ITV Offers Vera Fans Exciting First Look At Beloved Character's Shock Return

Filming has now begun on the 13th series of the ITV drama, with a familiar face back on set.
David Leon is returning to Vera as Joe Ashworth
David Leon is returning to Vera as Joe Ashworth
Helen Williams

Vera fans have been given a peek at David Leon’s surprise return to the hit ITV drama as Joe Ashworth.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that DCI Vera Stanhope’s former sidekick would be appearing in the forthcoming 13th series, following Kenny Doughty’s departure as DS Aiden Healy.

With filming having now commenced on the new episodes, bosses have released a first collection of pictures from set, as David and his co-star Brenda Blethyn spoke of their joy at being reunited.

David – who appeared in the first four series of Vera before quitting in 2014 – 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 added: “Stepping back into Vera’s shoes for the thirteenth series feels like coming home again. The support from the locals in the North East is truly heart-warming and reuniting with the talented David Leon and the rest of our exceptional team is an absolute delight.

“Together, we embark on this new chapter with a terrific script crafted by the brilliant Paul Matthew Thompson.”

David and Brenda on set of series 13 of Vera
David and Brenda on set of series 13 of Vera
Helen Williams

However, it doesn’t look like Joe and Vera will immediately pick up where they left off, with a synopsis of the first episode revealing: “Vera is taken aback by Joe Ashworth’s return and is unsure of his motives.”

For the new series, the pair will be joined by Jon Morrison as DC Kenny Lockhart, Riley Jones as DC Mark Edwards, Sarah Kameela Impey as Pathologist Dr. Paula Bennett and Rhiannon Clements as new and ambitious DC Steph Duncan, who joins Vera’s team.

Kenny Doughty announced his departure from the show in a heartfelt Instagram post earlier this year, 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.”

Then followed the news that that fellow cast member Ibinabo Jack will also not be returning for the new series as DC Jacqueline ‘Jac’ Williams.

An airdate for the 13th series of Vera is yet to be announced, but ITV has confirmed that the remaining fifth episode of series 12 will be scheduled for later this year.


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