ITV Vera fans beg for Kenny Doughty return as they slam divisive Joe Ashworth comeback: 'Get Aiden back now!'

ITV Vera fans beg for Kenny Doughty return as they slam divisive Joe Ashworth comeback: 'Get Aiden back now!'

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Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 08/01/2024

- 12:08

Updated: 16/01/2024

- 15:55

The 13th series of Vera kicked off on Sunday evening

Vera fans have expressed their desire to have Kenny Doughty's DS Aiden Healy back on screens just one episode after his ITV drama exit.

Actor Doughty announced his departure back in early-2023 but Sunday's first feature-length instalment of the 13th run was the first time fans saw Brenda Blethyn's Vera Stanhope without him by her side.

Instead, Vera faced an all-new case she had to get to the bottom solo - although she wasn't without a sidekick for long.

David Leon's Joe Ashworth, who hasn't been seen on the show for the best part of a decade, returned out of the blue.

With Aiden now in Australia, Joe was back but rather than to aid Vera, he was introduced to keep tabs on her in his new role as a police inspector.

Seemingly forgetting the years of mentoring Vera had imparted to him, Joe pulled no punches with his verdict on Vera and her team.

Kenny Doughty

Kenny Doughty left Vera ahead of the 13th series


Of course, this didn't go down well with Vera whose reaction to seeing Joe back in his new capacity wasn't exactly full of elation.

In true Vera style, DCI Stanhope got to the bottom of the mysterious case that came her way and teed up a tantalising relationship with Joe in the next few feature-length specials.

However, despite news of Doughty's departure was common knowledge, it's safe to say some fans are already keen to see Aiden Healy back alongside Vera.

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, one fan raged: "Get Aiden back now! Joe’s come back as a prick! #Vera."

A second echoed: "I want Aiden back, Vera taught Joe all he knows and he'd better not forget it!"

"I am not happy with new Joe so far. I miss Aiden #Vera," a third hit out while a fourth weighed in: "#Vera It's nice to see Joe back but he's a bit up himself with Vera, but she'll sort the bugger out. I miss @kennydoughty hope Aiden comes back from Oz."

Elsewhere a fifth also pleaded: "I miss Aiden already. Joe's ok but I always preferred Aiden #Vera."

But it wasn't all bad among the divided fanbase as a number of fans lauded Leon's comeback.

David Leon (left)David Leon (left) is back as Joe Ashworth in series 13 of Vera alongside Brenda Blethyn ITV/SHUTTERSTOCK

"Yesssssss Joe is back #Vera @BrendaBlethyn @Riley_Jones_88 @David_J_Leon," one fan celebrated.

While a second similarly lauded: "I liked seeing the grumpy #Vera and her bickering we Joe. They will become great friends again l am sure very soon."

And another added: "@BrendaBlethyn @David_J_Leon @Riley_Jones_88 @VeraSeries Brilliant new episode of #Vera tonight. Great to have Joe back. Can’t wait until next week." (sic)

Whether Vera fans will be able to see more of Joe and Vera beyond series 13 remains to be seen, especially after Blethyn admitted she almost quit the show following Doughty's exit.

Joe Ashworth actor Leon has also made his feelings clear on future series of the ITV drama should bosses want to go again for a 14th run.

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