Kenny Doughty has announced he is leaving hit crime drama Vera after eight years on the show.
The actor, 47, has starred as DS Aiden Healy on the long-running ITV series since 2015 alongside lead actress Brenda Blethyn, who plays the eponymous DCI Vera Stanhope.
The crime programme, set against the backdrop of north-east England, follows the detectives and their team as they face a series of murder mysteries.
Doughty praised his co-star Blethyn as he announced his departure on Instagram with a series of photos of them together from past and present.
“After 8 years and 35 Vera films I’ve made the difficult decision of handing over DS Healy’s badge. I can confirm I am leaving Vera”, he wrote.
“I want to thank everyone who’s made this amazing time so joyous, ITV, Silverprint, all the brilliant cast and crew BUT of course my buddy and inspiration Brenda Blethyn.
“The perfect leading star who I owe so much to. I feel lucky to have you as a friend, you make me howl with laughter and have been a rock for me over the years. I can’t thank you enough. Precious times.”
He also thanked those who have supported the show, adding: “And finally the Vera fans: without you and your support I would never have made so many films.
“You really are the best fans in the world. Thank you so much for your loyalty and love for the show. X”
Doctor Who and It’s A Sin screenwriter Russell T Davies was among those wishing the actor all the best for his next move, saying: “Oh mate. Congratulations. You’ve been wonderful. Here’s to the future xx.”
The crime drama also stars Jon Morrison as DC Kenny Lockhart, Riley Jones as DC Mark Edwards, Ibinabo Jack as DC Jacqueline Williams and Paul Kaye as pathologist Dr Malcolm Donahue.
It returned to screens earlier this year for its 12th series.
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The series is inspired by the best-selling novels and characters created by crime writer Ann Cleeves.