RESIDENTS in the city where hit police drama Vera is filmed say life isn’t too far from the show.
While Newcastle may seem like a safe, friendly area, locals reckon it’s sometimes much closer to Brenda Blethyn’s crime-ridden patch – with murders happening on their doorsteps.
11Kate Collon, 42, lives in the city where hit crime drama Vera is filmedCredit: NNP11Star Brenda Blethyn on Newcastle Quayside next to the Swing BridgeCredit: NNP11Ruby Carter, 18, said there was a murder on her streetCredit: NNPThe popular ITV programme sees DCI Vera Stanhope, played by Blethyn, investigate a grisly death in each of its episodes, which are set in the Toon and and the wider North East.
Despite the series’ portrayal of gritty streets, Geordies say the city is mostly welcoming and secure.
However, away from the centre, they speak of hard crime taking place close to their homes.
Ruby Carter, a maths student at Newcastle University, said: “There isn’t a murder every week like there is in the show, but there was a murder in my street.
“I think it was a one off so it didn’t make me worry about my safety. I brushed it off.
“Overall I feel very safe here. There’s crime but not enough to warrant a show about a detective solving crimes.”
The 18-year-old added that it was “really cool” to have TV crews in the city as it “puts Newcastle on the map”.
But she reckons the area is much more well-known for Geordie Shore than it is for Vera, which was first broadcast in 2011.
Nick Turner, 36, from nearby Blyth, Northumberland, also described a worrying incident that Blethyn’s character would likely love to investigate – though insisted the region’s not as riddled with crime as DCI Stanhope’s.
He said: “I know there was a body found behind a Morrisons in my local area a couple of weeks ago, but it isn’t usually like that.
“It isn’t like how it’s portrayed on the show. Everyone is really friendly around here.”
Nick added: “It’s great that the show is based in the North East. The area has a lot going for it.
“They actually filmed a Vera scene a couple of streets down from me where I live.
“I was on holiday at the time but when I came back the road was taped off and we had to wait to be let back in.”
The North East metropolis is filled with high-end stores, cocktail bars and restaurants which rarely feature on screen.
But the stunning Quayside, an iconic hotspot where tourists rush to take in the river views, is a prime filming location.
Vera can often be seen leaning against the railings with a coffee, chatting to her sidekick DS Aiden Healy, played by Kenny Doughty.
GANGS AND CRIME
Married couple Maureen and Syd Field are regular viewers of the drama, which so far has 50 episodes.
Retired prosthetic technician Syd, 69, said: “It’s fun to watch it on the TV and spot different places you know. That’s why I watch it.
“I saw them filming on the moors once while I was walkingmy dogs.
“It was great to see. They had a full set up and caravans for the stars.”
Maureen, a retired nurse added: “Newcastle isn’t riddled with crime. The people are lovely.
“I’m sure there are gangs and crimes that happen in the city but it’s just like everywhere else.
“It’s a really lovely place to live, some of the scenery in the show is beautiful, especially up in Northumberland.
“It’s really great for the area to have a show like Vera set here.”
It’s not a gritty northern town as is portrayed. Chrystal Davis
One of the things the 71-year-old loves most about the series, based on novels by Ann Cleeves, is Blethyn’s Geordie accent.
“She certainly does it justice,” Maureen said.
“Sometimes people make us look like characters but that isn’t the case with her.”
Like Syd and Maureen, Chrystal Davis agreed that Newcastle has a negative reputation but in reality it’s not always like that.
“It’s not a gritty northern town as is portrayed, it’s a very modern city,” the business and management student at Northumbria University, 19, said.
“I feel safer here than I do in other cities such as Manchester and Liverpool.
“There’s a nice atmosphere here, and random people will help me on nights out whereas they’ve never done that elsewhere.
“It’s great for the area to be featured in such a big show and it does have a close community feel like Vera does.
“Everyone knows each other which I was surprised at in a big city.
“Plus, it’s really beautiful. The Quayside is the best area.”
And Kate Collon, 42, who moved to the northern city from London and is currently unemployed, said: “Everyone is really lovely, friendly and approachable.
“I feel safer here than I do in London.”
While locals may feel safe, the crime rate in Newcastle has increased in the last two years.
Officials figures show there were 742 offences reported in the city centre in December 2022 alone, the majority of which were violent and sexual.
This compares to 544 during the same period in 2020, when most were categorised as anti-social behaviour.
11Nick Turner, 36, said a body was found behind his local MorrisonsCredit: NNP11Chrystal Davis, 19, said: ‘It’s not a gritty northern town as is portrayed’Credit: NNP11Blethyn, who plays DCI Vera Stanhope, on QuaysideCredit: NNP11Syd Field, 69, is a regular viewer of the drama, which so far has 50 episodesCredit: NNP11The acclaimed ITV detective drama filming in the city centreCredit: NNP11Residents insist the city is warm and friendlyCredit: NNP11Maureen Field, 71, said: ‘Newcastle isn’t riddled with crime’Credit: NNP11Vera with sidekick DS Aiden Healy, played by Kenny DoughtyCredit: ITVHow bad is the crime rate in Newcastle?
NEWCASTLE upon Tyne is the most dangerous major city in Tyne and Wear and is in the top five of all 28 towns, villages and cities in the county.
The overall crime rate in 2021 was 114 per 1,000 people.
This is 24 per cent higher than the county rate of 92.
However, when looking at England, Wales and Northern Ireland together, Newcastle is the third safest major city and the 431st most dangerous location out of all cities, towns and villages.
In December 2022, the most recent data available, there were 742 crimes reported in Newcastle city centre.
Most of these were violent and sexual offences, followed by theft and shoplifting.
For comparison, there were 408 crimes reported in Sunderland, six in Durham, 1,295 in Middlesbrough, and 1,239 in Leeds over the same period.
There were six recorded murders in the year ending July 2022.
Source: crimerate.co.uk / police.uk / varbes.com
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk