Vera fans react to big changes in divisive series 13 first episode

Virgin Radio

8 Jan 2024, 11:36

Vera stars Brenda Blethyn and David Leon as Vera and Joe

Credit: ITV

Vera series 13 got off to a trustworthily tense and dramatic start on Sunday night, but fans appear divided over the new series.

Series 13 episode one Fast Love saw DCI Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn) called out to investigate a body found after a hit-and-run, but much uncertainty followed as her search for information uncovered more and more info about the dead man’s complex character.

Key to upping the tension in the episode was the return of Vera’s former crime solving partner DS Joe Ashworth (David Leon), who is back to work alongside his former DCI after an absence of almost ten years on and off screen.

It’s this big change - caused by the departure of DS Aiden Healy actor Kenny Doughty - which has been dividing fan opinion online.

Taking to social media as the episode was airing, some fans appeared disappointed in Joe’s rather stand-offish return. “When you were looking forward to the Vera and Joe reunion… and he’s returned as a p****,” one person wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

“Vera isn’t the same without Aiden…” another viewer wrote contemplatively. A third penned jokingly: “At this point I’m hoping that the second victim is Joe.”

However, others liked the different dynamic Joe’s return brought to the programme. “Loved this! Esp how Joe’s return created a lot of tension and brought out the more unreasonable side of Vera’s personality,” a viewer shared on social media.

Another praised the show’s “brilliant opening story” and welcomed seeing David Leon back alongside his former co-star Brenda Blethyn.

That being said, the exit of DS Healy happening off screen angered some long-time viewers, who felt star Kenny Doughty should have had a better send off within the show.

“Absolutely devo as to how they wrote Aiden out of #Vera. I wanted a goodbye scene and had built myself up for one!” one person complained. “Can’t believe the Christmas special of #Vera was Aiden’s last episode!!” another penned. “I’m so sad he’s gone!”

However, despite this sadness, Vera viewers generally hailed last night (7th January)’s episode as a “first class” mystery, and doubtless will be tuning in excitedly again next week for series 13’s second episode.

Vera will continue on ITV1 and ITVX next Sunday, 14th January, at 8pm.