ITV has recently announced its Christmas TV schedule for 2023 which will feature none other than Vera.

Brenda Blethyn will be back as the beloved North East detective DCI Vera Stanhope for the festive special and there is one much-loved character who will also be returning alongside her.

Joining her team once again in The Rising Tide will be PC Billy Billington who is played by Jake Ashton-Nelson.

He originally starred in Vera as an officer at the police station who was based on the front desk a few series ago.

However, this time he is taking on a role within the CID team.

Brenda praised Jake’s acting in the upcoming episode, as she told The Mirror: “Jake is terrific in this. He played an officer on the police station front desk in a previous episode.

“Somebody had come in to report something but he thought they were time wasting and sent them away.

“Vera really tore him off a strip for that. She told him to listen to what people had to say as it threw a spanner in the works for solving that particular case.”

She added: “So we come to this episode and Billy has put in for secondment to CID. Vera is going to give him a chance but he exasperates her. He’s very funny.

“Vera is his boss but there’s also an element of mothering in her relationship with Billy.

“She tries to guide him in the right direction but gives him a hard time. Mind you, Vera gives all of her team a hard time.”

Brenda Blethyn reveals touching moment in one of DS Kenny Doughty's final Vera scenes

Meanwhile, as the ITV show gains a new character, a much-loved one is sadly leaving.

Aiden Healy will be playing the part of DS Kenny Doughty for one final time, as he is exiting the programme after seven years as Vera’s famous sidekick.

Brenda commented: "I was sad when he said he was leaving. He’s my mate. We had filmed eight series together. I’ve never laughed so hard as I did with Kenny Doughty. Vera and Aiden became very close over the years.

"It’s not surprising because she spent most of her time with him at work. And it was a good working relationship between the two characters as well as liking each other.

“Kenny and I kept each other company between scenes during long days, weeks and months of filming. As well as at weekends because we were both working away from home. It’s total commitment.

“Kenny was also my neighbour in the apartments where I stay during filming. I’ll miss him and wish him well."

Cambs Times: Will you be watching Aiden Healy playing the part of DS Kenny Doughty for one final time?Will you be watching Aiden Healy playing the part of DS Kenny Doughty for one final time? (Image: Stuart Wood/ITV)

But Kenny will be given quite the memory as he prepares to leave the series which was recently nominated for a National Television Award (NTA).

Speaking about his final scenes, Brenda revealed: “Aiden gets to drive Vera’s Land Rover on his own across the causeway to Holy Island. Not many people get to drive her car. That was a special treat for Kenny.

"Mind you, Vera is very keen that he doesn’t scratch her motor. Although I’m not sure you would notice if he did!"

When is ITV Vera Christmas special on TV?

ITV’s Vera Christmas special titled The Rising Tide will air on ITV1 on December 26 (Boxing Day) at 8pm.