VERA author Ann Cleeves says she is very proud of how fans have fallen in love with the “crumpled, compassionate” detective she created.

The author first wrote about DCI Vera Stanhope in The Crow Trap, which was published in 1999, after dreaming up the character whilst walking with her late husband, Tim, in Northumberland.

Her novels have gone on to become international bestsellers and the ITV series based on them has grown a huge following around the world.

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Ms Cleeves told The Northern Echo she is still surprised by how much fans of the books and television show love Vera.

She said: “I still cannot believe the reaction of people to this crumpled, compassionate, rude middle-aged woman who stomps around the countryside solving murders.”

Ms Cleeves was speaking at the Gala Theatre, in Durham, during the launch of a Reading for Wellbeing Project in the region, which she initiated and is helping public bodies to fund as a “21st birthday present from Vera to the region that created her”.

Fans of the TV show regularly turn up at locations across the North East to watch filming – more than ever since filming resumed last September following lockdown.

Ms Cleeves said she is thrilled so many people love watching from the wings as Brenda Blethyn plays Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope, in her trademark raincoat and hat.

She said: “After lockdown and when the team came back to start filming again it was almost as if everybody breathed a sigh of relief, that the world was coming back to normal because there would be new Vera episodes on TV again. I think they felt that responsibility too.

“Now people turn out to watch, they’re very respectful they don’t get in the way, but they want to be there to be a bit of a part of the process and I love that.

“I’m just very proud of it, that it happens that way.”


DCI Vera Stanhope and sidekick Aiden Healy Picture: ITV

DCI Vera Stanhope and sidekick Aiden Healy Picture: ITV


The first two episodes of the 11th series aired on ITV recently with four remaining episodes scheduled for broadcast in 2022.

The Reading for Wellbeing pilot project will support access to reading, including audio books, in areas of County Durham, Gateshead, North Tyneside, Northumberland and South Tees to help improve the health and wellbeing of those in need of support for chronic pain to depression.

Read more: Vera author Ann Cleeves launches reading for wellbeing project


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