Seaham’s starring role in TV crime drama

Brenda Blethyn
Brenda Blethyn
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A SEASIDE town will be in focus again when it provides the backdrop to a prime-time crime drama.

Filming on the third series of Vera started in the region this week, with the crew and cast travel to locations across the North East to shoot the four feature-length episodes in the detective series.

Viewers will be able to spot Seaham in some of the scenes, along with the Northumberland coastline, Newcastle and Hexham. Filming will go on until mid-January.

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 per episode and has been billed as the “new Frost” by the channel’s bosses.

It is written by Ann Cleeves, who lives in Whitley Bay, and 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 Shetland Isles.

Ann said: “I feel slightly greedy having two series on television, but it is wonderful.

“A new Shetland book, Dead Water, will be out in January and I’m about two thirds of the way through another Vera book too.
It’s all going very well.”

Vera was brought to the region after investment and support from Northern Film and Media.

Its managing director John Tulip said: “Vera has been an important source of returning work for crew based in the region and has made a valuable economic contribution.

“The drama has struck a chord with audiences worldwide and showed off our cities, rural villages, beaches and more.

“We are obviously thrilled that it will be returning for the third series.”

Elaine 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 albeit one driven by her own demons.

“We like to keep the viewers guessing as to what she’ll do and say next as she’s certainly a character who knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to speak it. We’re grateful that viewers have taken her to their hearts so quickly.”

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham