Vera Review: ITV’s Drama Renaissance Continues

VERA: Sunday 1st May, ITV1, 9pm

ITV can’t seem to help delivering cracking drama as of late, with Downton Abbey, Marchlands, and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher wowing viewers and critics alike. After tonight’s episode, I’m pleased to add Vera to this acclaimed list. Rightly hyped in advance of its premier, the series is based on detective novels written by Ann Cleeves – the best-selling author with a very Tudor name – and stars Oscar Nominated Brenda Blethyn (Secrets and Lies, Pride and Prejudice and Atonement), who recently admitted to watching tapes of Cheryl Cole and Ant and Dec in a bid to cast off her London accent for the role.

Brenda portrays unconventional and determined Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, troubled by her past and obsessed with her work. Helped along the way by trusty, loyal companion Sergeant Joe Ashworth (played by David Leon), the pair are close work colleagues, and there’s a real mother and son feeling to their relationship.

This week’s episode, Hidden Depths, revolves around the body of a boy mysteriously found strangled in a bath tub surrounded by candles and floating flowers. Vera and Joe lead a team tasked with finding out the cause of the death, and soon discover a web of lies and secrecy in a tight-knit community.

As the story progresses, the team uncover another murder and several extra martial affairs between suspects, not to mention some shifty birdwatchers. Vera certainly has her work cut out solving this mystery, whilst also trying to grapple with family problems that are only hinted at in this first episode in a four-part miniseries.

I thoroughly enjoyed this detective romp, and look forward to watching next week’s episode as the series continues. There some great acting and casting, all helped along the way by a well thought out story which kept me guessing throughout. Being a fan of the crime genre, I’ve become pretty good at spotting the bad guy from the off, though during Vera I was genuinely surprised at how the story unravelled. I have always been rather suspicious of birdwatchers though…

Congratulations ITV, can we have some more please?

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