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Amanda Burton opens up on Silent Witness return | Celebrity News | Showbiz & TV


COOL AND CALM: The star on set for the twenty fifth anniversary series (Image: BBC)

The drama acquired a dogged latest crimebuster in the form of Emilia Fox as Dr Nikki Alexander, and Amanda moved on to pastures latest, playing quite a lot of characters, from an award-winning headteacher in Waterloo Road to a scary gangland matriarch in Marcella.

She had hung up her lab coat and moved on. “I never contemplated coming back, quite frankly,” she says.

“I had the pleasure of doing a magazine photo-shoot with Emilia about five years ago and we were laughing concerning the prospect of Sam coming back then. We were saying, ‘Ha ha ha, that is never going to occur!'”

After which – similar to that – it did. To mark the twenty fifth anniversary of the show, which is now the longest-running crime drama on this planet, Amanda, 65, was invited to return. She couldn’t have been more surprised – or delighted.

“Once I got a phone call asking me to come back back, I used to be completely blown away. It’s wonderful to be very surprised sometimes. I just thought, ‘What an ideal idea! How good that they are considering of doing that!’ I’d have been absolutely mad to not do it.”

That is to not say Amanda did not have just a few initial doubts.

“At first, I used to be a wee bit nervous that Sam is likely to be some on-her-last-legs detective walking across the beach wearing an old tweed coat being called out of retirement,” she says.

HAPPY RETURN: Amanda with Silent Witness cast members David Caves, Genesis Lynea and Emilia Fox

HAPPY RETURN: Amanda with Silent Witness solid members David Caves, Genesis Lynea and Emilia Fox (Image: PA Images)

But, after all, the character, last seen heading home to Northern Ireland when a member of her family was involved in a murder, continues to be at the highest of her game.

“I loved the undeniable fact that she was still very much pioneering and busy and connected – that meant quite a bit to me. I used to be very comfortable that she wasn’t tracked right down to some distant British village where she was judging hen competitions.”

The return proved very emotional. At a glitzy screening in a London theatre this week – complete with real forensic experts within the foyer combing a mocked-up crime scene for evidence in white scenes of crime officer suits – Amanda confessed: “Once I first stepped back onto the set of Silent Witness, I desired to cry.”

What makes Sam’s comeback all of the more compelling is that she is now a more ambiguous character than the easy crusader for truth she was once. Within the very timely latest series, she and her husband Jomo (played by Hugh Quarshie from Holby City) run a medical company pioneering the usage of health passporting.

Amanda played Professor Sam Ryan for eight years

Amanda played Professor Sam Ryan for eight years (Image: BBC)

After a dramatic incident, Sam calls Nikki and her team, Jack (David Caves) and Simone (Genesis Lynea), for help. Amanda says the undeniable fact that there’s now a matter mark over Sam’s probity makes for a twist distant where she hen fascinating twist.

“Is she really telling the reality? Who’s she working for? That is very intriguing, as Sam has all the time been a lot on the best side and all the time had such integrity. Now we’re seeing she could possibly be a double-edged sword.”

One group of people that will probably be particularly glad about Sam’s return are the legions of Silent Witness superfans. They continuously come as much as Amanda asking when Sam is coming back.

“That always happens once I’m doing my weekly shop within the supermarket and I’m a little bit of a captive audience… 20 bunches of bananas later! We all the time have a little bit of a cackle about that.

“The fans, after all, are unbelievable. They keep the show on the road.”

For her part, 47-year-old Emilia was equally pleased to welcome Amanda back. Her only concern was having to conduct certainly one of Silent Witness’s famous post-mortem scenes in front of an actress who gained world renown for her poise and composure in such sequences.

Indeed, Amanda made them such a trademark that she was granted the honour of a memorable French and Saunders parody which was entitled “Witless Silence”.

Wearing a glamorous gold dress, Emilia says: “It was probably the most exciting thing to give you the option to have a good time the twenty fifth series of Silent Witness with Amanda coming back.

“Nevertheless, it’s nerve-wracking doing a post-mortem on day. It’s much more nerve-wracking if you’re doing it in front of Amanda.”

Amanda, wearing a striped T-shirt, black suit, trainers and multicoloured socks, says Emilia needn’t have nervous because within the years away she’s lost her touch with the scalpels and bone saws. “I’ve change into quite a bit more squeamish,” she admits.

“I even have to show away now. I used to be extremely comfortable that Emilia did all of the post-mortems on this series. I could just be the bystander, stick my beak in and be irritating.”

Perhaps the toughest a part of starring in SilentWitness is mastering the very complex medical terminology.

Emilia reveals: “We spend hours and hours learning the lines and trying to seek out riddle formulas to recollect them. ‘There are two Bs on this sentence and three Ws in that one.’ Amanda and I laughed quite a bit about what number of hours we spent learning lines. We could have shed tears.”

Viewers were extremely pleased that there seemed to be some resolution to the long-running “will they/won’t they?” query overhanging the connection between Nikki and Jack once they enjoyed a highly anticipated kiss within the last series. So will their romance develop this 12 months?

“The kiss threw up many questions,” says Emilia.

“How do friends transition to a relationship? Does that relationship dominate the whole lot? How does it work alongside the job? What happens if it goes improper? What happens in the event that they are in conflict? The stunning thing is that the and that lot audience have wanted Jack and Nikki to be together. It’s great that they’ve invested a lot in that relationship.”

But aficionados shouldn’t expect a fast resolution.

“We desired to lay the breadcrumbs and keep that flirtation and ambiguity about it,” says David, 42. “We didn’t want it to be an excessive amount of, too soon. We desired to tease.”

Silent Witness still generates huge rankings of nine million viewers per episode. Emilia thinks that staying topical through 25 seasons could also be a part of its continuing popularity.

“The DNA of the show is crime stories and the best way people commit and solve crimes,” she says.

“But it surely also incorporates very topical stories like health passports and difficult stories like domestic abuse or care homes. We are usually not afraid of that – the show can take it. It gives us the prospect to discuss subjects that individuals generally keep away from. It allows viewers to debate them from the protection of their sofas.”

So could the actors envisage Silent Witness surviving one other 25 years?

“I do not know in the event that they’d still want me,” Emilia jokes. “I will be lucky in the event that they’re still inviting me back once I’m 72. Still, they’ve just had Amanda back. Long may they keep asking us back.”

Amanda chimes in: “You may just should ask me in one other 25 years. By then Sam really can be judging hen competitions.”

  • The twenty fifth series of Silent Witness begins on BBC1 later this month
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