When does Vera season 12 start, how many episodes in season 11 and what to expect from the atmospheric Ann Cleeves drama's return

Vera season 12 is almost here following the triumphant return of season 11 as Brenda Blethyn's no-nonsense detective faces intense cases

When does Vera season 12 start? Seen here are stars Brenda Blethyn and Kenny Doughty
(Image credit: ITV STUDIOS FOR ITV1)

We’ve been waiting a year for Vera season 12 but season 11 has also just returned and it seems book fans are also in for a treat now the Ann Cleeves drama is back.

Inspired by bestselling author Ann Cleeves’ eponymous book series, ITV’s Vera has gained legions of fans since it first landed in 2011. Following determined raincoat-wearing DCI Vera Stanhope who has no time for beating around the bush, each two-hour-long episode focuses on a different case. If you loved the contained style and dynamic puzzle-solving you see from Nikki and Jack in Silent Witness then Vera might be the next mystery to catch your eye. The North-East set mystery’s eleventh season has been spaced out and now Vera season 12 is following closely behind and is apparently set to feature some direct book-to-show adapted storylines. 

Here we clear up any confusion about the number of episodes in Vera season 11, when Vera season 12 is set to start and how to watch them both as we await what lies in store…

*Warning: spoilers ahead*

BRENDA BLETHYN as DCI Vera Stanhope,HUGH QUARSHIE as Dr Leon Parmer and FRANCES GREY as Olivia Parmer.

(Image credit: ITV STUDIOS FOR ITV1)

How many episodes of Vera season 11 are there?

Just like fellow crime drama Shetland season 7 - coincidentally another Ann Cleeves-based drama - Vera season 11 has six episodes. This is two more than past Vera seasons have had and confusion might well have arisen amongst fans as Vera season 11 didn’t air in one go. Instead, Vera season 11 has kind of mirrored Yellowstone season 5 taking a hiatus. The ITV drama has been released in three sections as Vera season 11 premiered in August 2021 but only the first two episodes landed that month in the UK.

Following their release there was then a break of four months before episodes 3 and 4 brought us right back into the world of the brilliantly blunt and ever-determined DCI Stanhope in January 2022. Now finally after a further year of anxious waiting, Vera season 11 episodes 5 and 6 are airing in the UK.

BRENDA BLETHYN as DCI Vera Stanhope.

(Image credit: ITV STUDIOS FOR ITV1)

It’s understood that the initial delay in the release of the eleventh instalment was down to pandemic filming restrictions and production being halted. Reports suggested that the decision was taken to release the six episodes spaced out rather than weekly in the UK. It’s not clear why the second delay happened as ITV’s Trigger Point and The Good Karma Hospital took the show’s slots. Thankfully, whatever the reason for the delay, we don’t have to wait any more. 

Episode 5 landed on ITV1 and ITVX on Sunday, January 15 with the Vera season 11 finale set to air on Sunday, January 22. So there’s plenty of time for fans to re-watch their favorite season 11 moments before settling in for the new releases.  

When does Vera season 12 start?

Whilst the time-frame of Vera season 11’s release might have left fans waiting for many months for its final episode, all that patience does lead to one massive benefit - there’s only a week between the Vera season 11 finale and Vera season 12 starting on January 29th 2023! The upcoming season will premiere on ITV1, seamlessly continuing to fill thriller-fans’ Sunday evenings with more of the no-nonsense DCI Vera Stanhope.

What can we expect from Vera season 12? 

Thankfully the first thing we can expect from Vera season 12 is, of course, Vera! DCI Vera Stanhope has been played by BAFTA-winning Brenda Blethyn since season 1 and if you’ve read Ann Cleeves’ Vera books you’ll know there’s no-one who could bring this character to life better than her. DCI Stanhope is very much a part of season 12, as is DS Aiden Healy and the rest of the gang. 

When it comes to plot we can expect, it’s not yet clear exactly what the storylines will be for the whole of the next season though there have been some details dropped. 

BRENDA BLETHYN as DCI Vera Stanhope and KENNY DOUGHTY as DS Aiden Healy

(Image credit: ITV STUDIOS FOR ITV1)

The Vera show has regularly deviated from Ann Cleeves’ original book series to develop in different ways like replacing DS Joe Ashworth with DS Aiden Healy when Joe’s actor David Leon left the show and DC Holly Lawson’s departure storyline.

Though the ITV series has adapted the likes of Harbour Street, The Moth Catcher and Hidden Depths and The Seagull formed the season 9 finale episode. There are two more recent books in the series after this - The Darkest Evening and The Rising Tide - which provide plenty of material that could be brought to life by the talented cast. 

In the first Vera is driving home when she discovers a baby abandoned in a car whilst The Rising Tide focuses on a group of old friends whose annual reunion on Holy Island ends in disaster. And it seems like these two gripping book plots *are* going to crop up in season 12.

BRENDA BLETHYN as DCI Vera Stanhope,KENNY DOUGHTY as DS Aiden Healy and ISSEY KING as Martha Parmer

(Image credit: ITV STUDIOS FOR ITV1)

Each episode is expected to be standalone like the ones that have gone before and according to RadioTimes.com, Brenda Blethyn teased to ITV that both these book storylines will feature and there’s going to be more episodes than usual.

"There’s been a little wait but Vera fans can look forward to six new feature length episodes, instead of the usual four. To be followed by a seventh film – The Rising Tide – later in the year, which we only finished filming just before Christmas. That’s based on the latest Ann Cleeves’ Vera novel of the same name which was published in September. We began making that in November and wrapped in December,” she explained.

So it seems like fans can expect a special additional episode and Vera season 12 will also include the 50th episode of the ITV drama.

BRENDA BLETHYN as DCI Vera Stanhope and PAUL KAYE as Malcolm Donahue

(Image credit: ITV STUDIOS FOR ITV1)

The actor added, “The six new films also include an adaptation of Ann’s previous book, The Darkest Evening, which marks the 50th episode of Vera. I feel rather proud of having reached the landmark of 50 episodes, now having filmed 51 in total. I think it’s wonderful. A great achievement for everyone involved. Ten of those 51 films are based on the books by Ann Cleeves. She has created such well defined characters, allowing the other story writers to bring them to life on screen as well."

There will also apparently be new storylines that include a body being discovered on a remote lighthouse and the case of an ex-soldier.

We also know that Vera season 12 will once again be set against the atmospheric backdrop of North East England, with Vera’s police force based in Newcastle. This flair for making settings so significant is something Ann Cleeves specialises in, from Vera to Shetland and The Long Call.  

How to watch Vera seasons 11 and 12 

If you’ve yet to watch the latest episode of Vera season 11 or want to be ready to jump on Vera season 12 as soon as the first episode lands then the place to head is ITV1 and ITVX. When it starts, each episode of Vera season 12 can be watched on ITV1 at 8pm-10pm and streamed afterwards on ITVX. Whilst all episodes of Vera season 11 that have aired so far are also ready and waiting to be watched via ITV’s on-demand platform.

KENNY DOUGHTY as DS Aiden Healy.

(Image credit: ITV STUDIOS FOR ITV1)

Unlike Channel 4’s The Light in the Hall and Kaleidoscope on Netflix, each Vera episode is only available to watch on ITVX *after* it airs and not all at once. This means that unless you wait until all the episodes have been broadcast, you can’t race through every episode in one sitting, creating more anticipation to draw us back to this long-running Ann Cleeves drama.

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use , Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!