There's a changeover about to happen on Vera, as Kenny Doughty, who has played DS Aiden Healy on the show since season 5, is set to leave the series in the upcoming Christmas special, called The Rising Tide.


His role will be filled in season 13 by David Leon, who is returning to play DS Joe Ashworth, and was last seen in the series in 2014.

Doughty has now explained the factors that went into his decision to leave, revealing that he was initially meant to depart at the end of season 12, ahead of this special.

Doughty said: "I made the decision before we started filming series 12. That was initially going to be the four films screened at the start of 2023.

"But then halfway through filming they said, 'Can we do a Christmas special as well?' So it was a long goodbye, with The Rising Tide being my last episode, filmed in November and December 2022.

"There were lots of personal and professional reasons why I wanted to move on. I have loved doing Vera, 100 per cent. It has been a life-changing job for so many reasons. Including working with Brenda Blethyn and in the North East. I feel like an honorary Geordie.

"There is also a real family connection to the crew, who I’m still in touch with."

Brenda Blethyn and Kenny Doughty in the Vera Christmas special gathered in an office looking into camera
Brenda Blethyn and Kenny Doughty in the Vera Christmas special. ITV Studios/ITV

He continued: "It has been nine years since I filmed my first episode in 2014, which was screened in 2015. I just wanted to leave while I was still happy with everything.

"It was a really difficult decision to leave, because I loved doing that job and I loved working with everybody on the Vera team.

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"But a little part of me, for whatever reason, the little inner self said to me, 'You should probably call it a day while you’re still enjoying it'. To step away and seek new acting challenges.

"My first Vera film was series five, episode one, called Changing Tides. While this story is called The Rising Tide. So it feels appropriate to come in on one tide and go out on another."

Blethyn also paid tribute to Doughty on his departure, saying: "I was sad when he said he was leaving. He’s my mate. We had filmed eight series together. I’ve never laughed so hard as I did with Kenny Doughty."

The Rising Tide will be based on the 10th Vera novel by author Ann Cleeves, and will see Vera and her colleagues taking on a chilling investigation when a reunion of friends on the tidal island of Lindisfarne ends with one of them being found dead.

The Vera Christmas special will air on 26th December 2023 on ITV at 8pm. To find out what else is on, check out our TV Guide or visit our dedicated Drama hub. You can buy the first of Ann Cleeves's Vera novels online.


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