Silent Witness: why did these former stars leave the show?
Fans of Silent Witness were delighted when the brand new series of the crime drama returned to screen this month – and they were no doubt even more thrilled by the return of Amanda Burton!
MORE: Emma Thompson's daughter lands role in BBC's Silent Witness
The actress, who played the iconic role of Sam Ryan from when the show started until series eight, has reprised her part for the 20th anniversary after being asked back by bosses.
WATCH: Silent Witness returns for the anniversary special
But Amanda isn't the only star who has walked away from the drama over the years. Find out why some of Silent Witnesses biggest stars waved goodbye to their roles…
Amanda first joined in 1996 but left during series eight, explaining at the time that it was "time to move on". There was also a suggestion that her subsequent role as Commander Clare Blake on ITV's The Commander was a driving force behind her move.
It was also reported at the time that there were tensions and "clashes" behind the scenes between Amanda and crew members. However, this was never explained fully by those involved.
MORE: Silent Witness: Viewers spot major blunder in series 25
MORE: Silent Witness viewers left worried for beloved character in 25th series return
Amanda Burton returned in 2022
Liz Carr left Silent Witness following the series 23 finale. Confirmed the news on Twitter, she said: "Yes, I have left #SilentWitness @BBCOne. I will so miss @EmiliaFox, #DavidCaves, #RichardLintern and #DanielWeyman. Thanks for everyone's love & support - you are the best."
Liz further elaborated in a statement which read: "To quote Clarissa, 'I just know, deep down – that it’s time for me to move on, to focus less on the dead and more on the living. On life'. Silent Witness has given me such an amazing opportunity to develop as an actor but I know this is the right time to take a leap of faith, leaving what I know and seeing what other opportunities await."
Liz Carr left in 2020
Richard appeared on Silent Witness from series 17 until the final episode of series 23 – where his character, Thomas Chamberlain, died while investigating a case involving a nerve agent. It's not known whether Richard's on-screen death was due to him deciding to walk away from the show, or whether this was a writer's decision.
Richard Lintern's character died in the show
William Gaminara played Leo Dalton in the show for 11 series. He waved goodbye to the show in 2013 for similar reasons to Tom Ward. He said in a statement: "I have had a fantastic time on the show but feel now is the appropriate time to move on hopefully to other ventures."
William Gaminara appeared in many series
Similar to Emilia Fox and William Gaminara, Tom Ward, who played Harry Cunningham, was one of Silent Witness' longest standing cast members. His character first trained under Dr Sam Ryan before her departure and, when she came on the scene, began an on-off relationship with Nikki Alexander (Emilia Fox).
In the show, Harry decided to move to New York to accept a professorship. In real life, Tom decided after ten years on the show it was "the right time" to leave.
The drama's writer, Tim Prager, said: "When Tom Ward decided it was time for him to leave Silent Witness, he left with the gratitude of everyone involved in the show for the contribution he had made to its success."
Tom Ward [left] exited in 2012
Ruth McCabe played Amanda Burton's on-screen sister, Wyn Ryan, and die-hard fans will know that Wyn's relocation to Ireland is one of the reasons behind Sam's move to Ireland upon her departure. Ruth then left her role in the main cast at the beginning of series three. It's not known whether she chose to leave or whether her character was written out of the show, but since then she's gone on to appear in My Left Foot, Catastrophe and Women on the Verge.
Ruth McCabe played Amanda Burton's on-screen sister
John McGlynn played the part of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Adams in the original cast, however, he only appeared in the show for the first season. Since then, he's gained credits in shows such as Taggart, White Lines and Heartbeat.
John McGlynn as Tom Adams
Clare Higgins was known for her role as Helen Farm in Silent Witness. Helen was Tom's boss and mentor and appeared in eight episodes for the first season. It's not known why Clare left the show in the first place, but the actress did make a comeback. In 2020, she returned to Silent Witness as another character, Professor Katherine Dukes.
Clare Higgins played Helen
Similar to other stars on the show, Jaye Griffiths appeared numerous times throughout the show's run. Her first part was as DI Jayne Hurst, before playing the role of Janet Mander in multiple episodes. She last appeared in the show in 2012.
Jaye Griffiths has been a long-running cast member
Another actress who made a return as a different character is Ruth Gemmell. In series one, the star played the role of Detective Constable Kerry Cox, but left when her character died in a freak accident.
Ruth is now perhaps best-known for her role in Bridgerton
In 2006, she came back to portray DI Beth Ashdown, and in 2014, played Ellie Brooke. More recently, fans will instantly recognise Ruth Gemmell for her part in Netflix smash-hit Bridgerton, in which she plays Lady Violet Bridgerton.
Like this story? Sign up to our What to Watch newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.