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The Silence: From classroom to film set

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Genevieve Barr Genevieve Barr | 11:10 UK time, Monday, 12 July 2010

"Miss, where does beef come from?" one pupil asked me.

"Cows," I replied, grateful that I knew the answer and that I wasn't being tested of my knowledge of the latest single by Alicia Keys.

Ten minutes later, when we've settled into the year eight novel, Montmorency, another question pops up.

"Miss, what does 'lascivious' mean?"


A minute later, I was testing out my acting skills by trying to demonstrate lascivious to a bunch of 14-year-olds, with my elbow propped on the filing cabinet and curling a lock of hair around my finger.

"Does it mean flirting, Miss?"

Whoops and calls from the pupils echoed around the classroom.

Genevieve Barr as Amelia in The Silence

As far as my acting skills go, it's reducing the more sophisticated words in the English language to the behaviour rituals of Bermondsey kids.

How I miss my year eights.

Just 15 days after that particularly lively lesson, I walked on to the set of The Silence. It was an epic experience. But I was always conscious of the huge standard expected of me; to step up from being a nobody in the acting industry to playing the lead role.

I was surrounded by not only actors who had been hugely successful in their craft, deservedly so, but younger actors who had been through drama school and been coveting these kind of roles for years. I didn't want to take anything for granted.

It was tough, really tough.

I spent every night wracked with nerves for the next day - going over my lines, thinking about their meaning, learning sign language from the videos the interpreter had made for me.

I couldn't wear my hearing aids on set, and these were 13 hour days. There was no time to slow things down on my behalf. The emotional depth required of me in every scene - witnessing a murder, learning to hear for the first time, being alienated from my family, meant that I had to step up to a very high mark, and deep low (!) every time.

Paul Begley, played by Conor Mullen, interviews Amelia, played by Genevieve Barr

Not only did I have to reach into the darkest parts of myself to convey the depth of emotion required, but I had to fantasise about how I would feel if I witnessed a murder. Tinkerbell would never have got me to think happy thoughts!

I was constantly tempted to pull mock looks of terror and relieve the mood by being comical. But I couldn't. It was intense, gritty reality.

Filming wasn't chronological either. That meant that by the end of every day, I had pretty much circumnavigated through every single emotion in the book. What a rollercoaster. If that isn't good training for an actress, then what is?

But I loved it.

I often get asked about the impact my deafness had on the filming process, as do the other actors who starred in The Silence with me. It's the first question on people's lips!

It's been interesting reading about what their reactions were. They were pretty similar - she wasn't a deaf actress, she was an actress. I am grateful.

Amelia, played by Genevieve Barr, stands by Jim, played by Douglas Henshall

For me that reinforced the fact that they saw me for who I was and my disability didn't act as a veil - narrowing their vision of who I am and what I have to offer.

I hope that people will see the uniqueness of Amelia, my character, and that while she struggles to adapt to a hearing world, her personality is in no way subdued.

If anything, her disability enhances her charisma and makes her stand out even more as a pretty forthcoming and stubborn individual! Amelia Edwards - she's definitely not just a 'deaf girl'.

Many times in my teenage years I exercised the verb 'flirt' quite transparently. That's normal, I think.

When I was 16, the boy I was going out with at the time said to me "stop staring at boys' lips all the time when you go out, it makes you look like you want to kiss them". In other words, he was feeling threatened.

After that, for a few weeks anyway, I tried to look away every other second but not only did I look like I was attempting some very strange dance moves, but I looked distracted, disinterested and missed half of what they were saying. I ended up feeling pretty foolish. Deaf people need to read lips. I'll never apologise for that!

So how did I find the flirting scenes in The Silence? No one's asked me that yet.

Pretty easy.

Thank you, 8J, for teaching me the true definition of 'lascivious'.

Genevieve Barr stars as Amelia Edwards in The Silence.

The Silence starts on Monday, 12 July at 9pm on BBC One and BBC HD. For more information about future episodes, please visit the upcoming episodes page.


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  • Comment number 1.

    This was a great drama:)

  • Comment number 2.

    My Daughter had an Implant at 7months of age in Sydney.

    I thank God everyday for her implant.

    2 years old with the speech and language development of a three year old.

  • Comment number 3.

    I watched with interest as have bilateral cochlear implants and thought the attempt to show the audience what it is like to be deaf was ambitious and in the main well done. My only comment is that implants do not whistle as they do not experience feedback and whilst I appreciate this was probably done for effect I felt it was a shame as it made the implant seem more like a hearing aid.

    Implants are incredible although hard work is certainly required when learning or re-learning how to hear with them.

  • Comment number 4.

    I think Gen Barr gave a thrilling performance, so good to see a real deaf girl given a great part! Well done BBC the best decent drama you have done for ages! Reminded me of the quality you expect from "Lewis", indeed many of the actors in Lewis were also in this drama I noted!

    It should get heaps of awards!

  • Comment number 5.

    I watched this last night and was puzzled on how Amelia was "hearing" people when her back was to them. She is supposed to be "learning to hear" and this process takes months if not years from the time of the CI.
    Was the sex scene in the toilet really necessary?

  • Comment number 6.

    I just watched the first episode on iPlayer, having missed it last night. What I don't understand is, why does Amelia after witnessing the murder not immediately rush home or to where she's staying and blurt out exactly what she saw? Why keep it a secret? It just doesn't make sense. And why did the police officer, her temporary guardian, shout at her in such an outburst as if he was out of control? Again, it didn't seem right, since police officers are supposed to be calm and reasonable, not screaming the place down.

    So, marks out of ten so far? 3

  • Comment number 7.

    I was highly impressed with the silence,as someone who has a hearing loss, wears two hearing aids and works in technical theatre.The standard of the leads acting was fantastic,considering she had no formal training.Only two gripes,1, she lip reads better than me and 2nd, was the sex scene really necessary?I did wonder about how the audio from the coclear implant was portrayed,as even my hearing aids dont sound like that.Keep up the good work, and i'm looking forward to tonights episode.

  • Comment number 8.

    Enjoyed the episode this evening. I'd like to know what the background music was on the trailer that advertised the series.

  • Comment number 9.

    We've watched the first two epsiodes back to back and can see this getting even better. Great actors in it but all credit has to go to Genevieve for showing such a range of emotions. Looking forward to ep 3 tomorrow.

  • Comment number 10.

    As parents of a ten-year-old CI user (deaf due to meningitis in infancy), we feel very uncomfortable with the depiction of a CI user in The Silence. Given that she appears to have received her CI as a teenager, the character of Amelia is an atypical CI user, and her experience (as depicted in the drama) is not that of most young CI users. We can imagine that many parents of a young deaf child being assessed for a CI will be made more, not less, nervous and anxious by this depiction - which if so is deeply unfortunate, and something the BBC should make amends for in some way. The writer of the drama appears to us to have used the CI as a gimmick to pep up an otherwise predictable and preposterous story line, rather than to illuminate the (complex) issues around deafness and CIs. As far as we can tell, Genevieve Barr is not herself a CI user (in her blog, she refers to her 'hearing aids'). We watched the first two episodes, but we won't be watching the last two.

  • Comment number 11.

    I'm deaf and wear 2 hearing aids so I am finding the Silence insteresting. Like Gammatti says how can Amelia have a conversation with Jim when her back is to him? Obviously the BBC are applying artistic licence here. If the BBC want to use this drama to highlight deaf awawreness then they need to portray a deaf person's needs correctly and that means facing the person who is speaking.
    I agree that the sex scheme was unnecessary but can understand that Amelia has been protected by her parents throughout her life and she's now beginning to spread her wings, discover sex etc. She's growing up and wants to do all the things that teenagers do. The scene itself was a bit seedy and should've been portrayed better.

    I shall continue to watch the rest of the drama.

  • Comment number 12.

    Regarding the use of the CI as a gimmick I think credit should go to the writer for tackling a difficult subject and bringing CI's to the attention of prime time audiences. Obviously we can not expect it to stick rigidly to facts as this would spoil the plot and it is a drama after all. Parents of children and indeed adults considering CI's will be supported with the correct information however for those of us already using CI's there will no doubt be increased awareness as a result of the programme which I welcome.

    Regarding the BBC making amends I agree it would be good, if by raising the awareness through drama, a factual programme followed regarding CI's and both the benefits and controversy surrounding them.

    I will certainly look to watch the final two shows.

  • Comment number 13.

    Once again the BBC has shown the others how to make decent TV.
    Gripping and honest portrayal of this difficult subject, A young girl with hearing would have struggled with her dilema, more so given the dysfunctional family her aunt and uncle have.
    I was not aware until I visited this blog that "Amelia" is actually deaf, so my view that hers was a very good performance, so far, is based on the fact that she was a hearing actress pretending, so good she fooled me.
    Neither her parents or her aunt and uncle, let alone her cousins, appear to be very considerate people, and that in my view is why she was reluctant to tell what she'd seen. Her aunt and uncle certainly reinforce that by their reaction.
    The plot has built very well and I look forward eagerly to tonight's episode.
    Dont disappoint me.

  • Comment number 14.

    It's ironic how BBC iPlayer do not have subtitles for this programme but they have it HD available as that is more important for deaf people.....

  • Comment number 15.

    I can appreciate the comments from people with hearing impairments, and it is interesting to read their viewpoint on this drama. What I am finding most surprising is that Genevieve has no, or little, previous experience--she is an amazing actress. I agree with her colleagues--she 'is not a deaf actress, she is an actress.'
    I have been in the film/broadcast industry for 25 years, and this is one of the best dramas I have seen in many years, and only the first 2 episodes, so far.
    Bravo to all involved.

  • Comment number 16.

    My questions is -

    If she is profoundly deaf, how does she hear her 'uncle' from behind her as she did not have her hearing aids in and the CI was a prop?

    How does the cochlear implant stay on the side of her head as it is a prop, you need the magnet to hold it in place?

    CI's do not whistle or buzz!

    As a CI user myself, I am really enjoying this programme, and would like it to be aired like Eastenders?? Please!!

  • Comment number 17.

    This is one of the worst and most frustrating TV dramas I have watched. It was excruciating witnessing one stupid decision after another enacted by characters with absolutely no intelligence, creating a totally unbelievable script with unbelievable and ridiculous characters - I can not stress this enough! Come on BBC surely we can do better than this?

  • Comment number 18.

    imill - please don't misunderstand me, like you I would love to see responsible depictions of CIs and CI users in mainstream media. That is why, in hope, I watched the first two episodes of The Silence. But it seems to me that CI users do not stand to gain from inaccurate and atypical depictions of what it means to be a CI user. As you will know, CI users have faced hostility from much of the 'deaf community' and others, with e.g. the NSPCC regarding the implantation of children as child abuse. Am I a child abuser because I wanted my son to benefit from this remarkable (nay, miraculous) technology? So to see a TV drama character so atypical of CI users, and so troubled by her implantation, left me feeling uncomfortable, and disappointed. For it is a depiction that can only hearten the (many) opponents of CIs. But, hey, tomorrow morning my son will hear me tell him I love him, he will tell me to let him sleep some more, and later we will chat as I take him to school, so what the luvvies at the BBC do is neither here nor there. It's just a drama. Real life goes on. With bilateral CIs, in our case.

  • Comment number 19.

    Richard, your points are well taken and are very relevant after the 3rd episode where Amelia ditched the CI and hung out with ther friends in the deaf community who advised her to just accept who she is. I suspect (hope) that the last episode may come full circle and introduce the positives of the CI if not then you will be absolutely right.

    I have never been part of the deaf community onlly losing my hearing at 37 and do indeed find my CI's a miracle.

  • Comment number 20.

    This is a pretty frustrating watch and hard to understanding the thinking of the characters. Amelia is nineteen and an adult why does she keep running away at every possible opportunity (Blair Witch style)? Why would a senior police officer not declare he had found a witness to a murder, even if it was a relative, where is that going?? Why is Amelia's mother so annoying? Why are Scots always portrayed as "shouty angry people"? Only a smoker would think that a parent could not smell that their children had been smoking/smoking dope upstairs in their house.
    I sincerely believe that there is the basis for a good drama here, just not the way this has been written. Well done for using a disabled actor.

  • Comment number 21.

    I agree with Haveaword about Silence. It may be showing me how a deaf person copes with deafness and CI, but it took me time to realise that it was really about making me experience the same bewilderment and discomfort as the girl. Amelia's behaviour is unpredictable. Will she shout, cry, look lost, smile or expertly deliver fellatio? The action is preposterous. Why doesn't she immediately report what she has seen and why doesn't Jim act on it? Was belief suspended in order to discomfort and baffle the viewer? Does Jim mumble incomprehensibly to add to one's experience of deafness? Does Jim's dysfunctional family largely ignore her presence among them to add to her feeling of isolation and ours? What was the point of the pretty nocturnal photography? Too clever by half!

  • Comment number 22.

    I have absolubtly loved this drama, and well done to everyone involved, especially gen barr, for what must have been a very difficult and emotional journey to attempt the portrayel of an implant user, but uses hearing aids.. My son was implanted at 12mnth old, (is now 3) and it gave us an insight of how he may hear in different situations. Im aware theres no whistling, and things like that, but very well done to the BBC for raising deaf awareness, and the use of CI'S. People in the street now know what my son is wearing, and why. I have gotten right into the drama, in a very open minded way, and can understand alot of what people seem to be missing, as a whole. This is a very deep, complex drama, not just surrounding the implant, but everyday stresses, family issues, adolescence and insecurities. Im not going to crib the whole episodes, on what other people have, that seem to be very minor small insignificances compared to the bigger picture. Well done BBC, and all cast members, for raising CI awareness, accompanied by a gritty twist of secrets, lies and corruption. LOVE IT!!

  • Comment number 23.

    A very well acted drama (I am not sure if 'stretching it out' over four evenings works well).

    Not quite sure if it is about Police Corruption, and how being an accidental witness impacts on not only her but her family members.
    Looking forward to tonights last episode to see if the 'good guy' wins.

    I think it clearly displays what a great actress Ms Barr is. Must be difficult to show what being 'deaf' really means. Did I miss it or did one of the characters explain what a CI is. (how different it is and not just a modern Hearing Aid). It seems from reading the replies, people forget it is a Drama. so it worked well didn't it congratulations BBC welcome back.

  • Comment number 24.

    I think the CI was ditched because it was a means of identifying Amelia.

    When she went to he Audiologist, "some nice gentleman has returned YOUR implant, thankfully they are unique/coded serial number.". It was at that point they knew it was his niece, and could start intimidating her, and her parents, and her Uncles family as well.

    Bit worrying, do the Police really have that much power?, trying to go it alone, save his own career and his family at the same time.
    and coming up against not only corrupt Police but the very system which is supposed to avoid/detect and remove the corrupt. Police Internal affairs/Police Standards Agencies.

  • Comment number 25.

    Just a couple of points :

    The plot holes are, indeed, hideous. However, the performances, largely, are great ( although I find Gina McKee unsually irritating and i've never been a fan of Douglas Henshall). As far as things like the CI making noises is concerned, they are, in my vie,w legitimate dramatic devices, that give those of us who aren't deaf,or have other disabilities a way "in" to understanding some of this issue.

    As far as giving some form of balance to the issues surround CI's I think, in actual fact, that, from the perspective of an ordinary viewer, this will be one of the first times that they will have witnessed a portrayal of CI's that isn't unquestioningly positive. Finally, just remember, it's a drama, not a documentary about deafness.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    I'll repeat. It's a drama NOT a documentary!!

    The actress has hearing loss therefore she's more appropriate to play the part than a hearing actor. However, there comes a point were it becomes impossible to cast roles that require that the real person mirrors exactly the character they play!!

    It's a drama not a documentary!

  • Comment number 28.

    I had so been looking forward to this drama series but for the most part I’ve been disappointed. The BBC is usually so good at this stuff and I was looking forward to having 4 nights of something to watch for a change. I missed the first episode and read up on it.

    Everything about this drama is just all over the shop. The acting is always way over the top and even hysterical – especially from Amelia and her detective uncle. I’m not sure how old Amelia is supposed to be, but she acts like a 12 year old most of the time, with no control over her emotions or actions and has absolutely no life experience – she is actually very annoying - granted what happened to her was traumatising. The plot is so slow – 4 hours is completely unnecessary – hardly anything ever happens and Jim the detective never seems to be doing any “detecting” because he is always hanging out with Amelia and protecting her. The supporting characters are very weak – members of the drug squad engaging in corruption look like people you wouldn’t want to meet down a dark alley – never mind a police station. The plot line seems so implausible and completely exaggerated. Mac goes to visit the detective’s wife in her shop to intimidate her and then to Amelia’s family home to intimidate her parents and her. There are so many witnesses – it just wouldn’t happen in reality. The corruption and intimidation seems very open. Why on earth does Jim bring Amelia to the police station and leave her in the car park while he goes to his office, and why would Amelia ring Jim’s wife in a panic instead of calling Jim who is right there and could get her away from the scene quicker. Jim should be trying to avoid Amelia coming into contact with the policewoman’s killers, not put her in a location where she is going to be noticed!! It's all just badly thought out. As for Jim’s teenage kids jumping into bed with their mum because they are scared – well that’s just weird and I don’t think would ever happen in reality.

    The drama is set in England, in Bristol. From the credits it looks like there was Irish involvement in this series, or that it was filmed in Ireland – it looks like it too – it just doesn’t look like the UK – at least to my eye – especially the rural scenes set around Amelia’s parents house.

    This series is very disappointing from the BBC – and they could do better. I’ll be watching tonight to see what happens, but I won’t be expecting very much. Wire in the Blood by ITV was a much better drama series.

  • Comment number 29.

    Im going to reiterate what so many people have said already...its a DRAMA,.not a DOCUMENTARY surrounding CI's. my son was born 13wks prem, profoundly deaf and with many chronic illness's aswell. having a CI for him was my personal choice, and the best one for him aswell. why should he have to be brought up in a hearing family with no access to sound?? why should he not be granted the opportunity of a mainstream education?? my son has been through so much in 3 short years, and is very very lucky to be alive, although he is fighting on with many illness's. The opportunity to have a CI for my son to access all was fantastic, and in every way, is a pro to his difficult life. the saying goes...if its not broke, dont fix it...well it was broke so we did!

  • Comment number 30.

    Impressive performance, Genevieve. Congratulations.

    Please be kind to the one (me) who knows nothing about deafness. Is being completely deaf being in complete silence? I knew about the vibrations in the nightclubs, but aren't deaf people feeling vibrations to some extent at all times?

    I'm enjoying this drama but having watched the third episode now, I have not found out more than I already knew about issues relating to deafness and I know so little.

  • Comment number 31.

    It is a real shame that the BBC pull out all the stops for a great drama like this but end up letting it down by poor writing and directing. It has some beautifully shots. The acting is also well above par for the usual fare on television and it is the saving grace of The Silence. After a big build up in the first two episodes the third dragged and the plot holes are becoming even more great. I hope the final part is redeeming.

    What happened to the CCTV surveillence which was made such a fuss of at the start of the investigation? Twice, even with a mobile police unit outside the house, Amelia (matching the witness description) plainly walked past police officers in the street. She is taken to the station and I agree with another comment that this was a ridiculous move by a detective trying to keep her out of harms reach. Why has there been no mention of the car used in the murder? This is one of the first descriptions the police would chase up...

    BBC and to an extent ITV have started running these dramas on consecutive nights whilst it no doubt helps ratings it leaves big gaping holes in the TV schedule. This is the only drama I've watched on terrestrial for sometime, that wasn't American. I wish they would start investing and taking a chance on long running shows of this calibre and even greater. Instead I'm forced to search On Demand or bizarrely tune in to Five.

  • Comment number 32.

    Wow, what an amazing actress Genevieve Barr is! She exudes charisma - I really hope she goes on to do lots of other stuff.

    It must be hard striking a balance, having hearing loss and playing hearing loss and making it understandable and realistic for both hearing and deaf viewers . For me, all in all, they have done an excellent job.

    One of the things I love about the drama are the silences, it makes it so atmospheric. Great drama!

  • Comment number 33.

    Great drama but what a pathetic and unsatisfactory ending

  • Comment number 34.

    Fantastic drama what a way to leave you on the edge. I would love to see a sequal. I want more.!!!

  • Comment number 35.

    ok so where is episode 5? i want to see what happens! it ended leaving more answers, does rocky help? does their dad live? what happens!!!

    5/5 for the hit (The Silence)

  • Comment number 36.

    I have really enjoyed this but was very disappointed at the last episode.
    It would have been nice to have just one more episode to tie it all together.

  • Comment number 37.

    What an ending! or lack of it!
    What happened then? four hours of watching this great drama for no completion.
    What happened? did Jim die? was the bleeding really under really under control? did the drugs kill him? Was he sacked? did he change his family life? Did the 2 corupt cops get caught by the police or did they just kill rocky? What about Tom was he cleared? Please an ending would have been nice do you not think?

  • Comment number 38.

    Does the BBC really take us all for idiots? We watch The Silence for four evenings and it has an ending as feeble and unresolved as this one? The critique today on the Radio Times website was perfectly accurate, as the lady said, why did we bother. I should have taken more heed and changed channels. Brilliant acting by all concerned, but such a very disappointing end that it did absolutely no justice to the actors involved.

  • Comment number 39.

    great drama
    exept the terrible ending
    did they run out of money or something?

  • Comment number 40.

    I am absolutely gutted with the final episode and cant believe the bbc would commission a series that has no ending. I have wasted four hours of my life watching this fabulous series, hooked every night until now... I have vowed never to watch a bbc drama ever again, sorry bbc but that is it...a million other channels to watch and I chose yours, never again, I am so disappointed with the potential that this had and instead licence is given to artistic rubbish to end it in this way...

  • Comment number 41.

    I am very very very disppointed with this series! It does not represent deaf community at all! and it's an audiologist dream/propagnada for cochlear implant. Come on BBC!! More BSL next time yeah?

  • Comment number 42.

    Having watched all four episodes of the Silence I was so disappointed with the final episode. The ending was so poor, I just felt it hadn't been worth the four days wait for the conclusion.

  • Comment number 43.

    Explain Please?!
    like most of you, I have wasted 4 nights watching this programme!
    Confused?! LOST offered more answers than this.

  • Comment number 44.

    What a brilliant drama the silence was.Superb, multi-layered script that was both thrilling and thought provoking about disability, work-life balance, family and commitment. As a parent of a disabled daughter I really enjoyed the exploration of our assumptions that disabled people are incomplete; at the same time set in tense juxtaposition to the fact that Amelia's disability needed to be understood by those around her. Brilliant acting. Well done BBC.

  • Comment number 45.

    My Conclusion, BBC... what a HUGE embarrassment ! thank you for wasting 4 hours of my life getting madder and madder at your inaccuracies relating to deaf people and how they hear and communicate. that was torture!

  • Comment number 46.

    What a terrible ending, there should have been a 5th episode on friday night to clear up all the loose ends. In my opinion there was to many questions unanswered and the storyline was not complete.

  • Comment number 47.

    What a crashing disappointment the conclusion of this drama has been despite excellent acting and production values. All the threads except Amelia's story have been left hanging in the air. This is a poor conclusion to 4 hours viewing on consecutive nights. My expectation was that the writer/producers of this drama would not cheat the viewers in such an unsatisfactory manner. My level of commitment was not matched by that of the BBC. I feel unhappy about watching future dramas if the trend is that they could end abrubtly and unresolved. This is not clever, it is sloppy and treats the viewer with contempt. Shame on you for trying to be clever and alienating your audience so successfully. What a waste of time.

  • Comment number 48.

    Why does something that gives a child access to sound cause debate?

    How dare anyone accuse a parent of 'Child Abuse' for giving a child a CI!

    If that is the case it’s time to burn and smash those wicked corrective devises “glasses”!!

    Also stop treatment for all diseases and end all research!!!!!!

  • Comment number 49.

    I do have to agree with haveaword, this drama has frustrated me beyond belief. I screamed out aloud when Jim took her to the police station. So many stupid things happened - I was shouting at people "don't get out of the car" and they did. "Don't run in the middle of the road" and they did, and so on and so on.

    So the final episode was tonight - and how did they finish it off - well they didn't even bother. Did Jim die? Did Mac and Lee get away with it? Was Jim's boss in on it? Was Terry the snitch calling Mac? Was Robin in on it? What did Rocky do? I am angry, really angry that the writer just didn't have aclue how to end this. I am just relieved that it's only involve 4 days of my life, and it wasn't run as a weekly. If I can't sleep tonight because I'm dreaming up an ending - I might sue (joke). There has been some great dramas recently. This was NOT one of them. How anyone can say they enjoyed this is beyond me. Better luck with the next one. Could have concluded this so much better. Genevieve Barr was the one shining light. Well done to her.

  • Comment number 50.

    The Silence has been a good drama to watch, but it has so many inconsistencies it was ruined! I am deaf myself so I know what it is possible or near possible to do when in different kind of situations, and one of the things it is NOT possible to do is lipread someone from about 25 metres away. When Gen was in the playground she managed to lipread two men's profiles, from this distance and through railings!!! Then she carried on while whizzing on the roundabout! Ridiculous!! The same thing happened when her Uncle came into the bedroom and spoke to her while she sat on the bed with her back to him, and she responded....how??? You still need to lipread with CI's especially when you have just had it fitted!!
    And why was the end such a dreadful anti-climax? Gen wore no aid or CI all through the programme, so how did she manage to lipread the copper as he walked around her in circles??

    This drama could have been EXCELLENT if only directors and producers had researched deafness and CI's more. But, as someone has said, the CI was just a gimmick to liven up the drama.....but the Deaf Community are not "gimmicks!"

  • Comment number 51.

    As a mother of 2 children both profoundly deaf both having had cochlear implants aged 6 and 7 both now 18 and 19... Sophie aged 18 went for a casting for The Silence .. She is beautiful .. Won Miss Famous fresh Face 2009 at Teen Queen for Sue Moxley's range of cosmetics .featured on her beauty page sept 2009 for lipsticks .. at the casting interview she was not keen and didnt make the effort even tho I knew she could be Amelia...
    She would miss college ...her hairdressing course which she loves... and excels at..... she hates her implant and speaks clearly . Her perfect world is in the Silence she does not need the sound and I respect her for that...My son is the same and with 2 hearing siblings we have been ok for years...We sign ..we shout like any other family....Gen was fab even tho she has hearing aids and her speech was a bit to good for 5 months after the implant ..the sound effects or lack of them was perfect.. and atmoshere thrilling....well done....

  • Comment number 52.

    I have enjoyed this series all week and shoved my kids off to bed unceremoniously each evening so I could watch it. What a disappointing conclusion. I don't think we are expecting a 'Happy Ending' necessarily, but to leave so many loose ends? Did they run out of funding for the scriptwriter?

  • Comment number 53.

    Can't believe the lack of ending! Don't usually complain but this was a joke.

  • Comment number 54.

    Hey, we all like a few loose ends from time to time to keep us wondering... But pretty much EVERY aspect of the storyline left unfinished? There must be more spending cuts than I thought! Great drama from 1-3.5, but you can't leave an audience with a storyline that unfulfilled and expect them to be satisfied! I'll ask for a sequel, but I know there won't be one. Disappointing BBC, you built me up and let me down!

  • Comment number 55.

    This was a great Drama. However, i think we have been left hanging as to what happens next. Would be good to get one further series which will take us through the trial and complete an excellent production with some great acting

  • Comment number 56.

    I'm glad the ending was like it was ... life isn't neat and I get fed up being spoon fed happy wrapped neat endings to dramas ... it makes me feel as if there's no point watching programmes if you already know the ending is going to 'pretty'. This ending of loose threads also leaves the door open for another 4 parter to be written following on from this ...and more of the same please it was fantastic.

  • Comment number 57.

    Great Drama kept me gripped, poor ending thou.......

    BUT oh why didn't the BBC team research deafness properly????

    I am deaf myself and know the issues.

    Mistakes from the programme......

    * How the hell can she hear someone talking behind her, its virtually impossible for a deaf person to hear behind
    * CI s do not feedback
    * Where is the clear speech when talking to the deaf lady ?????
    * How did she manage to lip-read whilst whizzing around a roundabout?? and just to cap it, one person had a beard and the other was black, both poor to lipread in normal circumstances.

    I WISH there had been better deaf awareness.


  • Comment number 58.

    I could not believe the (lack of an) ending to that programme. It was brilliant stuff all the way through, only to be ruined by the last 5 minutes. Had been telling people in work to pick this up on iplayer etc, but I'll be sure to tell them in the morning not to bother now.

    Please tell me you're just teasing us, and there'll be another set of episodes?!

  • Comment number 59.

    Quite astonishing, some of the posts here. How viewers intelligent enough to recognize the quality of this drama for four hours can suddenly become dim at the conclusion beats me. The "story" was over. Why require more? Did viewers expect some sentimental coming together of all parties in some enormous joyful Sunday lunch? The virtue of the script was in its acute portraiture and unwillingness to accept the pat and easy. This is what made it compelling. It did not talk down to the audience. Stellar cast, beautifully plated, well directed. But it is the writer who deserves the plaudits (and I cannot find her name anywhere on the website, which truly is a disgrace).

  • Comment number 60.

    Exceptional! That says it in one word but it was a multi-layered script with audio to convey what I cannot conceive, I wish I was credited with the photography. Many of these 4 part dramas feel like the were stretched 90 minute films; not this one.

    I would be astounded if awards don't follow. That said if something better comes along then, wow!

  • Comment number 61.

    I admit I was hooked for the first 3 episodes but was very disappointed by the final episode, what happened did the writers loose the will to live? Shame as overall I thought Genevieve Barr was great as was Douglas Henshall.

  • Comment number 62.

    G Barr was great as a deaf person playing a deaf person..........not too politically correct...... That aside...
    ...There was no ending to anything....Happy or otherwise...
    .. I agree with another poster...that this was a five part series...and something went wrong.....Bring back Luther!!

  • Comment number 63.

    I felt compelled to write as im quite embarrassed that a large proportion of the comments I have read are written by adults?? How very juvenile, I'll assume this as the programme is on after the watershed and all of the UK's children are tucked up in bed prior to it starting.....I have never written a blog or comment before on the web but this drama series has been an education, if their was a documentary on Cochlear Implants I would not have watched it, now I might just!, take from it what you will but to get angered or dissapointed because of the ending is like having a great meal and only talking about how horrible dessert was....the positives far out weigh the negatives, acting was great, the storyline great and the ending was also great as it has kept us talking about the programme very clever and well done to all involved.

  • Comment number 64.

    my compliments to Genevive Barr. Whilst the script had a few flaws, particularly the last episode being a real let down, the acting of GB was impressive. I actually wondered if she was an actress as she played far to realistic for that, this was raw talent. The last episode looked like the bbc had originally planned for 5 and they cut things far to late. Pitty about the poor end to such a promising miniseries, but perhaps the writers hoped for a follow up. They definitively built up plenty of tension.

  • Comment number 65.

    Well, i have sat here and read everyone's Comments (Yes, i am that sad :P) And i find myself agreeing on a lot of things. I am an Actress myself and i have to say the Acting from everyone was great! So well done everyone! :D Ok, so first of all, i am Disabled. I am not Deaf though so obviously i cant Comment on how that is like but i think it's wrong that everyone is nit picking: "How did she answer when her back was turned to him!?" It's called Acting! I mean, did it really make you that angry!? Come on! The Writer cant get it perfect all the time! And with People complaining about how they should have researched more on being Deaf etc. I agree to a certain point but this wasn't a Documentary! So let me get this straight, because we have a Person with a Disability means we have to break everything down? Explain why things are the way they are? Like i said, i have a Disability. A very noticeable one, it's Physical, it's out there and i wanna be an Actress myself and yes, i am expected that i might one Day have to play a Disabled Person but tbh, i'd rather be recognised for my Acting ability, for the type of Person i am. NOT for the type of Disability i have. I don't want People like me to start demanding that there should have been more facts about what we have. Why? We're just like everyone else. Why do we have to tell the whole World that they need to know more? Maybe for once i would like to be treated normal and not have it be all about my Disability. Now i don't know how Genevieve feels about that but in my opinion, i ONLY focus on her as a Person and her Acting Skills than what the facts are about being Deaf. I'm sorry if i have offended anyone, that is not my intention but, i am Disbled too so i do have a right to say how i feel. Anyway enough about Disabilities. The ending to the Film, i will admit i was pretty upset at first, even angry but i read someone else's Comment bellow me, saying that their glad with the way it ended because now a Days we are just sugar coated, everything has a happy ending and you know, i totally agree. I wish they had ended it better but i'm glad it didn't end with the goodies winning because lets face it, Life isn't really like that now is it?

  • Comment number 66.

    Thoroughly enjoyed The Silence, agree with others that it was a Drama not a Documentary but I did feel a little let down with the ending. Could have done with maybe another 15 minutes, wanted to see the bad guys get their just desserts, did Jim survive, a few loose ends needed to be tied. Maybe a sequel showing the compiling of evidence etc, the Court Case then imprisonment. Well done to everyone especially G Barr.

  • Comment number 67.

    Well done BBC for trying to incorporate a very difficult subject within this drama. As has been pointed out several times this is a drama not a documentary. Some may criticise the storyline for technical inaccuracies concerning cochlear implants but far more importantly what it has done is raise awareness. My son is deaf and has a cochlear implant and he has encountered a huge range of people through his educational, working, social and sporting lives. As a result he is able to integrate with both hearing and deaf people using either speech or sign language. As a good long term implant user many people he encounters take for granted what his implant can do for him. We welcome the greater awareness of these issues.

  • Comment number 68.

    Really enjoyed watching each episode of The Silence and looked forward to the conclusion. Amelia was great. At the end though I couldn't believe it had finished and even looked to find if I'd made a mistake and tried to find out if there was another episode. There were so many answers left hanging. Are we expected to make up our own ending? Come on BBC, after watching each night with it building the tension up so well I fealt let down when it ended. What a great shame!

  • Comment number 69.

    I was devastated at the abrupt ending. I was sure there was more to come and I felt I was left hanging. Is this a new 'style' of production? It's a ploy to get us all discussing it but sorry it doesn't get my vote. In saying that, I thought the drama was great. I wouldn't let anything get in the way of it. A couple of mistakes in it but overall I must have more of it please.

  • Comment number 70.

    I am a hearing person, and so I can't comment on that part of it. But I did feel that the girl in the drama is incredibly maladjusted, and there was no apparent reason why. It gave the impression that a deaf person is also a bit of a wreck. It was completely unnatural for her not to tell anyone /murder had seen an accident- probably her dad as she was closest to him - as this is what any mornal person would straight away. She seemed almost autistic rather than deaf. The sex and drugs made no sense if she was this uncommunicative in other ways, and I also found her really irritating in that she didnt even try to communicate with people - which I cant beleive would be the case if she was this age and had always signed. Just becasue she was deaf, di dshe have to be such misfit? Having said that, I felt the whole storyline was strange. The policeman (Jim) seemed to break into hysterical shouting at everyone, when he would have calmly spoken to someone who might be a key witnesess, declared the fact and moved her and her family to a place of safety. He would never have got to his position without thiking 'maybe I'll go outside my area and talk to the police there about my corrupt department. Especially when is bos is clearly involved. The whole thing was unlikey and implausible. Apart from that, all the people in it were great, clearly struggling with a poor script and dubious characterisations. THe best thing is the directing, although its a shame all the teenagers seemed to be so sleazy and childish. As someone who has never taken 'drugs' it always annoys me when everyone assumes it is a normal activity!

  • Comment number 71.

    I watched with my girlfriend all Four episodes of The Silence, and up to half an hour from the end thought it was absolutely brilliant. Superbly acted. Especially Genevieve Barr and Douglas Henshallnd. Although I thought everybody played their characters really well. Every night it was on we just didn't want it to finish. Checking the clock every five minutes, hoping it would just carry on. Our problem is with the last episode. I just knew there was no way there was enough time in the last episode for the story to end how I believe it should have. Although this is my opinion. Surely there is another episode we thought, or the last episode was going to be a Two hour special or something - but no. There must be another few episodes coming out as if not, what happens? You cannot leave such a Fantastic Drama hanging on like that. Just leaving it to the audience to decide and make up in there mind exactly what they think happens. I was so gutted with the ending, even this morning still moaning about it. I thought surely someone else thinks the same, so went on to the BBC website and wrote this. What does any one else think, and please tell me, there will be more.

  • Comment number 72.

    I thought the drama was very good and i enjoyed it very much and i love Dervla :)
    I was just a bit annoyed with the ending like in some comments above. It would have been good if we knew he survived and/or the bent coppers got caught maybe just by way of writing at the end or something at least, part 4 concludes the story? did it heckers?
    but acting was brilliant! hope to see some more good bbc dramas but that actually conclude.

  • Comment number 73.

    While it was a decent enough drama. It was in no way sophisticated enough to carry off such an ending. I assume the writer wanted to make it somewhat "enimatic". However s/he simpley succeeded in drawing attention to the sloppyiness and laziness of the over all plotting.

  • Comment number 74.

    It was a compelling drama from start to finish. would love to see another series to to tie the loose ends up but overall 5/5. i thought Genevieve Barr was fantastic considering she's never acted on TV before and hopefully we see her more on TV.

    well done to all the cast on a great drama!

  • Comment number 75.

    I really enjoyed watching the first two episodes, the third one went downhill a bit, but the fourth one, i was really looking forward to watching that and seeing how it ends...I was so disappointed with that ending, it was a poor ending, even by the Beeb's standards. I was implanted when I was 17, so I can relate to some of Amelia's feelings, but a lot of it was quite far fetched. However, I thought Genieve Barr was a brilliant actress, and I really enjoyed watching her. It is refreshing to watch a show with a deaf actress. A lot more research is required into cochlear implants if you are going to use that for a storyline.

  • Comment number 76.

    what a fab drama....BUT VERY VERY VERY DISAPPOINTED WITH THE ENDING....wasted 4 hours...just to get a ending like that.....what a load of rubbish.....come on bbc give us our monies worth and the ending we have all been waiting for....we need to know what happened you cant leave it like this....or there will be alot of people.....that WONT BE watching any more bbc dramas and the includes...our household...

  • Comment number 77.

    Take aside all the negative critics, I would like to say, well done to all the actors and to BBC producers of this programme. Wow!!! Very powerful drama. I don't often cry or get angry over drama or films, but acting was great in this drama,I really wanted to scream at the children. As a mother of a profoundly deaf daughter,who suffers severe speech impairment, who is just as stuborn as Amilia in this drama, always running around thinking that she knows best or taking out her frustration and anger out of me by locking herself in the room or returning home late, in the dark. I was sitting in the lounge with my daughter and my husband, watching "Silence", getting angry with both of them. I was pointing the finger at the TV, sayihng, "This is how you are Sarah. (gritting my teeth), "Just like that girl, you give me grief." "Why the hell is Ameilia doing running around trying to solve murders, hang around in the dark, get into strangers' cars, smoking and taking drugs and giving sex and rediculing herself like that. What the hell is she doing?"

    "Okay mum... calm down." My daughter came over and sat next to me. "I agree I was a difficult child to deal with, but I have never got into strangers' cars or hung around and dealt with my furstration about being deaf by having sex in toilets or took drugs or smoked. I would never stoop that low."

    Great acting. I am calm now. I don't want the drama to end. Thank you. Hopefully, we see the corrupt policemen behind bars and also, someone would explain to Amelia and the rest of the children that, when someone take on a post in the police or in the army, they can't always be around for the family and that doesn't mean to say their parents stop loving them or forget them. It's the nature of the job they do. Risky.

  • Comment number 78.

    I agree with Dave Betts comments. We want to see a proper ending. Coclusion. Please. I hate an abrupt ending to a such powerful drama. I thought there was more to come. Did the policeman die of his injuries? Did the other corrupted coppers got punished?

  • Comment number 79.


  • Comment number 80.

    firstly - Genevieve, you were stunning! - i'm not deaf, and obviously know nothing about what it's like to be deaf - but your role in particular, in amongst all the wonderful drama that The Silence oozed, gave me a wonderful insight into what it must be like... // secondly - i find it fascinating how we all get so upset... from what i've seen, a great number of the posts here are highly critical of either the precision of the deaf portrayal, or the manner in which The Silence ended... my suggestion? - just let it go, let it be what it is... : ) ...there's an expression: "you will not break loose until you realise that you yourself forge the chains that bind you" - those chains are our anger, our opinions, our attachment to one point of view or another, and as a result - limiting our awareness... i think i've just reminded myself why i don't usually read blogs/forums such as this ; ) ...perhaps i just feel a need to let Genevieve and everyone involved in The SIlence know that they created some wonderful tv, that personally i will remember for some considerable time - thank you very much : ))

  • Comment number 81.

    I thought the drama plot was excellent, as was the acting. What a disappointment the ending was! If the writer makes you care about the characters (which s/he did) then the viewers are going to want to know what happens to them. This ending was abrupt and unsatisfactory. It left this viewer thinking why did I bother to watch. We don't need a happy ending but we do need the loose ends tied up, e.g. Was Jim's boss corrupt? If so why did he give the murders to Jim. If not why did he lose the tapes? Please BBC don't show dramas without a satisfactory conclusion again. It is a cheat.

  • Comment number 82.

    Congratulations to all concerned, especially to Genevieve Barr who more than held her own in some pretty elevated company. I really hope you all get the plaudits you deserve. It was gripping stuff - I think the edge of my sofa is a few years older :)

  • Comment number 83.

    Well as per my post yesterday I wasn't expecting much from the conclusion of this drama. Just as well. ABSOLUTE RUBBISH. Don't know why I bothered - had no idea it could be that bad, but by 9.45pm when still nothing was resolved in this drama I figured it would end abruptly with no conclusion. For viewers to have to sit through 4 hours of drama for no conclusion AT ALL is just too much to ask. I don't believe this drama was intelligent at all. It was just poor quality television. full stop.

  • Comment number 84.

    The final episode was a *disaster* for this otherwise excellent drama. Apart from leaving to many unfinished threads and therefore a true *END* there was one glaring inaccuracy where Amelia was being returned to Bristol by the police and she was allowed to leave the polic car to go to the Boxing venue.

    Did the writer run out of ideas for an ending or did the director chop the ending because of *time*.
    Why was nothing made of the Interpreter scene in the hotel?
    My family were disgusted by the final episode - what a let down!


  • Comment number 85.

    A very good drama with a fine cast ruined by a pathetic ending.

  • Comment number 86.

    The BBC trailers for this drama contained a guitar song in the background.........does anybody know the name or artist of the music used in the trailers ?
    Thanks in advance

  • Comment number 87.

    As is mentioned very often above the ending was abysmal. This drama has gone along the lines of soem of the big screen dramas that leave you guessing! I'm all for some like that but this needed us to see the baddies get their just desserts. I couldn't wait to see each episode and certainly the last one until the end, of course. Excellent acting by all as you would expect from the "names" but Genevieve was exceptional bearing in mind she is untrained. 8/10 instead of 11/10, i'm afraid

  • Comment number 88.

    I'm just writing to say how disappointed I was with the so called'ending'. I felt conned and as though I'd totally wasted my time watching each episode. This was such a shame as I'd enjoyed the episodes up until then and wanted to know how it would all turn out.

  • Comment number 89.

    You're joking, right? There's another episode (or more) next week, right?

    That was top quality drama. Glued to the set stuff. Turning off the phone so I didn't get interrupted stuff. Right up to the point where you didn't finish it.

    If that was a book, I'd be off to the shop complaining that the binders had failed to include the final chapters.


  • Comment number 90.

    Very disappointing BBC. First and second episode were brilliant, third mediocre and fourth.....at about ten to ten, I thought it must be a two hour special because Amelia was in/just going to the Boxing club and Jim was missing. No way could they tie these ends up. At five to ten I realised it wasn't a two hour special. It finished and I started searching to find out what had happened to the missing episode. We don't need a 'happy ending' but we do need an ending.
    What fabulous acting, especially Genevieve Barr

  • Comment number 91.

    Getting straight to the Negative


    Come on BBC casting directors! If you are going to make such obvious references to Bristol and its surrounding areas throughout the film don't have Northern, Scottish, Irish and predominantly London sounding accents throughout. I accept that people commute but I don't accept that everyone in the programme commuted from the above areas to work in the police stations, boxing gyms and general areas and the rest of Bristol Commuted to Ireland for the filming.

    If its based in Bristol film it there and use the local actors. The only 3 actors with a vague west country lilt were the Driver of the Police Car from Somerset Voice over and the paramedics at the end.

    All in All I enjoyed this series but agree that the ending was dissatisfying and that it was a bit confused in many places especially when we knew she couldn't hear what people were saying and yet she responded perfectly.

    I guess my point is if you read a script and its set in that area try and make it look and sound like it has some vague reference to it.

  • Comment number 92.

    I was hugely impressed by this drama. It was well scripted with believable characters - flawed people somewhere in the grey area which real people usually inhabit.

    Then I saw episode 4. I knew that something was wrong 15 minutes from the end because they weren't making any real attempt to conclude the story. It was without doubt the worst ending I have ever seen to a drama. It wasn't an ending. Give me a dark ending. Give me a fluffy ending. Give me something inbetween, but DO give me an ending.

    Those of you who have bought into this idea that it's a slightly 'edgy' or 'subversive' way to finish are kidding themselves. It was lazy and weak. Were the writers unsure how to end it and too scared to try?! For a similar effect take your favorite Drama series on DVD box set and throw away the last DVD.....

    Note to writers: - you've turned what could have been an absolute classic into a joke which will come up in conversation every so often 'Do you remember that series where.....'

  • Comment number 93.

    I wonder why all those non-disabled posters expected Amelia to be some kind of angel just because she was Deaf? It's a common stereotype levelled at Disabled or Deaf people which only serves to show how narrow-minded ppeople can be. And I'm also a bit concerned by these parents who see CI's as an obvious choice for their Deaf child. Why make them distance themselves from the Deaf community by choosing such an invasive procedure for them? There is NO shame in being Deaf or Disabled.

  • Comment number 94.

    Re 86: Gill it's Crystalised by The XX

  • Comment number 95.

    what a great drama until the 'finale' that let the whole thing down, very disappointing and unfinished, felt as if it had been a waste of time in watching all week! Did you run out of money and/or enthusiasm?!

  • Comment number 96.

    I have really enjoyed this drama, however I was so disappointed with the ending or is it not the end?..... Has it been left open for a follow up????? If not, why not? We can all imagine how we want the ending to be but I would love to know how the writer would have concluded.

    Genevieve Barr, what a great actress, great cast.

  • Comment number 97.

    Although we found this a very difficult drams to get into, we stuck with it and watched all four episodes.
    How disappointing!!! It had a beginning, a middle but NO END. How on earth could the writer and director leave everyone hanging not knowing what happened to Jim, what did Rocky do?, why did Jim's boss lie about the tapes? was he in on the corruption too? what happened to the bent cops? what happened to Jim's son? what happened to Amelia? I could go on and on. It was so frustrating. If they had only set aside the last 5 or 10 minutes to tell us what happened a week or a month down the line and tied up the loose ends it would have been fantastic. However, we ended up sorry that we had wasted 4 hours watching this. A BBC drama - NEVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 98.

    Overall this was a good drama. I also found, on occasions, that Amelia was responding to people talking to her when she could not see them. My great dissapointment was the ending. Why, after such a good build up were we not able to see if the boxing policeman did indeed "tell all". Was the senior police officer in with the corruption or merely not wanting any "waves" before his retirement. I really wanted to see the effect on the corrupt officers when they were arrested for the crimes they commited, if indeed they were. Was the ending left "up in the air " for a sequel ?

  • Comment number 99.

    Like many BBC drama buffs I followed this story all the way. The acting was great, the production was great, the story felt real, but Oh my god the ending was just plain lazy.

    I sat with my 83 year old mother and had to explain what actually happened in the end. Hey guys that's not my part in the drama. I'm not on the BBC payroll. Surely the writer could have written a few more pages and givem my mum the satisfaction of seeing and knowing good old British justice was done.

    I too, was checking my watch and knew a dumb ending was coming. Even a few end titles explaining what happened to each character. Or a live forum after the show so we could all guess what happened and then the BBC plays an extra 15 minutes with the actual ending. Now that is creative!

    But No...The news follows and I am explaining to me good ma what I think happened.

    By the way BBC....how did it really end?


  • Comment number 100.

    I was really looking forward to watching "The Silence" and I wasn't dissapointed, until the final episode, I can't believe the producers/directors could leave such a brilliant drama without an ending, there was no closure whatsoever, what happened to Jim, did Mac and co get put away, the only closure we got was that Amelia accepted her implant, please bbc say you're going to make another episode at least, don't leave us hanging


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