MANY of us were sad to see Barnsley actor Kenny Doughty make his final appearance as DS Aiden Healy in the Christmas special of Vera.

Kenny left the series after almost ten years and and admits it wasn’t an easy decision to make.

In an interview with Radio Times, Kenny, who is originally from Ardsley, said: "I made the decision before we started filming series 12. That was initially going to be the four films screened at the start of 2023.

"But then halfway through filming they said, 'Can we do a Christmas special as well?' So it was a long goodbye, with The Rising Tide being my last episode, filmed in November and December 2022.

"There were lots of personal and professional reasons why I wanted to move on. I have loved doing Vera, 100 per cent. It has been a life-changing job for so many reasons. Including working with Brenda Blethyn and in the North East. I feel like an honorary Geordie.

"There is also a real family connection to the crew, who I’m still in touch with.

"It has been nine years since I filmed my first episode in 2014, which was screened in 2015. I just wanted to leave while I was still happy with everything.

"It was a really difficult decision to leave, because I loved doing that job and I loved working with everybody on the Vera team.

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"But a little part of me, for whatever reason, the little inner self said to me, 'You should probably call it a day while you’re still enjoying it'. To step away and seek new acting challenges.

"My first Vera film was series five, episode one, called Changing Tides. While the final story is called The Rising Tide. So it feels appropriate to come in on one tide and go out on another.”

Brenda Blethyn paid tribute saying: "I was sad when he said he was leaving. He’s my mate. We had filmed eight series together. I’ve never laughed so hard as I did with Kenny Doughty."

Picture: ITV