Have you tuned in to watch the fabulous Amanda Burton return to our TV screens for the latest series of Silent Witness yet?
The longest-running crime drama on TV — boasting over 200 episodes over its 25-year run — is back on BBC One now, with the latest aired shows and all previous series available for dedicated fans to hoover up on BBC iPlayer.
The hugely popular show celebrates its 25th series with the dramatic return of Amanda Burton as Professor Sam Ryan. Speaking about her character’s return, Amanda says: “It was genuinely a really, lovely thing to step into Sam’s shoes again and to catch up with who she is now and where she is in her life. I loved the fact that she was still very much pioneering and busy and connected – that meant a lot to me. I was very, very happy that she wasn’t being tracked down to some sort of remote corner of a British village where she was judging hen competitions!”
Amanda shared her thoughts on the joy of coming back to the show and the thrill of getting to play Sam once more.
What appealed to you about returning to Silent Witness as Sam Ryan?
“The shock! It’s wonderful to be very surprised sometimes. Genuinely, these things don’t often come one’s way. I just thought, “What a great idea! How brilliant that they’re thinking of doing that!” I thought the storyline was quite bold and I really liked that. After meeting the producers, I just loved what they were thinking for Sam, I was very much on their wavelength. It was such an attractive idea and I would have been absolutely mad not to do it!”
How did you find it working with Emilia Fox?
“It was wonderful. Coming together with Emilia, who’s held this show together so brilliantly for so many years, was lovely. It was extraordinarily special. To see these two powerful characters working together was amazing. In the script, they call them the two titans of the medical world.
“Emilia is just an incredibly generous actress. There was a really nice sense of trust between us. We fed off each other a lot, and there were just genuinely lovely, warm, empathetic responses from both of us. And you don’t get that every day.”
Why does Sam Ryan remain so popular as a character?
“At the time, it was quite unusual to see a woman playing that depth of seriousness, that depth of soulfulness. Her edges were never really rounded off. She was always quite spicy, quite like a terrier. But Sam was a very truthful character, she upheld a lot of things that were very, very important. There was no double dealing with her, she was just incredibly straightforward.
“Sam was this one woman charged with finding the truth in so many of those awful crimes, and at a huge cost to her life. I wouldn’t say that she was an unhappy character. I wouldn’t like to label her like that at all. It’s just that her devotion to her career was like a calling. I suppose that was quite unusual 25 years ago, it wasn’t exactly the norm. Also, Sam managed to offset any gore, in Silent Witness, you had this character who led you through the darkness, and you felt safe with her.”
How would you sum up the experience of coming back to Silent Witness?
“It proved to be everything that I hoped it would be. It was very, very joyful. I loved Sam’s journey, and I loved working with Emilia, David [Caves] and Genesis [Lynea] and all the guest actors who are in it as well. It was just gorgeous. I mean, it’s ridiculous – I get paid for this!”
Is there any chance that Sam could come back in another quarter of a century?
“You’ll just have to ask me in another 25 years. By then Sam really would be judging hen competitions!”