Thursday, 26 April 2012
Tom Ward and Emilia Fox Interview
In the lab of luxury; Silent Witness is back with new storylines, a new set and an interesting development between Dr Harry Cunningham and Dr Nikki Alexander. Lisa Williams catches up with actors Tom Ward and Emilia Fox to find out all about it.
EMILIA Fox and her Silent Witness co-star Tom Ward are fondly reminiscing about filming "sweet scenes" when their characters move in together.
"You buy me flowers for the first time, and a few things go on over an Indian takeaway," says Fox, looking at Ward with mock-gooey eyes.
"Late night chats," adds Ward.
"Pyjamas!" says Fox.
Although this is the moment many Silent Witness fans have been waiting for, having observed the building chemistry between Nikki and Harry, Ward reveals that it's not exactly as it seems. "To say we move in together is a slight exaggeration. There's actually an explosion which forces me to move in with Nikki with hilarious results," he observes dryly.
Theirs is not a romantic drama, but rather a hard-hitting series about a team of pathologists (Nikki, Harry and Leo, played by William Gaminara) working to decode sickening murder cases.
So Fox's admission that even though Nikki and Harry find "any excuse to go into each other's rooms", the reason is always to "discuss some rather gruesome deaths". This series is no exception, with the programme's specialist prosthetics department pulling out the stops to make sure the cases - which take in the murky underworld of a spiritualist church and children being groomed online for sex - are as believable as possible.
"Everyone takes a view on the gore," states Fox. "Sometimes they want more of it, because it's the medical bits and the science. Other times it's too much and they want us to tone it down. I think if it's integral to the plot, it works."
But while the gory details are why many viewers tune in, Ward says that in this series, it was actually the least bloody death which haunted him the most.
"We've had just about every gruesome murder method you can imagine, but I think the most horrible and upsetting scene was finding a teenage girl lying dead in her own bedroom having been suffocated. She didn't have a mark on her, and was lying in this teenage room adorned with One Direction posters. No blood, nothing - just this very wrong situation of a dead pristine young girl on her bed, with her little puppy dog duvet. It was strange."
The cases involving children are particularly poignant for Fox now, as she's just had her first child, a daughter called Rose.
"You were never a cold heart, but I do notice a tear come to your eye more often now," notes Ward, before adding cheekily: "If you happen to glance upon a particularly moving bowl of cereal or something."
Fox, who comes from a dynasty of actors - father Edward, cousin Lawrence and brother Freddie among them - has so far resisted the urge to bring Rose into the family business. "I could see one of the directors eyeing her up as a character, but I don't think that would be the right thing to do," she says. The set in west London is very close to where she lives, meaning she can pop home at lunchtimes to be with her daughter. "There's a lot of juggling but it's worked out perfectly," she says.
The set itself has had something of a revamp this year. Although the lab is the same, viewers might notice their building has been extended to include more corridors and a rather fancy outside water feature. "It's the same but different," explains Ward. "Before, when we went out of one door we'd emerge into another and you never quite knew how we'd got there, but now you can follow us right the way through the entire set without a cut. And the little fountain is very Feng Shui."
It must be encouraging to see investment in a programme which is now on its 15th series. The cast agree, and credit a risk-taking writing team with a lot of the show's success.
"You never know, you just hope that people will carry on watching it. And I think this series has moved on and done good things with the different subject matters and hot topics that it chooses," Fox says.
"It's still attracting really amazing guest stars, and the show is still evolving." Ward adds: "We always like to take a genre which isn't ours. So, for example, the school shooting episode was a suspense thriller, and the Budapest one from the last series was a man on the run, Bourne-type adventure. For one film in this series, they've taken the tonality from the horror genre, and apparently it's brilliant."
The actors talk about a camaraderie on set, which has also helped them stay faithful to the series. "The director just said to me and Emilia, 'I can't believe you get this show made' because we're always messing about," he says.
"Off-camera you endlessly try to kill me in mime, in different ways," laughs Fox.
On camera, meanwhile, the will-they-won't-they between Harry and Nikki steams on. "Obviously, from the moment Harry comes to stay in Nikki's flat, that will be in the audience's mind. "Everyone's aware they should be together and are each other's true loves, but if you get them together, then what happens? You don't want that lovely phase of their romance to end," she says.
Source: Wales on Sunday