EAST Durham’s beaches are set to star in a TV drama.
Dawdon blast beach, famous for its appearances in box office hit Alien III and gangster film Get Carter, will be a dramatic backdrop for ITV’s police drama Vera.
The 12-mile stretch of cliffs and sand, scarred by the tipping of mining waste, set the scene for the beginning of production for the third series.
Filming began this week for two days as the production team, the cast and crew braved the cold.
The ITV series centres on eccentric Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope, who is played by Brenda Blethyn, as she and her sidekick Joe Ashworth, played by David Leon, solve a host of crimes.
The programme attracts more than 6.5million viewers and has been billed as the “new Frost” by the channel’s bosses.
It is written by Ann Cleeves, who lives in Whitley Bay.
The programmes will see previous producer Elaine Collins take on the role of executive producer, as she is now producing Shetland, a second series based on the author’s work set on the Scottish Islands.
David Leon, who plays Vera’s trusted sidekick and surrogate son Joe Ashworth, will also return for the new episodes.
Ms Collins said: “We’re delighted to be back in production with Vera and working with Brenda and David again.
“Despite her apparent chaotic approach to cracking crime, Vera is actually a very good detective.
“We’re grateful that viewers have taken her to their hearts so quickly.”
Ann said: “I feel slightly greedy having two series on television, but it is wonderful.”
New episodes will be filmed until mid-January.