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Vera shares first look photos as fan favourite star makes comeback for series 13

The ITV drama stars Brenda Blethyn in the titular role


David Leon and Brenda Blethyn on Vera series 13© Helen Williams
Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
May 16, 2023
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ITV have shared the first look photos of Brenda Blethyn and David Leon on set as filming for Vera series thirteenth officially begins. The drama will see Brenda reprise her iconic role as DCI Vera Stanhope and will be joined by David who is making his triumphant return as DS Joe Ashworth, nine years after he walked away from the crime series.

Bosses behind Vera have also shared some exciting details about what viewers can expect from the new series. As the synopsis explains, series 13 will consist of three feature-length episodes showing Vera and Joe joining forces to solve a series of mysteries in the North East.

WATCH: Kenny Doughty left Vera in series 12

"In the opening episode, titled Fast Love, DCI Vera Stanhope is called to a quiet country lane where a young man has been found dead following a collision with a car. Vera discovers that the victim is a popular market trader so heads down to his pitch to start to put together an idea of who the man is."

The synopsis continues: "As the investigation gathers pace, Vera learns that this cheeky chappy was a complex character. Antagonistic, arrogant, and able to get what he wanted but did all of this come at a price? Adding to the complexity of the case, Vera is taken aback by Joe's return and is unsure of his motives."

MORE: Vera star Brenda Blethyn's private home she lives in for half the year 

MORE: 7 stars who quit ITV's Vera and where they are now 

David Leon and Brenda Blethyn seen on set series 13© Helen Williams
David Leon and Brenda Blethyn have begun filming scenes for series 13

Fans can also look forward to reuniting with other familiar faces on the show including Jon Morrison as DC Kenny Lockhart, Riley Jones as DC Mark Edwards, and Sarah Kameela Impey as Pathologist Dr. Paula Bennett. Joining the cast is Rhiannon Clements as the ambitious DC Steph Duncan who joins Vera's team.

Why did Vera's David Leon leave the show?

David was a regular cast member when the first show aired and Vera's partner, Joe Ashworth. However, the actor stepped away from the role in 2014 after four seasons. David, who also works as a producer and director, left the show to pursue other commitments, leaving Brenda "heartbroken" in the process. She told the Mirror: "I never thought I'd get over David leaving. That broke my heart." Upon his return, Brenda said she was "over the moon" to welcome back her old cast mate.

David Leon as D.S. Joe Ashworth© ITV/REX/Shutterstock
David Leon first left Vera in 2014

Why did Kenny Doughty leave Vera?

David's return to the show was announced shortly after Kenny Doughty, who played Aiden Healy, revealed he was leaving the show. It's thought that the actor is stepping away from the role to concentrate on other projects. He wrote on social media: "I want to thank everyone who’s made this amazing time so joyous, ITV, Silverprint, all the brilliant cast and crew BUT of course my buddy & inspiration Brenda Blethyn. The perfect leading star who I owe so much to," he said in part.

Kenny Doughty as Aiden Healy© ITV
Kenny Doughty won't return as Aiden Healy

When will Vera series 13 air?

There's no word on a release date for series 13, but filming is officially underway and will run throughout the summer. Traditionally, the show airs at the beginning of the year – so here's hoping for a January 2024 release. We'll keep you posted.

vera brenda on beach© ITV
Brenda Blethyn will be back as Vera
Brenda on boat in Vera scene© ITV
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Brenda Blethyn as Vera takes phone call in car© Photographer
Brenda Blethyn as titular character in Vera
vera© ITV
Brenda and Kenny on set of Vera series 11

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