Silent Witness actress Emilia Fox on the return of the BBC1 drama tonight at 9pm

Emilia Fox has revealed that her Silent Witness character Dr Nikki Alexander is traumatised after her narrow escape in Mexico as the hit BBC1 drama returns for its 21st series tonight.

At the end of the last series, Nikki escaped being buried alive by a drug cartel and Emilia has said Nikki is very unsettled although desperate to get back to work.

“After thinking she was going to die, Nikki’s realised that she’s been given a second chance to live and appreciate life  – I thought it was essential to refer to that. She is eager to start work and return to normal, but she is being told to stay away from work and Jack won’t return her calls and is distancing himself from her because of his guilt at not being able to save her.

“This leaves Nikki feeling purposeless and isolated from the Lyell team family. This series explores Nikki post trauma, feeling very unsettled and alone with this vulnerability. She is paranoid and still having flashbacks from Mexico.”

Nikki though is set to get a new love interest later in the series in the form of a dashing American ambassador.

Meanwhile, Emilia revealed she particularly enjoyed filming the show’s opening story, which sees a friend and fellow pathologist disappear.

Nikki is recruited by the police to keep tabs on the prime suspect David Cannon (Julian Rhind-Tutt).

Nikki (Emilia Fox) escaped being buried alive by a Mexican drug cartel at the end of the last series, so it’s hardly surprising that the traumatised pathologist is on gardening leave while she recovers.

“I really enjoyed playing the cat-and-mouse scenes with Julian Rhind-Tutt in episode one,” said Emilia.

Silent Witness is back five two-hour films starting tonight on BBC1 at 9.00pm