Port of Sunderland stars as hit detective show Vera returns to ITV this weekend

The Port of Sunderland takes centre stage when Vera returns to the nation’s TVs this weekend

Thursday, 6th January 2022, 4:07 pm

Brenda Blethyn will don the familiar battered hat and raincoat when series 11 of the hit ITV show resumes at 8pm on Sunday.

This week’s episode, Tyger Tyger, sees port security foreman Gary Mallon fatally wounded during a robbery.

DCI Vera Stanhope suspects an inside job but the investigation takes an unexpected turn when Gary’s ex-wife contacts police with the news that their 13-year-old son had been kidnapped to guarantee his dad’s co-operation.

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Vera and the team return this Sunday

Now the team faces a race against time to track down the villains and save the boy.

The port seen in the episode is supposedly in Blyth – but the actual scenes were shot a few miles down the coast, as Port of Sunderland business development manager Andy Foster explained: “The crew moved into the port for about three days over the early Bank Holiday weekend in May last year,” he said.

“They based themselves in the Hendon dock area of the port and set up all the welfare facilities for the cast and crew then they transformed the dock to make it look more like a ferry port.”

Andy liaised with the crew and was responsible for ensuring filming went smoothly while the port continued with business as usual: “I chaperoned them around and made sure everybody was safe from the hazards of a busy port,” he said.

Vera makes her point in a scene from Sunday's episode

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"It was fascinating. They don’t shoot in sequence, they shoot different parts of the episode at different times, so it will be great to see the finished product.”

Filming included two stunt scenes, one shot on the dock and one at the port gatehouse, which attracted the attention of the public.

Now port staff are looking forward to seeing if they can spot any familiar faces faces: “There may be some people who can be spotted in the background,” said Andy. “I may even be on screen at one time or another.”

Brenda Blethyn filming in Sunderland last year

Unfortunately, the tight filming schedule left no time for autographs or celebrity selfies: “Brenda Blethyn was very pleasant but she was in character all the time,” said Andy.

"We left her alone and just let her get on with the hard work.”

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The Vera crew was spotted at Sunderland civic centre last year

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