A familiar face is set to stage a comeback to Vera when the ITV drama returns for its 13th series.
David Leon will make a welcome return as DCI Vera Stanhope’s former sidekick Joe Ashworth, following Kenny Doughty’s departure as DS Aiden Healy.
However, along with the news that the show has been recommissioned, it was also announced that fellow cast member Ibinabo Jack will also not be returning.
The actor, who has played DC Jacqueline ‘Jac’ Williams since 2018, has prior theatre commitments preventing her from filming the new series.
Commenting on the cast comings and goings, Brenda Blethyn, who plays the titular Vera commented: “It’s been such a pleasure to work alongside Kenny and Ibinabo. They’ve both been terrific members of the Vera team, and I’ll miss them.
“I’m absolutely over the moon to welcome David back to the show and can’t wait to get started.”
Kenny announced his departure from the show in a heartfelt Instagram post earlier this month, saying: “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 and inspiration Brenda Blethyn.
“The perfect leading star who I owe so much to. I feel lucky to have you as a friend, you make me howl with laughter and have been a rock for me over the years. I can’t thank you enough. Precious times.”
Brenda previously spoke of her heartbreak after her previous co-star David Leon left the role of DS Joe Asworth after four series in 2014, at which point Kenny joined the show.
“Kenny is my mate, my buddy. I never thought I’d get over David Leon going in series four. That broke my heart,” she said (via Chronicle Live).
“But Kenny is also a really good actor and a joy to work with. He’s great company on set along with the rest of the cast, the crew and the directors.”
Other cast members returning alongside Brenda and David for three new feature length films include Jon Morrison, who plays DC Kenny Lockhart and Riley Jones, who plays DC Mark Edwards.
An air date for the 13th series of Vera is yet to be announced.