Advantages 2 part stories shown in the same week
Disadvantages Some lame plots
BACKGROUNDThis BBC1 series started in about 1997 and it originally centred around Professor Sam Ryan (Amanda Burton). She worked as a pathologist ie did post mortems on dead bodies. Usually, there was a crime involved and she found out what happened to the victim or victims, often ignoring the instructions of higher (usually male) members of staff.
As Dead Ringers put it "My name is Professor Sam Ryan and I'm always right".Since Amanda Burton left last year, "Silence Witness" has become a much more ensemble piece and I feel it benefits from this. The people seem more human without their being any gender issues, for instance. Also, the last proper series starring Amanda Burton was very political - government workers were murdered, for instance and it dealt with intrigue, rather than the lives of ordinary people.
CHARACTERSEmilia Fox who plays apprentice pathologist Nikki Alexander joined last year. She joins Dr Leo Dalton (William Gaminara) and Harry Cunningham (Tom Ward) at the University pathology lab. Harry was more or less trained up by Sam Ryan.
Nikki is attractive and driven. She is a bright young worker, despite her lack of experience working in a mortuary. She came from an archaelogical background.Dr Leo Dalton left his partner and daughter behind in Sheffield to take this job in London. In an episode called "Ghosts" which was recently broadcast, he received some terrible news about his family. They have been killed in a car accident. We find out that it's part of gangland crime. When Sam left, Leo got a promotion but he's been grieving recently and finding his job very hard.
Dr Harry Cunningham is a little bit humourless at times but then he was working under the watchful eye of Sam Ryan. He's also very driven, even if he makes mistakes at times. In one episode, he was wrongly implicated in corruption.STYLE
The style of this programme is literally very dark. We feel the cold, clinical world of the morgue. It can be quite gruesome as well. Sometimes, it's something as simple as a train crash or a shooting but other times, it's downright bizarre. For instance, in one episode, a man got choked with paper.BEST EPISODE
"A Good Body" from 1999. This guest starred Jack Dee as Sam Ryan's love interest. She's found a man at last but will she lose him? It was good seeing Jack play someone so nasty.FINAL THOUGHTS
I prefer the new "Silent Witness" to the earlier episodes. I didn't like Sam Ryan much as a character. However, some of the stories have recently been predictable and a bit lame. One recent episode featured a council estate with a neglectful single mother and black men being involved in gun crime. How many stereotypes can you fit in one show?!Still, this show passes a pleasant couple of hours and the show has a little more humour than it used to. It is usually on 9pm-10pm Monday and Tuesday but I often record it and watch both episodes together.
Incidentally, the "silent witness" of the title is the dead person, as if you couldn't tell. And "Silencium" is the name of the creepy title music by John Harle. It suits the show.It doesn't seem as if any episodes of this show are available on video. I've looked on the BBC website and Amazon etc and found nothing.
|How does it compare to similar programmes?||Good|
|How good is the story?||Good|
|Is it dramatic?||Regularly|
|How good are the characters?||Good|
|How do you rate the overall style and design?||Good|
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