Brenda Blethyn has said she feared she was in the presence of a dead body when she filmed her hit show Vera at a landfill site.
The actress has played the tough detective since 2011 but said she was particularly horrified while filming scenes for the upcoming ninth series.
She said "It was really hot and windy! Yeah, and there's all dust blowing, it was horrible.
"I couldn't help thinking, there probably is a body in there somewhere. Imagine if we happened upon it!"
The new series will see the arrival of Game Of Thrones star Mark Addy, who plays a reformed drug dealer and Blethyn said: "We thought we'd won the pools when we knew we'd got him because it's not a massive role, and he is a suspect, because of his history.
"I won't tell you whether he is guilty or not, as that would spoil it for you, when you see it. But it touches upon county lines, which is a very present problem at the moment.
"The main culprit dealers, you don't see them, you don't hear from them, so there's no way of catching them.
"And that's what they do, they hire young people, local, from people who need the money and get more money than they would on social. And then, if they're really vulnerable they move into their house.
"It's horrible, what happens. *In sleuth voice* But Vera's on the case. "
Much of the series has been filmed in the North East, with recent filming stops taking crews to Sunderland, North Tyneside and Northumberland.
Blethyn admitted she is constantly surprised by who the series appeals to, saying: "When we were doing that crime convention at Harrogate, there was someone at the back stood up.
"A young boy said it's his favourite show, and all his friends' favourite show.
"And I said, 'Don't mind me asking, how old are you?'. He said, 12'.
"I thought, 'You what? Why do you like it?'. And he said, 'Because she's bossing all those men around and she's funny'.
Discussing if she she will come back for a 10th series of the crime show, she compared filming it to being hungry.
She said: "It's like a feast and you've stuffed yourself with it. And please, I want nothing more. Vera, please go away. But then you get hungry again!"
Vera returns to ITV on January 13 at 8pm on ITV.