Crime does pay for TV ex­tras in North East


Sunday Sun - - News - By Jack El­som Re­porter jack.el­[email protected]­

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

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