Vera star Brenda Blethyn looks unrecognisable in throwback to early career

The actress has appeared in plenty of shows over the years

Vera has been a staple on British TV ever since the first episode was aired back in 2011, and fans were thrilled when the series made its long-awaited return last Sunday. 

MORE: Vera viewers hail show as 'best on TV' after series 11 returns

In recent years, star of the show Brenda Blethyn has been known and loved for her role as the detective, but the actress has appeared in a number of films and TV shows over the years. Take a look back at her career below – and you may be surprised at how different she looks!

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Brenda Blethyn: early career

Brenda began acting in the 80s after studying the craft in her late twenties. She started working on the stage, before landing success working on BBC adaptations on many Shakespeare titles such as King Lear and Henry VI, Part 1

MORE: Vera actor breaks silence on co-star's surprising exit

MORE: Vera star Brenda Blethyn opens up about 'difficult' experience of filming new episodes

Soon after, the actress then starred in hit sitcom Chance In a Million alongside Four Weddings and a Funeral actor Simon Callow.


Brenda's had a hugely successful career

Brenda's first dip into film acting came in the form of popular movie The Witches, adapted from Roald Dahl's classic tale, which also starred Rowan Atkinson and Anjelica Huston. This role lead to recognition Stateside, and the actress went on to appear in titles such as A River Runs Through It, alongside Brad Pitt, and in Mike Leigh's film Secrets and Lies.


Brenda at start of her career

Brenda's part in the latter title won her plenty of praise and awards including the BAFTA for Best Actress, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination.

Brenda Blethyn: later career

Thanks to her career success, Brenda has become a household name and in her later career has continued to appear in plenty of shows and films including Atonement, War and Peace, Pride and Prejudice (for which she received nominations for a BAFTA award and a London Film Critics Award). As well as Vera, the actress recently began appearing in another ITV show, Kate & Koji.

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Brenda stars in ITV's hit drama Vera

Brenda Blethyn: Vera

Brenda recently opened up about the difficulties she faced while filming the latest series of the ITV show. "On the first day back filming, I think everyone felt a huge sense of pride that we had all come together, we were all putting our best foot forward to try and get this done. We all knew it would be difficult with all the restrictions," she told Chronicle Live.

She added: "The other thing of course, is that it was difficult to recognise anyone with all the masks and visors on. Even Vera's hat and coat couldn't be handed to me. They are put in a special bag.

"So when I turn up on set, Vera's clothes will have been delivered to my trailer having been sprayed or whatever it is they put inside a hanging bag."

Filming for the latest series was due to start in March 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic. The first two episodes were finally filmed in August 2020 and hit screens exactly a year later, in August of 2021. Now the series has finally returned and will be airing the remaining four episodes weekly. 

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