Brenda Blethyn, who plays DI Vera Stanhope in ITV detective series, is set to tackle a new and dangerous investigation this Christmas. The festive fun will have to wait as Vera and her team unravel a web of lies to solve a case.

In the upcoming Christmas special, Vera is called to investigate an apparent suicide, leaving no time for holiday treats like Secret Santa and mince pies. The case takes a twist when it becomes clear that the victim was actually murdered.

The victim, Rick Kelasall, died during a reunion with old friends, a tradition they've kept for 40 years. Did someone finally lose their patience with him, or did a scandal from his past lead to his untimely death?

As Vera delves deeper into the case, she must uncover the killer's motive – was it greed, revenge, or something more sinister?With the murderer potentially willing to go to great lengths to hide their crime, are Vera and her team in danger? Will they all make it to Christmas?

While a tragic death will occur, fans of the series will be thrilled to hear Kenny Doughty, who plays Detective Sergeant Aiden Healy, will be back on screen after he announced his departure earlier this year.

In March, he posted a snap of himself with co-star Brenda and penned: "After 8 years & 35 Vera films I’ve made the difficult decision of handing over DS Healy’s badge. I can confirm I am leaving Vera.

"I want to thank everyone who’s made this amazing time so joyous, ITV, Silverprint, all the brilliant cast and crew BUT of course my buddy & inspiration Brenda Blethyn. The perfect leading star who I owe so much to.

"I feel lucky to have you as a friend, you make me howl with laughter & have been a rock for me over the years. I can’t thank you enough. Precious times.

"And finally the Vera fans: without you and your support I would never have made so many films. You really are the best fans in the world. Thank you so much for your loyalty & love for the show. X."

Meanwile, David Leon, who played DS Joe Ashworth, is set to make a big comeback to the show.

Brenda said about Kenny and Ibinabo's departure: "It's been such a pleasure to work alongside Kenny and Ibinabo. They've both been terrific members of the Vera team, and I'll miss them. I'm absolutely over the moon to welcome David back to the show and can't wait to get started."

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