Was a bit depressing Veras Brenda Blethyn recalls being lonely while filming for role

Brenda Blethyn gives an update on upcoming series of Vera

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Brenda Blethyn is best known for her role as DCI Stanhope on the ITV series Vera and she stole the hearts of the nation. She began her career at the age of 27 before landing the role of Vera in 2011, going on to make 11 series. However, in 1996 she was cast as Cynthia in the film Secrets and Lies and has recalled how she felt “lonely” during filming.

Speaking to Reverend Richard Coles and Aasmah Mir on the Saturday Live podcast, Brenda opened up about her time on the film.

Richard began: “That character Cynthia you played, she was so recognisable, her fretfulness, her worry, the sense that her life was tough and then all of a sudden an arrival.

“You think of all these programmes that reunite long lost people and the sort of mythology that it is always going to be an easy and good experience, and of course, in reality, they are often difficult.”

Agreeing, Brenda explained: “Yeah, they probably aren’t all wonderfully happy, the sad thing about that, I’m a successful actress.

“When we were making Secrets and Lies, I would drive home in my nice car, to my lovely home with a meal waiting for me, but I would drive through a part of London that populated people in Cynthia’s circumstances.

“And I didn’t know whether to be happy or sad, so it was a bit depressing in a way and also I was, because of the nature of the character in my work on the film, the research was on my own.

“It was a bit of a lonely process, apart from the bits I filmed with Timothy Spall, who I absolutely adore, he is one of my best friends.

“So it made you think more deeply about how hard it must be for people who have hardly any income, how do they make ends meet?”

Secrets & Lies is a 1996 drama film written and directed by Mike Leigh.

The film follows Hortense (played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a well-educated black middle-class London optometrist who was adopted as a baby and traces her family history.

She discovers her birth mother, Cynthia, is a working-class white woman with a dysfunctional family.

Claire Rushbrook co-stars as Cynthia’s other daughter Roxanne, while Timothy Spall and Phyllis Logan portray Cynthia’s brother and sister-in-law, who have secrets of their own affecting their everyday family life.

Brenda also opened up about her choice to become an actress and explained: “It wasn’t something I craved for or something I dreamed for at all.

“I did what most girls did in those days and became a secretary, and it was whilst I was working at British Rail, the freight marketing department.

“Somebody came in and said, ‘Oh, can you help us out? We’re entering a drama competition, the amateur dramatics and somebody has gotten sick, can you do it, please? There’s only one line’.

“And I thought, I couldn’t do that, get on a stage, but they were persuasive, and I did it, and I loved the whole experience.

“It never entered my head I would ever be on television or in a film in a cinema.”

Production for the latest series of Vera was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic meaning the episodes were forced to be spread apart.

The first two instalments were shown in 2021, followed by the second, which aired in January of this year.

Fans have been eager to find out when the final episodes will air, with ITV bosses recently confirming that they settled on a date for when the series will end but have given no clue about a broadcast date.

Vera series 1-11 is available to watch on ITV Hub.

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