Vera credited with bringing more tourists to Northumberland

TV detective Vera has had a positive impact on visitor numbers in Northumberland, tourism bosses have said

Brenda Blethyn as DCI Vera Stanhope
Brenda Blethyn as DCI Vera Stanhope

Visitors are flocking to the North East because they have been watching the TV series Vera, tourism chiefs have revealed.

The show, which stars Brenda Blethyn as Vera Stanhope, has been credited with playing its part in boosting the region’s economy.

Bosses say they have noticed a surge in interest following broadcasts.

And some fans from outside the area have been asking to be shown the locations featured in the two-hour episodes.

“There is evidence that Vera is attracting visitors to the North East,” said a spokeswoman for Northumberland Tourism.

“We have had inquiries to our email address asking to be directed to the town and even the particular streets featured in the show.

“There was a lot of interest when we did a Spot The Location item on Twitter.

“There is no doubt that Vera is doing her bit. The show has definitely had a positive impact on tourist numbers.”

One email asked to be directed to locations in the season four show On Harbour Street, which launched this year’s series, about the death of a pensioner on a Newcastle train during rush hour.

It said: “My family and I are visiting Northumberland this year and we would like to visit some of the places featured in the Vera TV series, in particular, the village featured in On Harbour Street.”

The inquirer was directed to sites in Newbiggin and Alnmouth.

Jude Leitch, general manager of Northumberland Tourism, said: “We aren’t able to measure the individual impact of each programme that features Northumberland, but every time the beautiful scenery of Northumberland is televised it helps spread the word about what a fantastic holiday destination Northumberland is.

“Thanks, in part to programmes aired recently including Vera, we are gearing up for a bumper summer following on from a fantastic Easter.

“Visitors to visitnorthumberland.com are already up 30% on average compared to 2013, with over 107,000 unique visitors in April alone.”

And it’s not just rural locations which fans have fallen in love with. Urban settings have also gathered interest.

Sarah Stewart, chief executive of destination management and marketing agency NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “Positive portrayals of NewcastleGateshead and the wider North East play an important part in raising the profile of our region’s iconic locations and stunning countryside.

“Primetime television shows, like Vera, reach millions of people every week and will no doubt increase interest in an area.

“Whilst we can’t measure the direct impact television programmes have in boosting tourism, anything that paints the region in a positive light certainly encourages more people to visit.”

Star Brenda said the choice of location was part of Vera’s success. She said: “Our locations manager, Andrew Bainbridge, never fails to surprise us.

“The storyline for the third film demanded one of the most beautiful areas of Northumberland and without fail he delivered Hadrian’s Wall with huge support and co-­operation from the site and their team.

“It was an incredible week filming at Northumberland’s National Park last September. It’s the first time the series has filmed at a major heritage site.

“Honestly, I was in awe of the dramatic landscapes surrounding us. It was absolutely breathtaking.”

Co-star David Leon, who plays DS Joe Ashworth, said: “To have these gritty, quite raw, but very beautiful settings and landscapes is quite unusual and much more akin to the Scandinavian dramas which make it very attractive to watch.”

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