Vera star Kenny Doughty talks about DS Aiden Healy’s strongman approach to policing and having fun on set with Brenda Blethyn…

How did you feel about joining Vera, replacing David Leon’s Joe Ashworth, as Vera’s new sergeant, Aiden Healy?

“I came into Vera as a fan of the show and, with Aiden, I wanted to create a character that was different and fresh, not just emulating what David had created with Joe, because I do think that Joe Ashworth and Aiden Healy are very different people. They’ve got very different objectives and intentions.”

How would you describe Aiden’s approach to policing?

“Aiden’s often direct and sees things quite logically, which is kind of a different approach to Vera’s genius. He’s sometimes a little bit cheeky, so he’s very quickly on the receiving end of Vera’s wit. But he’s not too disrespectful – he’s got a lovely energy and there’s a little twinkle about him.”

How have you found working with Brenda Blethyn, who plays Vera?

“Brenda’s absolutely world class! I’ve worked with some amazing actors like Cate Blanchett, Anthony Hopkins and Geoffrey Rush and I have to say that my experience with Brenda and the fun I’ve had tops all that. She never ceases to amaze me, she’s so inventive. She’s incredible!”

We hear that the two of you played games during filming…

“Yeah, we did! She’s phenomenal at puzzles – so we’d either do that or we might be improvising or doing silly dances. Brenda’s been in the business a long time, but she’s never lost that sense of joy, fun or play.”

In this Sunday’s third episode, the victim turns out to be a member of the travelling community. What do Vera and Aiden uncover?

“Vera and Aiden discover the travelling community is a world shrouded in secrecy. The families here don’t want to share anything, least of all with the police.”

And we know that, at one point, Aiden grapples a suspect to the ground…

“Aiden has a tendency to jump straight into situations with his size 9s. He has a slight air of bravado about him, but this is a new job for Aiden, so he’s just trying to impress Vera. But he soon becomes smarter and realises you don’t necessarily have to chase everybody down.”

Is it a bit of a boyhood dream for you, playing a detective and chasing suspects?

“It is because I’ve never played one! But aside from the physical stuff, the way that detectives think and observe can be quite obsessive, so I’ve really enjoyed the whole research process and finding out what makes these people tick.”

We hear you’re due to start filming series six of Vera in Northumberland shortly…

“I know! I’m genuinely very happy and proud of what we’ve done this series and I hope viewers are loving it, just like they’ve done before. I feel like Aiden fits nicely into this world and brings something different. And I get to do it all again in series six, which I can’t wait for.”

Vera continues on Sundays at 8pm on ITV.