2022 was a big year for Silent Witness - not only did the series celebrate its 25th anniversary in style, with a massive 6-part story, but it also saw the return of classic character Sam Ryan, who first appeared in the show's very first season.
Amanda Burton's character appeared in a murky story, which was set off when the health secretary was assassinated at the launch of Sam's new company.
This was the first time that Emilia Fox's Nikki Alexander came face to face with Sam, but throughout the run, there were serious questions over whether the latter could truly be trusted.
Now, with the anniversary series completed, questions have continued to swirl as to whether the long-running series is returning for a 26th season. And it most certainly is, welcoming in the New Year with a premiere date of January 2023.
Read on for everything you need to know about Silent Witness season 26.
Has Silent Witness been renewed for season 26?
Silent Witness has been officially confirmed to be returning for a 26th season. The long-running medical drama shows no signs of slowing down or stopping any time soon and fans will be pleased to learn that it picks up with an "epic story", Emilia Fox revealed to the BBC.
Speaking about the whether she was pleased with the response to season 25, Fox said: "My goodness, I'm always pleased if there is a positive response. There is always such pleasure in making Silent Witness. We're making it for the audience, and if it's received well, then that's the most joyful thing."
When will Silent Witness season 26 be released?
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the regular January release slot for Silent Witness has shifted but fans will be pleased to know that it has reverted back to its normal programming schedule.
That's right, Silent Witness is back on our screens in time to welcome in 2023 and will be released on BBC One on Monday 2nd January 2023 at 9pm, with the second episode airing the night after on Tuesday 3rd January at the same time.
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Silent Witness cast – who would return for season 26?
The cast of Silent Witness season 26 includes the main duo of Emila Fox as Nikki Alexander and David Caves as Jack Hodgson, who are "very much a couple", Caves revealed in an interview with the BBC.
Sadly, BBC One has confirmed that Genesis Lynea has left Silent Witness and won't be returning in season 26. Likewise, we wouldn't expect Silent Witness stalwart Amanda Burton to be back for more this season.
Although her character Sam Ryan returned for the show's 25th anniversary, Burton ruled out further appearances when talking with Radio Times magazine.
Asked if she would return, she said: "No. No more Silent Witness. This has been so special and gorgeous, and to be a part of this landmark celebration of the 25th anniversary is enough."
As for new characters, two new faces will be joining the cast. Aki Omoshaybi (The Pursuit Of Love, Queens Of Mystery) plays Gabriel Folukoya, an academic, neurologist and pathologist who has spent much of his career in innovative research, primarily in the field of data analysis.
The new series also sees Jack’s niece Cara Connelly (Rhiannon May) return as a more regular character; arriving unexpectedly from Belfast to announce she is starting a university course in Criminology.
Alastair Michael (Ridley Road) joins as Velvy Schur, the new APT (Anatomical Pathology Technologist) trainee, who has recently left his Orthodox Jewish community.
Silent Witness season 26 plot – what will the new series be about?
The new season will see five contemporary stories told over 10 gripping episodes. Speaking about the new season in an interview with the BBC, Fox said: "Because we had a slight change of format for series 25 and a great celebration with the return of Sam Ryan (Amanda Burton), we wanted to open the new series with an epic story.
"The writers of episode one Dudi Appleton and Jim Keeble, who have written standout stories before, including 'Awakening' set in Mexico and ''Shadows', about a school shooting, and many, many others, wanted to write about the Ndrangheta. It's great taking the Lyell into that criminal underworld of the mafia.
"Luckily Silent Witness can explore epic stories or slightly more chamber pieces or new topical news stories."
Caves also revealed: "We kick off with a mafia story. It's great to start off with something big and cinematic like that. The faceless aspect of this enemy is fun. They're this threat in the background, but you never see who they are or who's in charge. That's very timely, isn't it?"
Each pair of episodes follows a different case and speaking about the second, Caves said that it deals with some heavy and topical themes: "The next story is very dark again. It deals with immigration. It's a very complicated story with a lot of characters and it’s very topical. The story after that focuses on the dangers of social media. It's about social media influencers in that weird, seedy world which I know very little about!"
Is there a trailer for Silent Witness season 26?
There is! And from the short trailer, it already looks like the new season will be as thrilling as the last.
Watch the trailer below.
Silent Witness season 26 airs on BBC One on Monday 2nd January at 9pm. Silent Witness season 25 is available on BBC iPlayer. Visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to discover what else you can watch, or find all the latest news on our Drama hub.