It’s another case of a TV ver­sion of a Vera crime ad­ven­ture

BARBARA HODG­SON FINDS OUT WHY THE WRITER OF THE SE­RIES IS ON A HIGH

The Chronicle - - What’s On -

THE lat­est Vera novel has been snapped up for the next se­ries of the hit crime drama, it has been an­nounced.

The Seag­ull – the most re­cent of the award-win­ning Vera Stan­hope books by Ann Cleeves – is prov­ing to be the most suc­cess­ful so far.

Set in the au­thor’s home town of Whit­ley Bay, and part-in­spired by the chatty cus­tomers in her lo­cal pub, it sees de­tec­tive Vera open up a cold case af­ter find­ing two skele­tons – one of them a sus­pected miss­ing per­son – in the sea­side town.

Each year Ann al­ter­nates be­tween writ­ing a Vera book and one for her Shet­land se­ries, which also in­spired a TV adap­ta­tion, but she never quite knows which sto­ries, or in which or­der, will be picked up by mak­ers of the pop­u­lar ITV1 Vera se­ries, which stars Brenda Blethyn.

But this time, with work cur­rently un­der way in the re­gion on shoot­ing new episodes of the drama, Sil­ver print Pic­tures has an­nounced its plans to adapt The Seag­ull for the ninth se­ries, which is due to hit screens in 2019.

The most re­cent se­ries was the most viewed ITV drama for the first quar­ter of 2018, av­er­ag­ing 8.4 mil­lion view­ers.

And its mak­ers know they will be on to another win­ner with a story based on what is the best-per­form­ing ti­tle in Ann’s 31-year writ­ing ca­reer. The Seag­ull has clocked up the high­est ever hard­back and ebook sales and it spent three weeks in the top 10 on its pa­per­back pub­li­ca­tion.

The up­com­ing adap­ta­tion, which will also be called The Seag­ull, is to be the fourth episode of the next se­ries – and its cre­ator wel­comed the news.

Ann said: “To have my work so ex­pertly brought to life by dou­ble Os­car nom­i­nee Brenda Blethyn and the tal­ented team at Sil­ver­print is fan­tas­tic.”

She added: “I am so proud of Vera; long may she show­case the beauty and won­der of Northumberland and con­tinue to be per­fect Sun­day night watch­ing.’

Her edi­tor at Pan Macmil­lan, Vicki Mel­lor, is also de­lighted at the de­ci­sion to adapt what she calls “an in­tensely per­sonal story for the won­der­ful Vera Stan­hope”.

She said: “We are so proud of all that Ann has achieved and look for­ward, along with all her fans, to see­ing how Brenda and the rest of the fan­tas­tic cast bring this story to life on screen.’

The cast and crew of the long-run­ning crime se­ries are known to en­joy their stays in the North East dur­ing the shoot­ing of the se­ries and they al­ways re­ceive a warm re­cep­tion from lo­cal fans.

Sil­ver­print Pic­tures ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Phil Hunter said: “It’s al­ways a thrill to be back in pro­duc­tion on Vera af­ter months of devel­op­ing scripts. It’s fan­tas­tic see­ing the Vera fam­ily re­united.

“The love there [in the re­gion] for Vera con­tin­ues to in­spire and fuel the en­thu­si­asm of ev­ery­one in­volved in the show. Film­ing in the re­gion is a joy and the won­der­ful thing is that there is still so much more to ex­plore.”

Film­ing Vera in Al­n­mouth

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