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Actress and writer Sally Lindsay has opened up about her love of the long-running ITV series Vera. The 49-year-old star, best known for her role as Shelley Unwin in Coronation Street, hailed the gritty crime drama based on Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope novels. Lindsay admitted she was a big fan of Vera and lead star Brenda Blethyn.
She said: “I love Vera. I think Brenda Blethyn is great. She’s brilliant. I think she’s a great actress anyway but I think what’s great about Brenda playing Vera is she’s very uncompromised as a character in her femaleness.
“So, she is what she is. She’s not dressed up. She’s not feminised in any way. She’s not glamorous in any way.
“She’s basically who she is when she does her job and I think we as the audience really take to that because we know it’s no-nonsense.
“We know she’s going to get to the crux of it. It’s another take on the female lead really. She takes no nonsense and she’s absolutely the boss of that station and she is absolutely the boss of her world, sometimes to her detriment though because she has to do everything herself but I think she’s a very watchable character.
“Because even in that grumpiness and sort of curmudgeonliness she’s very likeable, an extremely likeable person and it’s clear all her colleagues absolutely adore her as well and it’s quite a clever trick.”
Lindsay went on to say: “She’s a grumpy character to be honest. But she’s very, very loved and it’s a real trick. I think there’s only certain actors that can do that.”
Reflecting on Vera’s longevity with the show recently entering its 12 season, Lindsay said: “It’s a miracle if you think about it. It’s really clever. Also, it’s called ‘Vera’, so it doesn’t happen without her.
“It’s not like Death in Paradise where they can change the leads, it’s literally her. She’s running the show basically, which is quite a big deal.”
The actress said she was also open to appearing opposite Blethyn in Vera: “I don’t see why not. It might be a bit confusing with Madame Blanc. I love Brenda, she’s great, I’ve seen her over the years, she’s always been lovely to me.”
Lindsay is now the face of her own her own detective drama in Acorn’s The Madame Blanc Mysteries, portraying Cheshire antiques dealer Jean White, who cracks cases in the fictional village of Sainte Victoire in the South of France.
She hailed some of her other favourite female sleuths including Cagney and Lacey, pioneers of the genre back in the 1980s as well as Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, whom Lindsay said had been a big influence on her when she was writing The Madame Blanc Mysteries.
Lindsay said: “Most of my telling of Jean White, my character, I think is a derivative of Miss Marple because Jean’s very normal but she has almost such a quick silver brain when it comes to antiques and when it comes to observation. But also because she looks like everyone else, people don’t see her as a threat.”
The Madame Blanc Mysteries is into its second season with Lindsay both on writing duties and playing the lead.
She said the reception to her series had been a positive one and reflected on the future of the cosy drama.
Lindsay said: “If we do it again, it’ll be more of the same. I think the formula – and it is a formulaic show and I’m very happy with it – I think people really like the formula.”
She continued: “But also what people love is the intricacy of the plots as well and the little history lesson, that’s what I’ve been getting from [viewers].
“Also, Dom and Jean’s relationship, that may or may not progress, I’ll make my mind up when it comes to it. I think at the moment, it’s only two seasons up to now, so we’re early days really but it seems to be growing in popularity with this formula.
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“So at the moment, I’m not going to fix anything that’s not broken. Obviously, I will do lots of different things but it’s doing alright at the moment.”
Lindsay, who runs her own production company Saffron Cherry Productions, is busy working on a whole raft of other projects.
In terms of acting, she will be appearing in Channel 5’s forthcoming series Love Rat, which comes out later this year.
She is also working on The Dales Detective, based on the international best-selling book series by Julia Chapman, which is in development.
Lindsay said The Dales Detective, which is set in Yorkshire, was in the “same vein as Madame Blanc but a little bit darker”.
Streaming platform Acorn TV has a whole host of crime dramas including female sleuths for audiences to get stuck into:
- 1. Harry Wild
- 2. Miss Marple
- 3. Jean White (The Madame Blanc Mysteries)
- 4. Agatha Raisin
- 5. Catherine Cawood (Happy Valley)
- 6. Pearl Nolan (Whitstable Pearl)
- 7. Vera Stanhope
- 8. D.S. Ellie Miller (Broadchurch)
The Madame Blanc Mysteries Series 1 & 2 available on DVD & streaming on Acorn TV
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