Brenda Blethyn has admitted she is proud to play a no nonsense, mature leading lady in hit detective show Vera.

The 68-year-old actress stars as frumpy but loveable crime cracker DCI Vera Stanhope in the hit ITV drama.

Brenda said: "What I really like about Vera, is that they're maintaining this character and have totally avoided the temptation to either glamorise her, or make her less abrasive.

"What you see is what you get with Vera. It's great to have a character of a certain age, a woman in authority, without the need for lipstick."

Filmed on location in the North East, Vera is known for her eclectic wardrobe of heavy coats, long scarves, and a rather unflattering floppy green hat.

Brenda revealed: "I wear layers and layers of clothes, so I'm the only warm one when the wind is howling and the rain is sheeting across the set.

"In the summer, of course, it's payback time, because I'm sweltering."

She added: "There was a drama once, we thought we'd lost the hat. It did turn up - it had got trodden underfoot somewhere. It didn't look any different when it arrived anyway!"

:: Vera returns to ITV on Sunday, April 27.