenny is wonderful.
“DS Aiden Healy has to be that constant for Vera, no matter what mood she is in.”
“It’s great to see how their relationship has developed on screen,” he added.
“We pulled together a promo reel for the 10-year celebration screening in January last year and we picked out one of Kenny’s early episodes when there was a really bumpy start to this relationship with his new DCI.
“We’ve watched their relationship flourish to where it is now, both professionally and emotionally, you can see Aiden really cares about Vera.”
Vera is available to watch on the ITV hub.
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