Vera recruits Happy Valley star as Brenda Blethyn returns for new series

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The last series of Vera ended with a dramatic finale, and the upcoming 13th season of the ITV crime drama looks to be equally as gritty.

Happy Valley villain Amit Shah will be making his Vera debut in the opening episode.

Fans of the Halifax-based BBC crime drama will recall Amit portrayed murderous pharmacist Faisal Bhatti in the third and final series of the Sarah Lancashire drama.

He ended up killing his client Joanna Hepworth (played by Mollie Winnard) in harrowing scenes which led to his downfall.

ITV is yet to reveal who Amit will be playing in the upcoming episode of Vera.

Other famous faces in the new series of Vera include former EastEnders star Stephen Lord, who played Jace Dyer, and Hollyoaks star Rhiannon Clements, who portrayed Summer Ranger.

Meanwhile, Kenny Doughty, who took on the role of DS Aiden Healy in Vera for eight years, will not be returning to the ITV drama.

Fans suffered a further blow when it was revealed Ibinabo Jack, who played DC Jacqueline Williams, also decided to step down from the series to focus on theatre commitments.

The opening episode of series 13 is called Fast Love which starts when Vera is called to a country lane where a man has been found dead after a collision with a car.

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She discovers he is a popular market trader so heads down to his pitch to start to put together an idea of who the man is.

As Vera’s investigation gathers pace, she learns this cheeky chappy was a complex character.

To make the case more complicated, Vera is taken aback by Joe Ashworth’s (David Leon) return and is unsure of his motives.

Vera actress Brenda said of the series: “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.”

Vera is filmed in and around Northumberland which has been a spectacular backdrop to the drama since it first aired in 2011.

Executive producer Will Nicholson shared: “Being from the North East it is always a joy to film Vera here and we are very grateful for the warmth and support from the fans during production.”

A release date for series 13 of Vera is yet to be confirmed by ITV but previous seasons are available to watch on ITVX.

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