Days in a Mortuary Filled My Nights with Fear; TV INTERVIEW

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Silent Witness (Wednesday, BBC1, 9.30pm)

PLAYING a forensic pathologist proved a six-month nightmare for Amanda Burton, star of the BBC's new blockbuster drama Silent Witness.

She suffered terrible dreams after filming graphic scenes for the series and says: "In one nightmare I was eating chicken drumsticks out of someone's rib cage.

"It wasn't a person I recognised but it was still very disturbing."

Her traumas began after she went to a real-life post mortem to research her new role.


"At one point the stench from the body was so strong I felt very nauseous and had to run out of the room. I did go back in but almost fainted," she explains.

Then, for the next six months, the former Peak Practice star had to pretend to do the job herself on mocked-up dummies. But the chilling atmosphere of the mortuary set made the experience too real for comfort.

"The nightmares would usually start if I had a cat-nap between filming," she says.

"I've never experienced anything like it before, and I had no idea that playing Dr Sam Ryan would have such a huge effect on me.

"It was only later I found out that a lot of pathologists dream about bodies, especially at the start of their careers. Since we've finished filming, the nightmares have stopped."

Amanda says she jumped at the chance to star in Silent Witness because it was a far cry from the cosy medical series Peak Practice, in which she starred with Kevin Whately.


Many believed that it was headlines about an alleged real-life affair with Kevin which forced them both to leave the hit show. …