'Emmerdale' viewers thrilled to spot Ryan Hawley in 'Silent Witness' with a VERY different look

Ryan Hawley as Robert Sugden in Emmerdale
Fans spotted Ryan in 'Silent Witness' looking very different to 'Emmerdale' character Robert Sugden. (Image credit: BBC)

Eagle-eyed Emmerdale fans were thrilled to see soap favourite Ryan Hawley in this week's Silent Witness episodes, playing a character called Michael Robson. 

Ryan played Emmerdale's much-loved character, Robert Sugden, between 2014 and 2019 and was one half of the popular 'Robron' romance between Robert and Aaron Dingle in the soap.

Fans were thrilled to see Ryan back on their screens as the 24th series of Silent Witness came to a close, but not only because he has been missed since leaving Emmerdale, but also because of the brilliant performance the actor gave as troubled character, Michael. 

Ryan Hawley in Silent Witness

Ryan Hawley gave a great performance in 'Silent Witness'.  (Image credit: BBC)

The season finale of Silent Witness had fans on the edge of their seats as a terrifying storm raged on Halloween night, leaving care home residents stranded and with Nickki and Jack with two mysterious deaths to solve.

Ryan was seen playing the son of a deceased man, whose mysterious death was being treated as murder. 

But as Nikki and her team worked to solve the crime, Michael was left troubled by the death of his father, and fans couldn't get enough of seeing him back on their screens. 

Ryan Hawley as Robert Sugden in Emmerdale

Soap fans will recognise Ryan as Robert Sugden (right) in 'Emmerdale'.   (Image credit: ITV)

Fans were excited to see the actor, especially as he looked very different from his Robert Sugden days, having grown his hair since leaving Emmerdale...

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Watching Ryan in Silent Witness wasn't the only treat for fans as his appearance on the show came alongside the news that Amanda Burton will be reprising her role as Sam Ryan, 17 years after leaving the show. 

Ryan Hawley and Emelia Fox in Silent Witness

Ryan played a troubled chicken farmer in this week's 'Silent Witness' episodes.  (Image credit: BBC)

Speaking of reprising the role, Amanda says: “I am so excited to be returning to Silent Witness and stepping back into Sam Ryan’s shoes - with a difference!

"Audiences can look forward to plenty of twists and turns as they discover what Sam’s been doing since leaving the Lyell.”

Current star of the crime drama, Emilia Fox, says: “It is such a delight and thrill to be working with Amanda. To have Sam Ryan back again at the heart of the show is the greatest way of all to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Silent Witness.”

You can catch up on all series of Silent Witness, including Season 24 on BBC iPlayer

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.