Silent Witness star Liz Carr recalls “chilling” experience on Who Do You Think You Are? “It was like a treasure trail”

The actress and activist talks about investigating an ancestor's criminal past - and how playing Silent Witness' Clarissa prepared her for the case.

Who Do You Think You Are? S17

Former star of Silent Witness, Liz Carr, has described her “chilling” experience on Who Do You Think You Are? while investigating her great-great-great grandfather’s involvement in an attempted murder.

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Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press, Carr said: “It was chilling, it was like this treasure trail, that each expert filled me in on a little bit more.”

In the episode, Carr travels to Co. Armagh, Northern Ireland, in order to investigate the 1850s case. 

Asked if her role as Clarissa on Silent Witness had prepared her for the more forensic aspects of the case, she said: “I think yes, the investigative Clarissa, needing to know answers, and wanting that forensic information.”

She continued: “What makes the story [about her own ancestor] so incredible is that [for] somebody from a very poor working class background, it’s very rare that there’s a lot of documentation, and that we find history from those people. The wealthier you are, the more that you’re down in records, usually. Apart from births and deaths.

“But there’s actually an awful lot – I touched something with his writing on it. I touched his signature. I might as well have been touching George Clooney’s handwriting – I like George Clooney, I’ll just leave that out there. It’s fine with my wife!”

Comparing herself to her Silent Witness character Clarissa, she added: “Having all these records and all this material leading you to the end result was absolutely Clarissa and absolutely me, because I’m very inquisitive and I wanna know and I want to be at the end of the story… I was very, very excited. I think Clarissa would have been as well to be honest.”

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The Liz Carr episode of Who Do You Think You Are? will air on the BBC on Monday 2nd November. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide, or take a look at our new TV shows 2020 page to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.