Why did David Leon abandon Vera in the role of Joe Ashworth?
VERA returns tonight, beginning off the iconic series’ 11th season. But why did David Leon, who played Joe Ashworth, decide to leave the show?
Vera is slated to return tonight (August 29), but Joe Ashworth (David Leon) will be absent once more. Joe was a popular favorite for the first four seasons of the show, but regrettably, star Leon decided to depart the ITV series. With the show resuming, viewers are wondering why Leon left the series.
David Leon’s final appearance on Vera as Joe Ashworth was in 2014.
Joe was the right-hand guy and long-suffering colleague of DCI Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn).
Joe and Vera worked together as Detective Sergeants on various cases and built a close friendship, with Joe even being called Vera’s surrogate son.
It was all the more startling when Joe moved away when Leon decided to leave the series because of their connection.
While Leon’s choice to leave the role has never been formally stated, it is assumed that it had something to do with his other employment.
Leon is not just a performer in front of the camera, but also a director who has directed a number of short films.
In fact, most people assume he left Vera because he was about to start filming his first feature-length picture, Orthodox.
This was a theatrical remake of his earlier short film, of the same name, from 2012.
The film, which was released in 2015, stars Stephen Graham as Benjamin, a Jewish boy who is tormented and takes up boxing as a kind of self-defense, separating himself from his religious community.
Blethyn discussed the series in 2020, stating Leon’s departure was a “dark point” for the show.
“A sad time for me was when David Leon, who played DS Joe Ashworth, my right-hand man, left after series four,” Blethyn explained.
“Thankfully, the fantastic Kenny Doughty joined us as DS Aiden Healy.
“We have a wonderful laugh when we’re not on camera. The entire cast and crew, but especially Kenny and me, have a terrific sense of camaraderie.”
As Blethyn indicated, Kenny Doughty joined the cast as DS Aiden Healy in 2015, filling Joe’s shoes.
Since then, Doughty has remained a key character in the series. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”