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Sunday Slacker Video: The Very Watchable Vera

"She was a large woman, big bones amply covered, a bulbous nose, man-sized feet…Her face was blotched and pitted."
                                                                                                       The Crow Trap 

Not exactly Brenda Blethyn, who stars as Vera in the ITV production based on Ann Cleeves books! While Blethyn's Vera may be slightly bigger than average, and her feet a little clod-hoppery, her skin not only has zero blotches, it's downright peaches and cream. The promo piece above looks ever so slightly tweaked, a bit more lipstick than usual plus one of her rare smiles. While the program first aired in the UK in 2011, I've only just discovered Vera. I binged 3 episodes on Hulu Friday night, and I'm already on the second episode of season two! Brenda Blethyn has the cranky, brilliant and somewhat ungainly bag-lady detective down. Unlike the poster above, Vera Stanhope barely bothers with lipstick. And getting her to pose for a photo would be near impossible. But never mind.

That's a bit more like it. It's still a promo shot but see the difference in her lipstick here vs the poster for the program? When Vera does wear lipstick, it will soon be creeping into the crevices about her mouth. Vera's just not the type to fuss and bother with her looks. She looks the type to throw on whatever's clean, eschewing fashion in favor of comfort and expediency. And yet, all those scarves and dowdy print dresses that she wears with her eternal green trench coat ... could it be she deliberately pairs these odds and ends together? She ends up looking like she shops at Sally Ann's which you may know better as the Salvation Army thrift shop. Vera's lousy fashion sense is trumped only by her poor people skills. Self-involved, controlling, obsessed with the work, the business of solving crimes, she has a hard time connecting with people on a personal level. 

She's one big fabulous mess.

Below is a direct shot from the show; no lipstick, no retouching. Very Vera.

Characters We Love — Vera Stanhope

For today's Sunday Slacker video, here's the trailer for any other Vera virgins out there. Vera costars John Leon as DS Joe Ashford, the detective sergeant Vera prefers to partner with. The other two regular detectives who bear the brunt of Vera's bad humor are Jon Morrison as Kenny and Wanmu Mosaki as Holly. One of my favorite characters, who we luckily only see in small doses, is the dirty-mouthed coroner who makes all sorts off-color remarks played by Paul Ritter. Beyond that the station house is hilariously filled with extras who are never given any assignments and don't say a word but if you can ignore that —and I can—it's good stuff.

The other star is the gorgeous English landscape and coastal areas, simply irresistible. Tune in and settle back for yet another British detective show set in the English countryside. This time the setting is Northumberland; on the east coast,  in the north of England, so far north it's almost Scotland. You can hear the Scots seeping into the dialect too, with costar John Leon calling his children his "bern" and his lunch, his "butty.

I'm eating it up.