Vera, the new TV crime series starring Brenda Blethyn, which is based on a splendid series of books by Ann Cleeves, is coming to our screens in the UK very soon. The first episode will be shown on ITV at 8 pm on Sunday, 1 May. There are to be three more episodes in succeeding weeks, and assuming the ratings are good (and I'm sure they will be great, given the strength of the cast and the storylines), another series will follow at a later date.
I'm enormously pleased about this, because I have been enjoying Ann's books since her writing (and my book reviewing) began in the late 1980s. We met through the Crime Writers' Association a few years later, and have been friends ever since. She has written many very enjoyable books, but her career really took off after she won the CWA Gold Dagger for Raven Black.
Vera Stanhope first appeared in The Crow Trap, a novel which I read and reviewed at the time of its original publication. I felt at the time that she was a wonderful character who deserved a series of her own, and although I think I'm right in saying that Ann did not originally intend Vera to be a long-running series character, I'm sure the TV series will prove that, for once at any rate, I was ahead of the game!