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Last week, I reviewed the series of historical fantasy books that begin with The Invisible Library. Tina reviewed The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, a book that includes the story of a girl who was sent to the England countryside during WWII.
Several months ago I declared that I was tired of constantly switching from one mini-series to another. I wanted to find something that I could stick with for a while. That was so long ago that it’s hard to remember the time before I was watching Silent Witness. Now, I’m anxious to catch up on all the shows that I missed in the meantime.
I finally finished the 21st season, all available on Amazon Prime. Series 22 aired on BBC One earlier this year and Series 23 has already been announced.
— BBC One (@BBCOne) February 5, 2019
The “silent witness” of the title is the human body after death, a silent witness to how the person died.
Silent Witness follows a team of forensic pathologists. One explanation for the longevity of the show is that it has embraced cast changes — no character is too important to the show that he or she can’t leave the country or get written out in some other way.
The series began in Cambridge, but moved to London after a few seasons. It’s fun to watch the changes that a larger show budget creates. We get many more long-range and crane shots than we did at the beginning. I always love seeing the London skyline. It took several seasons to get there, but now that’s a regular feature of the show.
Since the show began in 1996, there have been many changes in technology. In the first seasons we rarely saw mobile phones. In a more recent episode, the team figured out a way to use a dead man’s finger to unlock his smart phone.
There are many guest star roles and I love how often that I recognize actors, although I often have to check the cast list to figure out where I’ve seen them. Benedict Cumberbatch, appearing very young, was a guest actor in 2002.
In some cases, it was voices rather than faces that I recognized. I heard several radio actors from The Archers and one from Home Front.
Have you watched Silent Witness? What did you think?
Do you know of other long-running British shows that are fully available to American audiences?