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Simon Duke

Vera's Brenda Blethyn left 'heartbroken' by co-star's exit from ITV drama

Years after it happened, Brenda Blethyn has spoken of her 'heartbreak' over the exit of onre of her original Vera co-stars from the long-runniong drama, admitting that it took her some time to get over.

Vera has now been a huge favourite amongst ITV viewers for over a decade, having made its debut back in May 2011. It didn't take long for the formidable detective, the creation of North East based author Ann Cleeves, to establish a loyal following, with fans loving her and enjoying all the twists and turns of the show's feature length episodes.

A whole host of stars have taken roles in Vera over its 12 year run on screen and, one of the most recognisable ones is David Leon, who played DCI Stanhope's original sidekick DS Joe Ashworth, from series 1-4.

Prior to his starring role in Vera, Newcastle born star David had appeared in the likes of Cutting It, Boy Eats Girl and RocknRolla and quickly became a hit with Vera viewers, thanks to his brilliant on screen chemistry with BAFTA winner Brenda. It came as a shock to fans when he left and, Brenda has admitted that she was also gutted to see him go.

READ MORE: Riley Jones 'misses' Vera episode as fans urge him to stay safe

Vera's leading lady mentioned David when talking about her relationship with current partner in crime, Kenny Doughty, who has played DS Aiden Healy since series 5.

Ahead if the final episode of Vera's current run airing on Sunday, February 19, Brenda said: "Kenny is my mate, my buddy. I never thought I’d get over David Leon going in series four. That broke my heart.

Actress Brenda Blethyn, and actor David Leon, on the set of Vera which was being filmed in Newcastle on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 (Paul Norris)

"But Kenny is also a really good actor and a joy to work with. He’s great company on set along with the rest of the cast, the crew and the directors."

The first episode of series 12 saw another popular Vera star bow out of the ITV drama, when Paul Kaye appeared in his final scenes as pathologist DSR Malcolm Donahue, a brilliant sparring partner for Vera over the years.

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*Vera boss praises 'legend' Brenda Blethyn as character causes stir

*Loose Women's Ruth Langsford 'exposes' Coleen Nolan for savage off-camera jibe

*ITV Vera viewers call out drama over 'impossible' Newcastle error in latest episode

*Riley Jones 'misses' Vera episode as fans urge him to stay safe

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