Crime does pay for TV extras in North East
HIT CRIME DRAMA CREATES THOUSANDS OF JOBS IN REGION
THE television smash-hit Vera has created more than 1,200 jobs in the North East for fame-hungry locals looking to get their face on camera.
ITV’S popular crime drama is set and filmed all over the North East and follows the investigations of fictional detective Vera Stanhope of Northumberland & City Police.
As well as starring award-winning actress Brenda Blethyn, hundreds of North Easterners have appeared on the small screen in background roles such as Metro cleaners, solicitors and police officers.
These extras are all from the area and have not only benefited from casual employment but are lucky enough to mix with some famous faces on set.
Syed Shah, who appears in the fourth episode of the show, managed to take a picture with some of the cast during a break from filming.
The 47-year-old from Elswick, Newcastle, said: “It was great fun. I was in the police station on set, walking behind Brenda Blethyn as she said her lines.
“During a break one of the other supporting artists asked for a photo, so the cast posed together and I joined!
“It is a lovely memento to have from the show. I had a really enjoyable time.”
Durham University student Alex Duckett-pike, 28, appears in this Sunday’s episode - Blindspot - as a commuter.
He said: “I had never done anything like this before and it was such an amazing experience.
“Vera is a fantastic show and features so many iconic spots in the region - I am looking forward to seeing them and trying to spot myself when the programme airs this weekend!”
Syed, Alex, and the hundreds of extras are all sourced by local casting agency NE14.TV which is based in Ouseburn, Newcastle.
The show’s ninth series, which airs on Sunday nights, was shot between May and October last year in numerous North Eastern locations such as Blanchland, Northumberland.
Bessie Williams, the agency’s owner, said that they have enjoyed working with the ITV production and felt that it showcased the North East in a positive light.
She said: “It is fantastic that a show as popular as Vera is able to show off just what we have in the North East to the rest of the country and beyond.
“But it is not just the stunning scenery and locations, the North East is a hotbed of talented actors, actresses and production crew.”
Bessie believes that more production companies will be attracted to filming in the region because it benefits from a diverse settings and it’s not difficult to travel from the coast to a city to the countryside.
NE14.TV also provided the extras for Ken Loach’s 2016 movie I, Daniel Blake which debuted on the BBC last week.
■ Brenda Blethyn and the cast of Vera, which starts tonight
■ Actress Brenda Blethyn during filming of Vera in Wallsend, North Tyneside