The 2020 series of Silent Witness will arrive in cinematic style – with a plane crash that is “like a Bond film”.
The Lyell Centre’s forensic experts are called to the scene when a private jet goes down in the series premiere. On board that plane is an ex-US ambassador who also happens to be friends with Nikki’s American boyfriend, Matt Garcia (Michael Landes).
“It was like a movie set,” said David Caves, who plays Dr Jack Hodgson. “That was amazing. The art department did an incredible job with that. It was like a Bond film. It was incredible.”
These “dramatic scenes” were mainly filmed in a hangar in Surrey, with “the skeleton of the airplane,” Emilia Fox (Dr Nikki Alexander) revealed. “It was big-scale.”
This two-episode story set around the plane crash has huge ramifications for Nikki and Matt.
“That’s how his character is brought back into the series, and the effect that it has on our relationship – and then of course that is running in parallel with why the plane crashed, and who was involved in the plane crash,” Fox said.
“They are trying to cope with a long-distance relationship, which is quite a realistic thing. And then what I think happens in this plane crash affects him because it bears some relation to another family member of his. And so Nikki is trying to look after his needs, as well as be part of solving the crime and what’s happened, and trying to balance that working life and personal life when he very much needs her personally.”
She added: “He is in the UK when it happens. So that’s where the emotional part comes… It deals with feeling isolated with your emotions, and who you reach out to, or don’t reach out to. And if you can’t speak to the people that you are meant to be closest to, it can be to the detriment of your relationships, and to yourself, and to your own sense of mental wellbeing. And how to access ways of dealing with sort of grief or loss or not knowing who you are. So it tackles quite a lot in that episode, in an emotional sense, as well as solving a crime.”
But the plane crash isn’t the only stunt in series 23 of Silent Witness.
“There are some fantastic car stunts in this series, actually,” David Caves said. “In the first story, I jump into a moving vehicle and have a bit of a fight in there… and I get almost thrown out of it as well.”
And in case you were wondering, Caves took the Tom Cruise approach to stunt work.
“Tom Cruise would have been proud,” he said. “I did all of it. They had little GoPro cameras hanging out of the van. So I was hanging out of the van. I was strapped in.”
Silent Witness returns on Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th January 2020 at 9pm on BBC One