EXCLUSIVE: Vera star Brenda Blethyn says – ‘I’m no diva!’

Brenda Blethyn shares with New Idea how she's stayed grounded throughout her illustrous career.
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Brenda Blethyn has a confession to make – she once lost her alter ego Vera Stanhope’s iconic hat! “I didn’t dare own up to it,” the Vera star says with a laugh. “I was blaming the wardrobe department. Fortunately, I found it. I think [my dog] Jack found it, actually.”

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Along with the Detective Chief Inspector’s boots, Brenda, 77, says the khaki bucket hat has always been “important” to getting into character.

In fact, she was the one who purchased Vera’s hat, from a fishing shop stall in Newcastle, England, where the hit crime series is filmed.

“Right from the beginning, I knew the hat to get,” she shares.

Brenda Blethyn as Vera Stanhope and Kenny Doughty as DS Aiden Healy
(Credit: ITV)

It’s just like Brenda to go scrounging around for the perfect costume if it means her character will benefit from it.

Not afraid to muck in, she eschews the typical ideals of a Hollywood star and has a reputation for being an ‘anti-diva.’

When asked about her distinct lack of ego, Brenda says she’s “tried” having one “once or twice” over the years, but realised “it doesn’t get you anywhere. At least, it didn’t do me any good,” she says.

“So I don’t bother anymore.”

Brenda Blethyn at Golden Globes 1997
(Credit: Getty)

Despite Brenda receiving Oscar nominations in 1996 and 1998 for her roles in British films Secrets & Lies and Little Voice, Hollywood never really came calling for her.

She wouldn’t have minded doing a big blockbuster but says, “I just wasn’t asked to do them.”

Brenda was already 50 when she scored her role in Secrets & Lies. It was only her third film and netted her a Golden Globe Award.

“That was a turning point for me, but I never wanted 
to turn my back on theatre or television,” she recalls.

“I haven’t really been out of work since [I started working], except by choice. I consider myself really fortunate.”

Brenda Blethyn as Vera
(Credit: ITV)

In 2011, Brenda began starring in Vera, which is based on Ann Cleeves’ book series.

She didn’t anticipate that it would become the global success that it has and admits the immense fame the show has brought her can be “intrusive” at times.

“I don’t court that kind of publicity,” Brenda says candidly. Unless she’s got “something to sell”, the star is perfectly content living out of the spotlight with 
her second husband, art director Michael Mayhew.

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