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Vera returns with series 13 in 2024: everything to know, including new cast and plot details

David Leon reprises his role as Joe Ashworth in the three new episodes

DAVID LEON as DI Joe Ashworth and BRENDA BLETHYN as DCI Vera Stanhope in Vera
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
26 December 2023
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Vera makes its long-awaited return to screens on Boxing Day in a new feature-length Christmas special that sees the titular detective take on a chilling investigation into the death of a famous TV presenter. 

Fans will no doubt be overjoyed to see Brenda Blethyn reprise her role as the no-nonsense DCI, having waited over a year for new episodes. The Yuletide episode is bittersweet, however, as it marks the final outing for DS Aiden Healy actor Kenny Doughty, who will be replaced as Vera's sidekick by returning star David Leon in series 13. 

Fans will be glad to know that they won't have to wait long for the new episodes to arrive on ITV in the New Year. Keep reading for all we know about series 13, including the cast list, release date and plot details. 

WATCH: Vera actress Brenda Blethyn talks long filming schedule

Series 13 release date

What better way to cure the January blues than new episodes of Vera? Series 13 arrives on our screens just one week into the New Year – and we simply cannot wait. 

The new series premieres on ITV1 on Sunday 7 January 2024 at 8pm, with a running time of two hours. 

BRENDA BLETHYN as DCI Vera Stanhope and DAVID LEON as DI Joe Ashworth© Stuart Wood/ITV
David Leon returns in series 13

The 13th season consists of three feature-length episodes which will air on January 14 and January 21.

Who's starring in the new series? 

As we said, Kenny sadly won't be reprising his role as DS Aiden Healy in series 13. While fans will be sad to say goodbye to the actor, they'll be pleased to welcome back David in his role of Joe Ashworth. 

While we don't know the circumstances of Joe's return, we do know that the first episode, titled 'Fast Love', will see the detective team up with Vera to investigate the death of a young man following a car accident. 

Brenda Blethyn as Vera Stanhope, Kenny Doughty as DS Aiden Healy in Vera© ITV/Shutterstock
Kenny Doughty won't be returning in series 13

David was a regular cast member on the popular drama from when the show first aired in 2011 until his departure in 2014. While the actor never revealed the reason for his exit, it's possible that he stepped down from the role due to other work commitments.

Speaking about his return to the show after nine years, David said: "I'm thrilled to be returning to Vera. It's fantastic to be back in the North East and reunited with Brenda and the crew for the new series. I'm looking forward to exploring the relationship between Joe and Vera as they make up for lost time."

BRENDA BLETHYN as DCI Vera Stanhope and RILEY JONES as DC Mark Edwards.
© Stuart Wood/ITV
Brenda Blethyn as DCI Vera Stanhope and Riley Jones as DC Mark Edwards in series 13

Starring alongside Brenda and David in the three new episodes are returning cast members Jon Morrison as DC Kenny Lockhart, Riley Jones as DC Mark Edwards, and Sarah Kameela Impey as Pathologist Dr. Paula Bennett.

Fans can also expect a new addition to the team in the form of Rhiannon Clements (Ridley, Hollyoaks), who plays the ambitious DC Steph Duncan. 

Sarah Kameela Impey as Paula in Vera

© Stuart Wood/ITV
Sarah Kameela Impey returns as Paula

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

Which investigations will feature in series 13?

The upcoming episodes will see Vera and Joe tackle three grizzly cases.

In episode one, the team looks into the death of a young man following a car collision in a quiet country lane. Vera soon learns that the victim was a popular market trader whose antagonistic and arrogant ways may have come back to bite him. 

Brenda Blethyn in Vera
Series 13 airs on Sunday 7 January

Plot details on episodes two and three are yet to be released. However, we do know that the new episodes will once again be inspired by Ann Cleeves's best-selling novels.

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