Silent Witness series 25 Amanda Burton
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Silent Witness series 25: Is Amanda Burton returning as Professor Sam Ryan for good?

The actress is back in the thrilling 25th anniversary series

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The BBC are giving Silent Witness fans what they really, really want for series 25 – and that’s Amanda Burton back as Sam Ryan.

And she’ll be working alongside Emilia Fox’s Dr Nikki Alexander in a thrilling storyline covering six episodes.

But is Amanda Burton returning for good as Professor Sam Ryan?

Or is she disappearing again after series 25?

Here’s everything you need to know!

Amanda Burton and Emilia Fox in Silent Witness
Amanda Burton as Professor Sam Ryan, and Emilia Fox as Dr Nikki Alexander in Silent Witness series 25 (Credit: BBC One)

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Who does Amanda Burton play in Silent Witness series 25?

Silent Witness began on BBC One on February 21 1996, with a team led by Professor Sam Ryan.

Amanda, well known at that stage for her roles in Brookside and Peak Practice, starred as forensic pathologist Sam for eight series.

In the 25th anniversary series of Silent Witness, Amanda returns as Sam Ryan for the first time since 2004.

BBC One teased her return at the end of series 24 last year.

At the end of the final episode of the 24th series, Nikki (Emilia Fox) walked into her office and took a call.

The line was bad and she could hardly hear who was on the other end.

We cut to an ambulance, with sirens blaring in the background, and there standing at the doors was Sam Ryan.

She said to Nikki: “It’s Professor Sam Ryan, Nikki. I need your help.”

Nikki looked shocked, but not as shocked (and delighted) as fans watching in their millions at home.

Actress Amanda, who is 65, said about her return: “I am so excited to be returning to Silent Witness and stepping back into Sam Ryan’s shoes – with a difference!

“Audiences can look forward to plenty of twists and turns as they discover what Sam’s been doing since leaving the Lyell.”

Why did Amanda Burton leave Silent Witness?

Amanda left the popular BBC One show in 2004.

After eight years playing forensic pathologist Sam Ryan, she decided it was “time to move on”.

At the time, TV insiders said ITV made her “an offer she couldn’t resist” to portray Commander Clare Blake in The Commander.

But some reports claimed there had been ‘clashes’ with staff on the set of Silent Witness.

Series eight of Silent Witness was the last to feature Amanda Burton as Sam Ryan, with her character leaving in the first episode.

The character returned home to Ireland after a member of her family was implicated in a murder.

Emilia Fox replaced her in the lead role.

Amanda Burton and Emilia Fox in Silent Witness
Amanda Burton played Sam Ryan in Silent Witness between 1996 and 2004 (Credit: BBC One)

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When did Emilia Fox replace Amanda Burton?

Emilia Fox replaced Amanda Burton in series eight in 2004.

Although fans were sad to say goodbye to Amanda Burton’s character Sam Ryan, it soon became clear that Emilia Fox’s Dr Nikki Alexander was just the replacement the show needed.

It’s been 18 years since then, and Emilia Fox has portrayed Nikki for 172 episodes!

Luckily for fans, the actress has no intention of leaving the BBC One series.

She told us: “I still adore being part of the show.

“I love it as much as ever.

“From day one, I’ve always said I’ll stay as long as I enjoy it, and I still really enjoy it.

“The audience and I have been through a lot together.

“I never take for granted the privilege of being part of Silent Witness.”

Emilia now acts as executive producer on the show, too.

Is Amanda Burton returning as Sam Ryan in Silent Witness for good?

In 2020, BBC One announced that Amanda Burton would be returning as Sam Ryan to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Silent Witness.

She will appear in all six episodes of series 25.

However, it’s just a little 25th anniversary treat.

Amanda Burton will not be sticking around for good.

She only agreed to return for series 25, and will not be coming back after that.

When asked if she’d consider returning in another 25 years, Amanda said: “You’ll just have to ask me in another 25 years.

“By then Sam really would be judging hen competitions!”

Amanda Burton and Emilia Fox in Silent Witness
Amanda Burton returns for six special episodes to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Silent Witness (Credit: BBC One)

Why is Amanda Burton back as Sam Ryan in Silent Witness series 25?

Amanda Burton tells us that a “catastrophic event” causes her character Sam Ryan to call Nikki.

We’re told that Sam Ryan has launched a new company in Liverpool, only for the Health Secretary to be assassinated.

Sam summons the Lyell team with a plea to help investigate.

But Nikki finds herself unsure if she can trust Sam, who seems to know more than she’s revealing.

In part two of six, DNA evidence linked to the health secretary’s assassination forces Nikki to face her past…

As her investigation progresses, Nikki realises that its consequences will affect her, and her profession, for ever.

What else has Amanda Burton been in?

Amanda has been on our TV screens since 1982 when she joined the cast of Brookside as Heather Haversham.

She went on to appear in the likes of Inspector Morse, Boon, Peak Practice, Minder and Lovejoy.

She is most famous for her portrayal of Sam Ryan in the BBC crime drama Silent Witness, a role she played from 1996 to 2004.

The actress went on to star in The Commander, before winning the role opposite Tom Hardy in the 2008 film Bronson.

She played Charles Bronson’s mum Eira Peterson.

More recently, she has portrayed Karen Fisher in Waterloo Road, Cherie Le Saux in The Level, and June Bamber in White House Farm.

In 2020, she played crime boss Katherine Maguire in series three of Marcella on ITV1.

She also starred as Lady Shelton in the 2021 TV series Anne Boleyn.

Silent Witness series 25 kicks off on Monday May 23 2022 at 9pm on BBC One.

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