The 25th season of Silent Witness is set to get underway tonight (23rd May) – and it sounds like there's a lot to look forward to for fans of the series during the landmark run.
Perhaps most excitingly of all, the season will see the return of original cast member Amanda Burton as Dr Sam Ryan, who she previously played for the first eight seasons of the show.
And it looks like that return could cause some drama at the Lyell, with long-term star David Caves recently teasing: "She comes back and it’s not immediately obvious what her motives are, whether she’s trustworthy."
He added: "You would have thought, ‘Oh she’s definitely one of the good guys.’ But a lot has happened to that character in the 17 years she’s been away, so she’s not going to be the same person entirely."
After the pandemic forced the 24th season to move from its usual January start date to September 2021, the new season once again debuts at an unfamiliar time of the year – but fans will no doubt just be relieved that the wait for new episodes hasn't been nearly so long this time around.
Last season saw five new cases, and a couple of brand new characters – one of whom didn't stick around for long – and while this season will be a little bit shorter than usual, with just six episodes rather than the usual 10, we're sure that a lot of drama will be packed into those instalments.
Read on for everything you need to know about Silent Witness season 25, including what other treats the series might have in store for its 25th anniversary.
Silent Witness season 25 release date
The 25th run debuts on Monday 23rd May 2022 at 9pm on BBC One.
As ever, the season is made up of several two-part episodes – albeit just three double-headers rather than the usual five – and so episodes will air on Mondays and Tuesdays for the next three weeks.
Ordinarily, Silent Witness tends to begin its run in late January, but this wasn't the case in 2021 due to filming delays brought about by coronavirus restrictions, and once again it won't be returning to that slot in 2022.
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Silent Witness season 25 cast
Despite the tragic – and hugely surprising – death of Lyell newcomer Adam Yeun (Jason Wong) in the sixth episode of the 24th run, Silent Witness fans will be relieved to see that Jack and Nikki both made it through the season without meeting their demise.
As such, both David Caves and Emilia Fox will be back next year – and if the end of season 24 is anything to go by, it looks like their characters could now be a couple, which would certainly add a new dynamic to the series.
Genesis Lynea will also return as Simone Tyler after she impressed in her first four episodes, while there's a returning face in the shape of original cast member Amanda Burton, who will reprise her role as Dr Sam Ryan 18 years after first leaving the show.
Burton has spoken about how happy she is to be reprising her legendary role, saying: “I am so excited to be returning to Silent Witness and stepping back into Sam Ryan’s shoes – with a difference! Audiences can look forward to plenty of twists and turns as they discover what Sam’s been doing since leaving the Lyell.”
Meanwhile, Hugh Quarshie (Holby City) joins the cast as Sam's husband Jomo Mashaba while Richard Durden will also be back as Jack's father Connor.
And of course, there's the usual string of impressive guest stars as well – with Broadchurch's Matthew Gravelle, Coronation Street's Ian Puleston-Davies, Back to Life's Christine Bottomley, and Doctor Who's Jemma Redgrave among those to feature.
Silent Witness season 25 plot
It seems as if the writers will be pulling out all the stops for the landmark 25th season, with Controller of BBC Drama Piers Wenger announcing at the time of the commission that he "can’t wait for viewers to see what is in store for its 25th anniversary in 2022”.
And a key part of that looks to be the return of Amanda Burton as Dr Sam Ryan, who according to David Caves looks likely to butt heads with Jack and Nikki when she arrives back at the Lyell.
Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com about Sam's return and what else to expect during the season, Caves said: "Her entrance is rather ambiguous to begin with, and we’re thrust into this world that we’re not very familiar with at all. We feel very awkward quite quickly because it involves the UN and Big Pharma, big tech companies, health passports, which is a very topical, controversial subject.
"It becomes very clear, very quickly that all is not what it seems and there are other forces at play that will seriously call into question the credibility of DNA and forensic science as a whole."
He added: "The first story is a really cracking thriller. It’s a very complex episode. There’s a lot of stuff going on and the characters are really running on the spot to try and keep up. We’re not at home, either. We’re not at The Lyell Centre. We’ve been taken up to Liverpool, so we are not in our safe zone and we feel like we’re treading on toes, which is never great, but it’s good drama."
We can obviously expect some more intriguing investigations, while it seems very likely that Jack and Nikki's relationship will be further developed after they appeared to be getting together at the end of season 24.
And indeed this was seemingly confirmed by Emilia Fox, with the actor explaining (via Express.co.uk) that "The end of series 24 is picked up directly after, by the beginning of series 25."
And Caves added: "We are building on that in 25. It’s there, but it’s not too front and centre because it could start to distract from the main plots that are happening."
Of course, there's always the chance of some more Hodgson family drama as well, and we can probably expect to learn more about the Lyell's latest recruit Simone as well.
Silent Witness season 25 trailer
You can get a better idea of what to expect from the new season by watching the trailer below – which teases all sorts of drama including Sam's return.
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