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Vera star Brenda Blethyn reveals 35-year engagement - and why she finally married

The 75-year-old tied the knot in 2010

Gemma Strong

Vera is back! The hit ITV crime drama will return for season 11 on Sunday with Brenda Blethyn leading the cast as DCI Vera Stanhope.

Ahead of the opening episode, Brenda spoke to the Radio Times about her role and even made rare comments about her private life, including why she decided to tie the knot after a 35-year engagement.

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Brenda, 75, married for a second time in 2010. Her first marriage was to Alan Blethyn - a graphic designer she met while working for British Rail, from 1964 until 1973.

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Following her divorce, the actress found love with National Theatre director Michael Mayhew and the couple were together for three decades before making it official.

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Brenda pictured with her husband, Michael Mayhew

Explaining their reasons for finally walking down the aisle, Brenda shared: "We were getting on a bit and it seemed the sensible thing to do. Neither of us were going anywhere so it just presents a problem if one of us pops our clogs."

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According to the Mirror, Brenda also compared herself to Vera - a dishevelled detective with a calculating mind and an irascible but caring personality.

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The couple finally decided to marry after a 35-year engagement

"There are similarities," she confessed. "I'm very practical. I don't spend ages in front of the mirror. I'm independent. I do the right thing, I think. I always try to do the right thing, anyway.…

"My husband says when I finish Vera my body comes home a month before my head. You never let it go."

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In an interview with The Scotsman back in 2019, Brenda revealed her initial response to being asked to play the eccentric character, admitting: "I read the script and thought why have they picked ME?"

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Brenda stars as DCI Vera Stanhope in hit crime drama, Vera

She continued: "I think audiences like her because she's not a threat to anybody. She's not reliant on lipstick, she's not a fashion guru, she doesn't ask you to like her. Take her or leave her, and if you leave her that’s OK. In fact I don't think audiences did like her to start with.

"And because her team like and respect her, I think the public started to think, well, there must be something going for her. She's grown on them."

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