Vera star had discussion with bosses over character change ‘Bit of reluctance’

Brenda Blethyn recalls 'losing her Vera hat' on set

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Earlier this year, Vera fans were treated to two episodes of series 11 as it made a return to ITV. DCI Vera Stanhope (played by Brenda Blethyn) and her right-hand man Aidan Healy (Kenny Doughty) were back to investigate another gruesome murder. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, viewers had to wait to watch the remaining four episodes of series 11, which is due to air in January.

Throughout the first two instalments, fans quickly became distracted by character Mark Edwards’ appearance. 

The actor who plays the police officer usually dons a head of blonde hair, however, during the new series, he decided to make the bold move in shaving his head.

In an exclusive interview with, Riley Jones explained the reason behind his character change.

He went on to add that he was met with a bit of “reluctance” when speaking to ITV bosses about it.

Speaking about his decision to shave his hair off, Riley openly admitted: “It started to go thin in all honesty.

“It was on its way out and to be honest, I could have probably held on to it for maybe the next five to 10 years.

“But I just think when it starts to go like that… I mean each to their own but for me personally, I think I’d rather take control.

“And rather than it growing gradually thinner and thinner, I just thought ‘you know what I’m just gonna I’m just going to embrace it and take control’.”

The 33-year-old went on to explain that he had to discuss with Vera bosses before he made the bold move.

“It was a little bit of a discussion,” the actor continued. “And if I just wanted to shave it for the sake of I think they probably would have said ‘can you not do that because you know continuity is important’ even if it is across different series.

“It is still a character that people know and loves and there’s always a reluctance to change that. 

“But I think because it was coming from a place of, I want to do this because I’ll feel better about it.”

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“And so, we kind of had that discussion and again, there was a little bit of reluctance, but I mean, it’s going to go eventually so why not just get it done now,” Riley added.

The Mark Edwards star went on to admit he was worried about how fans would react to the dramatic change.

He said: “It’s quite a different look and so, you are worried that viewers get used to characters and they love characters a certain way.

“So, there is always that kind of like worry when you change something and how it going to be received.”



The remaining episodes of series 11 will begin on January 9.

Kenny Doughty, who plays Aiden Healy took to social media to share the exciting news with his followers.

“This is exciting NEWS!!!!!!” the actor penned in view of his 24,000 followers.

The announcement left fans delighted and many were quick to reply to Kenny’s post.

Kay wrote: “No way, really? Well, that’s fab news, woohoo.”

While Olivia tweeted: “Cannot wait for a new series. Best programme on tv by far!”

Vera returns to ITV in January.

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