ITV Vera's Brenda Blethyn makes stark admission about quitting show after Kenny Doughty exit

ITV Vera's Brenda Blethyn makes stark admission about quitting show after Kenny Doughty exit

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Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 07/01/2024

- 06:01

Updated: 16/01/2024

- 15:56

The 77-year-old returns to screens on Sunday evening

Brenda Blethyn, 77, has admitted she didn't want to continue filming new episodes of Vera after learning co-star Kenny Doughty was leaving the ITV drama.

Doughty, 48, played the role of DS Aiden Healy in the series for eight years before he announced his departure from the role in 2023.

During his tenure, both Doughty and his alter ego emerged as fan-favourites with ITV viewers making his exit a hard one to stomach.

However, it isn't just with viewers that Doughty made a profound impact on as leading star Blethyn has confessed to wanting to follow him out the exit door when he left.

Luckily for Vera bosses, however, the reintroduction of original series stalwart David Leon as Joe Ashworth managed to convince her to stay on-board.

She admitted ahead of Sunday's premiere on ITV: "After we filmed The Rising Tide at the end of 2022 I didn’t want to do any more without Kenny Doughty, who had decided to leave.

Kenny Doughty

Kenny Doughty (left) has said farewell to Vera


"But I said, ‘I’ll think about it if you can see if David Leon is available to return as Joe Ashworth.’ And so they did and here I am."

Delving into her reasoning, she explained: "I was broken-hearted when David left after series four and equally overjoyed when I heard he was coming back as the relationship between Vera and Joe worked so well.

"They have all of that early history together. I wouldn’t have continued if David had not agreed to come back.

"I just didn’t want to start another board game with somebody else when I know I’m not going to do many more. And who would want to do it anyway?"

Doughty confirmed his exit back in March 2023 with an emotional statement shared on his Instagram page.

Alongside a series of behind-the-scenes snaps with Blethyn, he wrote: "After 8 years & 35 Vera films I’ve made the difficult decision of handing over DS Healy’s badge. I can confirm I am leaving Vera.

"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. I feel lucky to have you as a friend, you make me howl with laughter & have been a rock for me over the years. I can’t thank you enough. Precious times.

David Leon (left) will now join Brenda Blethyn

David Leon (left) will now join Brenda Blethyn in the new series of Vera


"And finally the Vera fans: without you and your support I would never have made so many films. You really are the best fans in the world. Thank you so much for your loyalty & love for the show. X." (sic)

Fans flocked to the announcement to share their dismay at having to say goodbye to one of their favourite Vera characters.

However, the return of Joe Ashworth has prompted similar volumes of excitable reactions.

Leon starred alongside Blethyn throughout the drama's first four seasons and will make his first appearance in a decade in the series 13 opener, Fast Love.

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