Vera really likes to keep us waiting. Series 11 of this beloved British detective series began broadcasting back in summer 2021, and after four episodes were released between then and January 2022, there’s been a year-long unexplained wait for the last two feature-length episodes of the series, which finally began airing on ITV1 on Sunday 15th January.
But like buses, you wait for one series of Vera and two arrive at once, as straight after Series 11 finishes we’ll be getting four more weekly episodes making up Series 12 as well, starting on 29th January.
Not only that, there’s another Vera instalment, The Rising Tide, on the way later this year, based on Ann Cleeves’s latest Vera novel of the same name.
So what can we expect from the upcoming episodes of Vera? More gruesome murders, of course, and more stunning Northumberland scenery, but there’s also going to be more light shed on Vera’s own past, when she’s reluctantly reunited with her estranged family at the end of Series 12.
We’ll also be saying goodbye to an entertaining series regular, pedantic pathologist Dr Malcolm Donahue, played by Paul Kaye, who is moving onto pastures new at the start of the twelfth series. But who will be replacing him? Let’s take a look at some of the new characters arriving in these latest Vera episodes:
Hugh Quarshie as Dr Leon Palmer
In ‘Vital Signs’, the fifth episode of Series 11, the body of a popular GP is found in a burned-out car. Dr Palmer is the victim’s senior colleague at the local surgery, but when Vera interviews him his story doesn’t add up, and he becomes one of the investigation’s main suspects.
We’re used to seeing Hugh Quarshie as a doctor, after his long-running role as consultant Rick Griffin in Holby City, and he was also nominated for a BAFTA for his portrayal of Neville Lawrence in Stephen, the true crime retelling of the Stephen Lawrence murder case. Most recently, he’s appeared as Stephen, the head of the powerful Richards family in the gripping ITVX drama Riches.
Frances Grey as Olivia Palmer
Dr Palmer’s wife Olivia, and the mother of their daughter Martha (played by newcomer Issey King), is played by Frances Grey, who has recently appeared in Sky Comedy’s Bloods, alongside Jane Horrocks and Samson Kayo, The Sister Boniface Mysteries and forensics crime drama Traces.
Joyce Veheary as Dr Lucy Yo
Trying, Coronation Street and The Dumping Ground‘s Joyce Veheary kicks off the case when her GP character Dr Yo is found murdered in a quarry. Married to Rob McShane, played by Geoffrey Lumb, with a daughter named Zoe, Dr Yo’s murder will be investigated by DCI Stanhope. Was she killed by a colleague, a patient, a family member, or a stranger?
Geoffrey Lumb as Rob McShane
Geoffrey Lumb, who has previously appeared in British crime series Luther, as well as US action spy series 24: Live Another Day and the best film of all time (just ask Nic Cage) – Paddington 2, plays Dr Yo’s husband Rob in the Series 11 investigation.
Sarah Kameela Impey as Dr Paula Bennett
A bit of a whirlwind, Paula will be the new pathologist taking over from Malcolm Donahue at the start of Series 12, and her enthusiasm and forensic brain can sometimes be mistaken for very dark humour. Working with her will be a fresh challenge for Vera.
Sarah is best known for playing Saira, the leader of the band Lady Parts in the critically acclaimed Channel 4 comedy We Are Lady Parts.
Joining lead Brenda Blethyn as DCI Vera Stanhope and regulars Kenny Doughty as DC Aiden Healy, Ibinabo Jack as DC Jacqueline Williams, Riley Jones as DC Mark Edwards, and Jon Morrison as DC Kenny Lockhart, are guest stars Angela Sims as Pat Cringle, Garry Cooper as Cliff Cringle, Danyal Ismail as Yousef Adwan, Heather Bleasdale as Val Kirkstall, Isabel Butt as Raya Bellingham, Kirsten Foster as Tasmin Yo and more.
Vera is available to stream on ITV in the UK and BritBox in the UK and the US