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ITV Vera star Julia Sawalha speaks out on show debut after dividing fans with ‘wonky’ Geordie accent


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Absolutely Fabulous-turned-Vera star Julia Sawalha has addressed her time on the Brenda Blethyn-led ITV drama after joining the cast on Sunday.

Sawalha took on the role of Helen Rushden in the second episode of the 13th run, titled Tender.

Her character found herself embroiled in a mysterious murder case after a young girl who’d befriended her wound up dead.

The youngster had lied to Helen about having cancer in order to grow close to her and as the episode progressed, more and more about her murky past came to light.

Prior to the episode, the Vera newcomer had taken to social media to pay tribute to the minds behind the show who helped bring the crime drama to screens.

In particular, Sawalha issued a sweet tribute to Vera director Jermain Julien for his efforts behind the camera.

David Leon (left)

David Leon is back as Joe Ashworth in series 13 of Vera alongside Brenda Blethyn


On X, formerly Twitter, Sawalha penned: “I’ve waited so long to work with you.”

Referring to the attached photo from the set, Sawalha added: “Think you can tell from the smile on my face how happy I was that it finally happened, and you were everything an actor would want from a director.”

The feeling was clearly mutual as Julien soon responded with a kind tribute of his own to the Vera newcomer.

“It was a long time coming,” Julien added before he continued: “But well worth the wait.

“Hope we can collaborate again, sooner rather than later. Thank you for lending me your talent and for delivering on screen as I knew you would.

“Hope you and everyone else, enjoy the ep. Such a joy filming this,” he signed off.

The pair’s social media interaction comes amid plenty of plaudits for the second episode of the 13th series.

However, Sawalha also managed to divide the fanbase somewhat with her debut in the northern drama with many being distracted by the Ab Fab star’s Geordie accent.

Julia Sawalha

Julia Sawalha appeared in the second episode of Vera series 13


Taking to X, one fan said of the London-born actor: “If you like me are watching Vera I simply cannot deal with Julia Sawalha with a Geordie accent, it’s like a whole different person #vera.”

Another similarly voiced: “Oh dear… accent alerts… They try but stage school southerners cannot do a Geordie or Mackem accent #Vera.”

A third remarked: “Must be hard being cast in Vera and then realising you have to attempt a Geordie accent [laughing emoji] some of them are not bad to be fair #Vera.”

While a fourth weighed in: “Seriously think the Xmas one apart this has been the best #Vera yet – even with a plethora of wonky Geordie accents.” (sic)

Vera series 13 will draw to a close with episode three on Sunday, January 21.

The future beyond remains uncertain – although the returning David Leon, who plays Joe Ashworth, has had his say on what he wants to see for the future of the ITV drama.

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Written by: radioroxi

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