Silent Witness Liz’s plea for stable love life

By Jane Wharton



dmg media (UK)


SILENT WITNESS’S Liz Carr insisted her wheelchair-using character had a stable love life – in contrast to the ‘weird relationships’ of her co-stars. Liz, 50, who has been in a wheelchair since she was seven, tells Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs today that she ‘wanted to show what I needed to see when I was growing up’. Her character in the BBC drama, forensic scientist Clarissa Mullery, is profiled as ‘deadpan, super-efficient, sarcastic’ and married to Max, ‘the only person to beat her at Scrabble’. Liz tells show host Lauren Laverne this morning: ‘I loved Clarissa from the minute I read the script. ‘I got her. I wanted her to have a stable relationship as what we see on TV usually is disabled people going, “Will they love me because I’m disabled?” ‘That’s valid, don’t get me wrong. But that’s usually the same story we see. So I wanted to show what I needed to see when I was growing up… all the other main characters, Thomas, Nikki and Jack, they all have kind of weird relationships. I’m going to be the one in the stable relationship.’ Liz adds: ‘If you don’t know me from the telly, I’m invisible as a disabled woman. If you know me from the TV, people want selfies. They’re thrilled to meet me. It’s a dual life, fascinating.’ Liz, who played Clarissa for eight years until she left the series in 2020, has been married to her wife, author Jo Church, since 2010. Last year, she won a Laurence Olivier Award as Best Supporting Actress for the West End revival of The Normal Heart. She says that ‘not a day goes by’ when she doesn’t think about being told as a girl that she wasn’t going to live very long. She admits: ‘I have huge anxiety a lot of the time but I have lived so far’ – adding that it also spurs her on to ‘do it now because who knows?’ Desert Island Discs is on today at 11.15am and will be repeated on Friday at 9am.