Witness Number 3 is a tense, psychological thriller — shown over four consecutive nights — following single mum and salon owner Jodie Packer (Bodyguard star Nina Toussaint-White), whose life is turned upside down when she’s targeted by a violent gang.
After unwittingly witnessing a murderer and his victim moments before the killing, Jodie goes to the police. But when the gang launches a terrifying campaign of intimidation against her, she is torn between protecting her family, including mum Cathy (Sue Johnston) and son Kyle (My Name is Leon star Cole Martin), and doing the right thing.
What to Watch caught up with Nina to find out why Witness Number 3 will have viewers gripped...
How does Jodie become embroiled in the murder investigation?
"One morning, Jodie looks out of the window at work and sees two men crossing the street. It doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, but then the police make an appeal and Jodie steps forward. We soon realize that she has actually witnessed a killer just moments before a murder.
"The killer is part of a gang and Jodie’s evidence could mean that they go to prison, so the gang begins to threaten Jodie and her family through texts and breaking into her salon. It’s a tense, suffocating, voyeuristic psychological thriller that forces the audience to question how far they’d go to do the right thing, and at what cost."
PC Ivan Barkas, played by Sion Daniel Young, is assigned to protect Jodie. Should we be suspicious of him?
"I think you’re right to be suspicious of everyone. Jodie’s sent on this paranoia whirlwind. She’s always looking over her shoulder and she pushes away those that she loves, and, as a viewer, you’re taken on that journey with her.
"Loads of things unfold, but it’s about Jodie’s strength and determination to save her family as well as her community."
The series is quite frightening in places. Did you anticipate that from reading the script?
"Yes, I knew it was going to be a scary, intense show. I found myself reading the scripts and feeling freaked out about what was going to happen next."
Why do you think it’s important to explore the subject of gang culture on TV?
"Gang culture is everywhere, and I think it’s really important to highlight the grasp that gangs have on society as a whole, especially as this series focuses on one gang member who’s very young and is clearly caught up in this world through no fault of his own.
"I grew up in South London and I think people can secure themselves in the gentrified bubble of having their flat whites and avocado on toast without realising that, literally one minute down the road, people are fighting for their lives, or aren’t allowed to cross an estate because they come from a different area."
Did you face any challenges during filming?
"Just the fact that I was a new mum! My baby was only four-months-old and, because we were filming in Dublin, we had to move over there from London. I had lots of early pick-ups and late finishes, so my husband [actor Joey Ellis] had to give up work and care for our daughter every day.
"I found going to work and being up every night with my baby exhausting beyond belief. But the cast were amazing, and delving into the thriller genre was really exciting. People will be on the edge of their seats!"
How did you react when you discovered that acting royalty Sue Johnston would be playing Jodie’s mum, Cathy?
"I didn’t actually find out until I was in costume! When Sue came on set, the nerves started to kick in. But she was just a dream to work with; she was so giving.
"I kept getting my lines wrong, but she just made me feel very calm and told me not to sweat the small stuff. I really wish I’d got to work with her more. She has a great aura and presence — and she also gives great hugs!"
Witness Number 3 airs on Channel 5 over four consecutive nights from Monday, July 18.
Rebecca has more than 20 years' experience in journalism and is now writing about all things telly-related for TV Times, TV&Satellite Week, What’s On TV and whattowatch.com (opens in new tab).
She’s interviewed all sorts of big-name stars, including Al Pacino, Ewan McGregor, Tom Hardy, Winona Ryder, Benedict Cumberbatch and more. She’s also been known to step in front of the camera, dressing up as a 1920s flapper to star in ITV’s Mr Selfridge and co-hosting ITV News at Ten with Mark Austin – all in the line of duty!
When she’s not quizzing actors, directors and producers, you’ll find her bingeing US dramas and anything horror/sci-fi/zombie-themed. But her greatest love will always be Game of Thrones… just don’t mention the ending!
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