Brenda Blethyn reckons ITV crime drama Vera is popular because people can relate to her.

As Brenda returns as DCI Vera Stanhope for a fifth series of investigations on Sunday night, she told What’s on TV: “I’ve a great affection for Vera, she’s a very ordinary character, she’s not a fashion icon, she’s not a model. You feel like you know someone like Vera, she’s not beyond your reach, she’s not beyond you having a chat with her, whether you’re highbrow or a dunce!”

With series six of Vera due to start filming in Northumberland shortly, Brenda’s thrilled by the show’s continued success.

“It is rather flattering when people reel off all these wonderful TV detectives and Vera’s in there amongst them,” she said. “We’re delighted that it’s doing so well and there doesn’t seem to be any talk of it stopping at the moment. Except I’ll have to stop at some point – they’ll have to pension me off!”

Vera premieres on Easter Sunday, April 5, at 8pm on ITV.

Watch our interview with Brenda Blethyn, above…