Silent Witness is celebrating a big milestone – series 22’s eighth instalment “Deathmaker” part two is officially the BBC forensics drama’s 200th episode.
“I can’t believe we’ve reached 200 episodes! That’s absolutely incredible,” Emilia Fox– AKA Dr Nikki Alexander– tells RadioTimes.com, hours before the episode’s broadcast at 9pm on Tuesday 29th January.
“It has such an incredibly loyal audience, from the very original legacy that was left by Sam Ryan [Amanda Burton] and that character, and that has helped it get to 200 episodes. And with the evolution of the characters, I think it has introduced a whole new audience. So it’s the viewers which have kept it going to its 200th episode.”
The concluding part of Deathmaker puts the spotlight on Jack Hodgson (David Caves) as he attempts to find the killer in a car bomb attack with roots stretching back to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It’s an emotional episode, but Fox admits she didn’t actually clock that it was a milestone until long after filming was complete. And it was Caves himself who pointed it out.
“We had nothing planned,” she laughed. “But we shall have to have a belated 200th anniversary episode party!”
Reflecting on the show’s enduring appeal, she tells us: “My theory about it, is that it’s because it’s a behind-the-scenes look at how crime is solved, in that you get to see how these forensic scientists work, and how the pathologists work, and the detectives, and all of that coming together. And that the clues are within the body, and that makes it slightly different to other detective dramas.
“We all like a mystery to solve, and a puzzle. And I think that Silent Witness has got the sort of format – because they’re such independent, two hour stories from each other – that it can delve into various different worlds, in the genre of either being the mystery and the whodunnit, or just slightly more topical subjects.”
And topical subjects have certainly kept the drama relevant. Over the last few series, Silent Witness has featured two-episode stories around drugs, gangs, knifes, grooming, immigration, and care home abuse.
“I feel passionately that when Silent Witness is really relevant like that, and strikes up a conversation about it, that’s when I feel most proud of it,” Fox explains. “And that, alongside the ones where the cases are exciting and they’re different – that’s what I love.”
The 200th episode of Silent Witness airs on Tuesday 29th January at 9pm on BBC1