I won't lie– the only reason I even watched the first series of ITV's police procedural, Vera, was because of Wunmi Mosaku.
ITV recently announced that Mosaku, reprising her role as D.C. Holly Lawson, will return for the second series of the hit Brenda Blethyn-led cop show. Veteran actress Blethyn stars as Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope in the popular crime-thriller that's based on the novels written by international bestseller Ann Cleeves.
Now they've gone and added another talented British-Nigerian actress, Cush Jumbo, to the cast of the second series. Jumbo (Torchwood, Lip Service) joins the detective team as D.C. Bethany Whelan for episodes two and four.Wait . . . it gets better. You may be pleased to know that yet another British-Nigerian talent, veteran actress Nina Sosanya (Silk, Five Days), will guest-star in one of the show's 120-minute episodes.
Don't get me wrong– it's a good show. And these roles likely could have been played masterfully by actors of any ethnic background. But, sadly, this type of diverse casting in a single show is kind of rare (as Tambay reminded us today). That's why it excites me so much.
So you see, I almost have to watch the second season of Vera.
See how that works, TV execs? You make the show appealling to demographics other than your typical, standard, run-of-the-mill demographic, and they just might watch your program. Too easy.