BritBox Announces Vera Christmas Special & a Sad Farewell

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Last Updated on November 21, 2023 by Stefanie Hutson

Though Vera has never been one of those shows that produces Christmas specials (like Call the Midwife or Mrs. Brown's Boys), there's a first time for everything – and this year, we're getting the first-ever Vera Christmas special. 

When Will the Vera Christmas Special Air?

Vera returns in December for a Christmas special

In the US, the Vera Christmas special will air on December 20th on BritBox. Keep in mind that if you subscribe through a third-party service (like Amazon), there's always a chance of slight delays (usually no more than 12-24 hours) before it appears.

In the UK, the special will air on ITV1 as part of their Christmas programming, date TBA.

What's Happening in the Vera Christmas Special?

Brenda Blethyn returns to the role of DI Vera Stanhope

Though not every Vera episode is based on one of Ann Cleeves' novels (there simply aren't enough of them), this one is. The upcoming feature-length Christmas special will be based on last year's hit, The Rising Tide

Though there are always differences when a book moves to the screen, the premise should be roughly the same. Basically, it follows a group of friends who've been getting together for reunions on Holy Island for the last 50 years. The island is where they all met, and returning is a way to pay tribute to one of their friends who died in the rising causeway. 

For those not familiar with UK geography, this is a good place to mention that Holy Island (aka Lindisfarne) is a tidal island. If you don't coordinate your travel with the tides, you can be swept out to sea – and while it's been a while since anyone died in the tides, it's not unheard of for cars to take unnecessary chances and need rescuing.

If you find that fascinating, we can also recommend checking out LJ Ross's crime novel Holy Island, episode 2 of the first season of Penelope Keith's Hidden Coastal Villages, and David and Debra Rixon's Footloose in Northumberland

But back to Vera and The Rising Tide – the reunions are all well and good until the latest one, when one of their friends is found hanged. Vera is called in, and she finds out the dead man was recently fired after accusations of misconduct. Vera senses something is off with the explanations she's getting, and she suspects the friends are hiding crucial details. Constrained by time and tide, with long-buried secrets rising to the surface, she'll have to work fast to solve the mystery and keep herself and her team safe.

It's too soon to know how much the adaptation will stick to the book's details, or whether there will be any overt mentions of Christmas, but we won't have a long wait to find out.

What's the Sad Farewell About?

Familiar faces will be coming and going in the upcoming Vera Christmas special

Sadly, Kenny Doughty has decided to leave his role as DS Aiden Healy after eight years. Ibinabo Jac will also be leaving the role of DC Jac Williams. What we don't know, of course, is how they'll leave – and we strongly suspect that information will remain under wraps until the special airs.

In better news, however, Vera's original sidekick, David Leon, will be making a return as Joe Ashworth. Others who appear alongside Blethyn will be Jon Morrison as DC Kenny Lockhart, Riley Jones as DC Mark Edwards, and Sarah Kameela Impey as Dr. Paula Bennett.

Guest stars for the Christmas special will include Clare Holman, Jake Ashton-Nelson, Adrian Mills, Suzette Llewellyn, Brian Bovell, Orlessa Altass, Phil Cornwell, Adrian Rawlins, Kate Isitt, Felicity Dean, Natasha Patel, Sara Powell, Cora Kirk, Martin Turner, Eric Richard, Phillippa Wilson, Liz Crowther, Sam Halpenny and Peter Peverley.

Will There Be More Vera?

Yes – the Christmas special is not the end. Though dates haven't yet been announced, a further 3 feature-length episodes are expected in 2024 (season 13). At present, there's no word on whether there will be a season 14.

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