BBC Studios’ Silent Witness returns to BBC One and BBC iPlayer in January with two new cast members – Aki Omoshaybi and Alastair Michael – joining Dr Nikki Alexander (Emilia Fox) and Jack Hodgson (David Caves) for five new contemporary stories, told over ten episodes.
Silent Witness’ 25th anniversary series launched in May 2022 and is one of the top five BBC scripted titles of the year so far, with episode one consolidating to 8.3 million viewers across its first 30 days.
In the 26th series, Aki Omoshaybi (The Pursuit Of Love, Queens Of Mystery, Real) 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.
On joining the cast, Omoshaybi says: “I couldn’t be more excited to be joining such a long running and much loved series. Gabriel has much less practical experience than Nikki and prefers to computer model an autopsy than to slice a body open, but deep down Gabriel knows he needs people like Nikki and Jack. He’s at a juncture in his life where he needs to make changes, to open up more, to allow himself to be more vulnerable.”
Alastair Michael (Ridley Road, Snatch) plays Velvy Schur, the Lyell’s new APT (Anatomical Pathology Technologist) trainee, as recommended by Clarissa Mullery. Velvy has recently left his ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and is now finding his own path, balancing his career and his faith, which he still holds very dear to his heart.
Michael says: “I’m delighted to be joining the cast of Silent Witness. We meet my character Velvy as he is on a really interesting journey from within an Orthodox community into a wide secular society. He is still acclimatising to the change and conflicted about the life he left behind, but he is eager for new knowledge, new experiences, and new friendships. This curiosity can sometimes get the better of him and it might even ruffle some people’s feathers. So, it’ll be fun to see how that plays out in the Lyell.”
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, giving Jack little choice but to let her stay with him while she studies. Cara soon wins her uncle around, excelling in her studies and proving a future professional match for Jack.
May says: ‘I’m really excited to see my character Cara develop over this series as she starts her criminology degree in London. After leaving her overprotective mum in Belfast, she is determined to discover her own independence and find her feet in a new city. She’s hoping to spread her wings and experience the world for herself.”
Suzi McIntosh, executive producer, BBC Studios says: “Silent Witness is back with a bang. With the help of our brilliant writers, directors, and actors, we have thrilling stories that will transport audiences into five very different worlds. I am delighted to welcome Aki and Alastair, who are wonderful additions to the Lyell family along with the fabulous returning Rhiannon. I can’t wait for the series to hit our screens.”
Nawfal Faizullah, Executive Producer for the BBC says: “Following a hugely successful anniversary series, we are thrilled that Silent Witness is returning to our screens, back and better than ever. Led by the fantastic Emilia and David and with a new team joining the Lyell, we can’t wait for audiences to see this gripping new series.”
Silent Witness is a BBC Studios production for BBC One and iPlayer. Executive Producers are Suzi McIntosh, Emilia Fox and Priscilla Parish for BBC Studios and Nawfal Faizullah for the BBC. Josh Dynevor is producer.
BBC Studios handle global distribution and Silent Witness is currently enjoyed in 235 territories worldwide including – Australia – ABC and BBC First, US- BritBox, Germany- ZDF, Sweden SVT. Past series of Silent Witness are available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
Pictured top of page: Gabriel Folukoya (Aki Omoshaybi), Jack Hodgson (David Caves), Velvy Schur (Alastair Michael)
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