TV detective Vera is back in Northumberland

Vera and DS Healy are on the case.
Vera and DS Healy are on the case.

Location-spotters will have a field day tomorrow when TV crime drama Vera returns to our screens.

Filming for the sixth series of the ITV show was done around Northumberland and Tyneside last year and eagle-eyed viewers will be hoping to spot some familiar places.

Previous locations have included Alnwick, Rothbury, Howick, Longhoughton, and last year the star of the show, award-winning actress Brenda Blethyn spoke of her affection for Northumberland.

Brenda makes a welcome return as Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope in four new stand-alone films: Dark Road, Tuesday’s Child, The Moth Catcher and The Sea Glass, inspired by the best selling novels and characters created by acclaimed crime writer Ann Cleeves.

In tomorrow's opening film, Dark Road, Vera investigates the mysterious death of Ann-Marie Richards whose body is discovered by a young girl on the wild and desolate Northumberland moors.

We caught up with star Brenda Blethyn for a quick word.

Vera is now 24 cases in. Can you work out whodunit?

"No, I'm not able to tell. The scripts are extremely well written. And like most thrillers I'm kept guessing until the very end. Actually, neither does Vera guess who the culprit is. I'm not an actor who goes to the last page first."

You're very supportive of author Ann Cleeves. How has your friendship grown over the years?

"I attended the book launch of The Moth Catcher, which the third film is adapted from. But we are both extremely busy and don't see each other much. I love it when Ann visits the set. I went to her house to enjoy a fabulous curry made by Tim, Ann's husband. It was absolutely delicious."

When you first started to film Vera back in 2010, did you ever imagine how successful the series would become?

"You always hope the project you are working on is going to be successful. I thought the character was very interesting, different, and worthy of a series but of course there is no guarantee. So naturally we were all delighted when the first series was commissioned. And thrilled each time it has been re-commissioned."

What can viewers expect from this series?

"More high quality drama. I love that ITV maintain the production values of the series. The art department is second to none. The stories in the first two episodes are particularly difficult for Vera to come to terms with. And as viewers have come to expect, there are many great Northumberland locations."

Vera is on ITV on Sunday at 8pm.