The BBC announces the commissioning of a new four-part thriller, The Silence. The drama will star Gina McKee, Hugh Bonneville, Douglas Henshall and Dervla Kirwan.
A deaf girl witnesses a murder in The Silence, a new four-part drama for BBC One. Eighteen-year-old Amelia Edwards (introducing Genevieve Barr) has recently been fitted with a cochlear implant, enabling her to hear, but she struggles to accept that she has a place in the hearing world.
Breaking free from her over-protective parents (Gina McKee – In The Loop, Fiona’s Story and Hugh Bonneville – Ben Hur, Lost In Austen), she goes to stay with her party-loving cousins, homicide detective uncle Jim (Douglas Henshall – Collision, Primeval) and warm-hearted aunt Maggie (Dervla Kirwan – Ondine, Moving On).
Amelia witnesses the audacious murder of a policewoman, and is reluctantly propelled further into a loud and frightening world. Jim is assigned the case, and when she identifies a police officer on the drugs squad as one of the killers, he urgently needs to protect his niece. If his colleagues find out what she has witnessed, she will be in extreme danger from the very people he works with. But by keeping her a secret, he will jeopardise his own position in the force and put his whole family at risk…
The Silence is about an ordinary family where something extraordinary happens. The teenagers’ partying lifestyles and casual drug-taking collide with Jim’s investigation, and all their lives are hurled into a cacophony of police corruption, betrayal, drugs, and murder. This is the first major role for severely deaf actress Genevieve Barr, who won the coveted role of Amelia while she was on the Teach First scheme, teaching in a challenging inner London secondary school. A graduate of Edinburgh University, Genevieve has filmed the sitcom pilot Comedy Showcase: The Amazing Dermot.
The Silence is the first UK project for the Australian writer Fiona Seres (who has already had acclaimed dramas on Australian television including Tangle, Dangerous, Love My Way, The Surgeon).
“The Silence began as a gem of an idea in a café in Berwick Street Market and our transatlantic script development ended up with Fiona upping sticks and moving her family and life to the UK. When casting, it was hugely important to find the right dynamics for the families, because though The Silence is a thriller, it’s primarily a family drama. That we have ended up with such a stellar cast is testament to the quality of writing and we are very proud to have the fantastic Emmy Award winning director, Dearbhla Walsh, at the helm”. – Producer Eleanor Greene.
“The Silence is a compelling thriller but at its heart is the story of Amelia, a young deaf girl thrust into the unfamiliar and uncomfortable hearing world and unwittingly into the police investigation. It was really important that we cast an actress who was not only the best person for the role but could bring authenticity and diversity to the part. Genevieve Barr promises to be wonderful as Amelia. It’s testament to Fiona’s beautiful scripts that they have attracted a wonderful cast, led by Douglas Henshall, Dervla Kirwan, Hugh Bonneville and Gina McKee. I am also thrilled to have Dearbhla Walsh directing the piece. We hope this will prove to be a real treat for the BBC One audience.” – BBC One’s Polly Hill.
The Silence is made by Company Pictures (Shameless, Inspector George Gently, Skins, The Devil’s Whore) and executive produced by Charles Pattinson and George Faber for Company and Polly Hill for BBC One. The series is produced by Eleanor Greene (Party Animals) and directed by Emmy Award winning director Dearbhla Walsh (Little Dorrit, The Tudors). The Silence was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning and Jay Hunt, Controller BBC One.