Customs House boss Ray Spencer and panto star David Hopper feature on ITV drama Vera

Two familiar South Shields faces were spotted on hit television police drama Vera as the first episode of the 11th series aired.

Ray Spencer, the executive director at the Customs House, and David Hopper, who is best known for his role as Arbuthnot in The Customs House panto, appeared in Sunday’s first episode on ITV.

The latest series began on Sunday, August 29, at 8pm after lead actress Brenda Blethyn was spotted at a number of locations across the North East of England while reprising her role as DCI Vera Stanhope.

Hide Ad

And within the first two minutes of the new series, two familiar South Shields faces had already appeared.

Vera co-stars Kenny Doughty and Brenda Blethyn. Picture: ITV

Ray said: “Me and David featured at the very start of the first episode, I played the karaoke DJ and David played a singer on stage.

"It was fantastic and we had a jolly time, it was great to be involved in such an iconic programme which will be seen in 120 countries across the world.”

Hide Ad

The duo’s starring part was filmed in a working man’s club in Sunniside, Gateshead, just one location in the region where filming took place.

Read More
Vera star Brenda Blethyn reveals her favourite thing about the North East ahead ...
Hide Ad
Customs House boss Ray Spencer featured on the first episode of ITV drama Vera.

Stars of the show have also been spotted at various locations in our region including Sunderland, Washington, Hartlepool, South Tyneside and Northumberland.

Hide Ad

The Custom’s House tweeted its excitement, writing on Sunday: “If you happen to be watching Vera this evening (8pm, 29th August), you might just spot two very well-known faces from round "Our House"...Ray Spencer and Davey Hopper...but, HOW are they involved in the plot...tune in to find out!”

Filming for this season was reportedly started in April last year although it was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hide Ad

Ray added: “Everything was filmed under difficult conditions due to the pandemic but everything was well managed and we both really enjoyed our time filming.”

The award-winning show is made by Silverprint Pictures, which is part of ITV Studios, and its last series drew in an average of 7.5 million viewers in the UK.

Hide Ad

One-hundred-and-fifty nations worldwide are also expected to glimpse the region as the backdrop to the popular character’s investigations.

Support your Gazette and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to all of our news and sport, see fewer ads, experience faster load times, test your brain with daily puzzles and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Hide Ad

The Shields Gazette has been on South Tyneside since 1849, and your support means we can continue telling your stories for generations to come. Click here to subscribe.