Silent Witness fans stunned to spot EastEnders legend looking unrecognisable in latest episode

Silent Witness season 26 cast
Silent Witness welcomed a familiar face to the cast last night. (Image credit: BBC)

Last night's episode of Silent Witness has got fans talking after they spotted a very familiar face in BBC drama. 

The third episode of Silent Witness season 26 saw Nikki and the team faced with a new mystery after an abandoned lorry was found at a quarry with several dead and dying people in the back.

It soon became clear this was not the sort of people trafficking case that the police are sadly used to. But despite the drama unfolding on screen, fans were distracted after spotting Jack Ryder, better known to soap fans as EastEnders legend Jamie Mitchell, in the cast. 

Jack Ryder as Jamie Mitchell in EastEnders

Jack Ryder as Jamie Mitchell in EastEnders.  (Image credit: BBC)

Of course, Silent Witness is no stranger to welcoming recognizable actors to the cast as guest stars over the years, and for this episode, Jack was playing the role of Frank Turner, a man who ran a youth probation hostel.

Fans were quick to spot the famous actor, despite the fact he looks very different from his EastEnders days, and took to social media to share their excitement... 

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Jack was just 17 when he joined EastEnders in 1998, with his character's death going down in soap history when he was killed off on Christmas Day in 2002 when love rival Martin Fowler accidentally ran him over outside the tube station.

Jack Ryder in Silent Witness season 26

Jack as Frank Turner in Silent Witness.  (Image credit: BBC)

But this isn't the first time we have seen Jack back on our screens since he left EastEnders. The actor joined the cast of Holby City in 2018 as Consultant General Surgeon Evan Crowhurst and has also starred in Kay Mellor’s drama In The Club and also Doctors.

As well as a successful stage career, Jack now also writes children's books.

Silent Witness continues tonight, Tuesday, January 10 on BBC One at 9pm. 

EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7.30 pm on BBC One — see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on episodes on BBC iPlayer now. 

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 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.