Brenda Blethyn is back in the hat as DCI Vera Stanhope (Picture: ITV)
Brenda Blethyn has revealed the behind-the-scenes trickery that went on during filming for Vera series 11 to make sure the cast were socially distanced.
Although the new episodes don’t reference the pandemic directly they still had to follow the ‘strict protocol’ on set.
Filming this time around was a trickier process as the pandemic added a week onto the shooting schedule. A ‘Covid marshal’ in Brenda’s words was on set at all times ‘with a big stick’ to make sure actors and crew kept two meters apart.
There was also one big change in crucial interview room scenes where Vera gives suspects a dressing down.
‘In the first episode, in the interview room when she’s cross examining a suspect, the other character isn’t there. I was actually talking to a green wall,’ the TV star shared with Metro.co.uk and other press.
‘The guest actors couldn’t come straight to set, they had to isolate for three days beforehand, you can’t greet someone, we’re wearing masks. We all know each other and a guest might not and they have to play that part, and then they’ve got to play it to a wall, so I take my hat off them. It gets put together in post and you’d never know the difference.
‘The interview rooms have been made slightly larger. In a certain square footage you’re only allowed so many people, so they made the room slightly bigger. It might not be noticeable.
Certain scenes were filmed in bigger rooms to accommodate for social distancing (Picture: ITV)
‘They were forearmed by the time we came to filming those two episodes so they managed to change things that needed changing.’
The actress also recalled her ‘scary’ experience filming new episodes of Vera during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The star returns as the no-nonsense DCI Vera Stanhope for the ITV programme’s 11th series with new episodes filmed during lockdown on location in the North East.
Brenda, 75, said the rules meant she had to be checked over before getting to work on set.
She shared: ‘Artistically I was very happy to go back and make more Vera.
‘It was a bit scary working in this situation to be honest, you don’t want to put your life on the line.
‘But the Covid protocol that was put into place was very strict. I was vetted by the Covid police, making sure I was going to be okay and the medical was okay and that I was going to last until the end of shooting. I don’t think they cared beyond that!
‘Of course there’s risk but there’s risk going out to the supermarket to get your shopping.’
Brenda is joined once again by Kenny Doughty as DS Aiden Healy (Picture: ITV)
She was also apart from her husband Michael for 12 weeks during the first lockdown, in which time she found a new calling after clearing out her cupboards and sorting through fan mail (which has included some ‘amorous’ letters in the past, she revealed).
‘I bought myself a sewing machine’ Brenda shared.
‘In the second lockdown people had got wind of my cushion covers that I’d made, so I took in some orders!’
Vera returns August 29 at 8pm on ITV.