Brenda Blethyn nerves: Why was Vera star worried about returning to ITV drama?

Sneak peak as Vera returns for 11th series

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Vera season 11 makes its debut on ITV on August 29 and the former Northumberland & City Police detective will be investigating new murders. Two episodes of the new season will air this year and they will each follow a different mystery, with Brenda Blethyn back in the lead role. The 75-year-old actress said she had some reservations ahead of filming for the latest outing.

Why was Brenda Blethyn nervous about Vera’s return?

Production of four of the six new episodes began in April 2020 and filming took place in Newcastle upon Tyne and throughout Northumberland.

Two of the episodes are scheduled to air this year, with the rest slated for 2022 due to production issues raised amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The series is known for attracting plenty of onlookers during the filming stages as they are all keen to see the female detective in action.

Actress Blethyn said it was “hugely gratifying to hear that the people in the North East were excited to know that Vera was returning to film more episodes”.

While she said it was something to look forward to in a dismal time, she did express feeling nervous.

She said: “I was glad to be starting work again for lots of reasons. But at the same time, I was nervous of it.

“We were in the middle of a global pandemic and nobody was safe really.

“But when it was explained to me about all the precautions to be set in place – and my word they were very very thorough, I became a little less nervous.

“I was quizzed on the phone by a Covid detective, and medicals were carried out to make sure I wasn’t too vulnerable.

“Medicals are necessary anyway for any filming for insurance purposes. They really just want to know you’re going to make it to the end of the shoot!”

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many TV series to suffer as it has made filming close to impossible.

The actress explained how it took an extra week to film each episode, saying protocols made it “a little bit inhibiting”.

However, she soon got used to the changes and everyone learned to adapt to the new normal.

She said marshals were on hand to make sure everyone was keeping the correct distance apart at all times.

Despite initially feeling worried, she said everyone felt a huge sense of pride at what they were achieving.

Special camera tricks were used to create the illusion that the cast were not standing too far apart.

Blethyn added: “We all tried our best in very difficult circumstances.

“There were plenty of people sitting at home who would have given their eye teeth to go to work and they couldn’t.

“So, nobody in the cast or crew were moaning, even though we were nervous and didn’t want to catch Covid.

“We knew we were in a fortunate position in being able to work.”

The new season of Vera will open with the detective investigating the murder of a local builder.

He is found bludgeoned on the steps of the Collingwood Monument and Vera cannot understand who would kill such a highly-respected man.

But the more she digs, the more secrets start to emerge and it seems the builder was caught in a web of lies.

She finds out the contractor recently testified as a key witness in a violent assault case, and wonders if the two incidents are connected.

Vera season 11 airs on ITV on August 29 at 8pm.

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