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DVD Review

DVD cover

Series One


Starring: Brenda Blethyn, David Leon, Wunmi Mosaku and Paul Ritter
ITV Studios Home Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 12
Available 30 May 2011

Based on characters created by crime writer Ann Cleeves, this series follows Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope as she works with her team to solve local murders. The unusual heroine is assisted by her long-suffering but unwavering team including Sergeant Joe Ashworth, DC Holly Lawson and forensic pathologist Billy Cartwright. This four part series begins with Vera delving into the bleak and poetic Northumberland coast to unearth the truth about a strange double murder, however with her sharp yet shambolic methods it isn’t long before she is drawn into a world of obscurity as she and her team must approach each new case with unparalleled gusto and professionalism...

Vera is a four-part ITV crime series which was originally broadcast during May this year (2011). Brenda Blethyn star as DI Vera Stanhope who, first impressions would have you believe, is like a rather dotty favourite aunt. Her appearance is misleading, as underneath her poor dress sense and rather simple persona is a woman with an analytical mind that can piece together things others may overlook.

If I had one complaint it's that the stories are a bit too similar - in addition two of the stories also feature crimes that involve children being killed years before. It's the fourth story, Little Lazarus, where this series really starts to find its footing. This is by far the most intricate episode. Hopefully a second series will be commissioned so that we can continue to follow Vera's cases.

It was also a shame that Wunmi Mosaku's DC Holly Lawson broke down too early in the series. It would have worked better if we'd witness her trying to please Vera for a few more episodes so that when she gets upset we can sympathise with her.

While there are no extras on this collection (which is almost criminal in itself) what's interesting is that there are audio descriptive menus for those with visual impairments. This is the first DVD I've come across where you have the option to have the menu options read out for you - ingenious.

This is certainly a crime series that's worth adding to your collection if you're a fan of the genre. Blethyn's acting is so convincing that you can't help warm to her character. We could have done with a little more of the team appearing centre stage or learning a little more about their personal lives, but on the whole this is entertaining viewing.


Darren Rea

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