Amanda Burton

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Amanda Burton
Irene Amanda Burton[1]

(1956-10-10) 10 October 1956 (age 64)
Years active1981–present
  • Jonathan Hartley
    (m. 1976; div. 1982)
  • Sven Arnstein
    (m. 1989; div. 2004)
AwardsNational Television Award
TV Quick Award

Irene Amanda Burton (born 10 October 1956) is a Northern Irish actress, notable for her television roles including Heather Black in the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside, Beth Glover in Peak Practice, Sam Ryan in the BBC crime drama series Silent Witness, Clare Blake in The Commander and Karen Fisher in Waterloo Road.

Early life and education[edit]

Burton was born in Derry, Northern Ireland, the youngest of four sisters. Her father was a primary school headmaster at Ballougry Primary School, which she attended as a child.[2] After later attending Londonderry High School she moved to England at the age of 18, where she spent three years studying drama at the Manchester Metropolitan School of Theatre.[2]


Although best known for her television roles, Burton had worked almost exclusively in the theatre prior to landing the role of Heather Black in Channel 4's Liverpool-based flagship drama series Brookside. After nearly four years in the role, during which time Heather had become one of the show's most popular residents of Brookside Close, she began to lose sympathy with her character and decided to leave.[3] Following her departure her television work consisted mainly of guest appearances, with parts in a number of peak-time drama series including Minder, Inspector Morse, Boon, Medics, Van Der Valk, Stay Lucky and Lovejoy.[3]

In 1993 Burton starred alongside Kevin Whately in Peak Practice. She played the role of Doctor Beth Glover in the medical drama series, based in Derbyshire's Peak District, for three series until her departure in 1995. In 1996 she then took the main role of Professor Sam Ryan in the highly acclaimed BBC drama Silent Witness; she held this role until 2004. Though her decision to portray Ryan as a reflective personality – sometimes staring into space – was satirised by the comedienne Dawn French, she helped lay the groundwork for what was to become one of the most popular BBC series, continuing to run (albeit without her) to the present (February 2019). After Silent Witness, she took on the role of Prosecutor Helen West in a series based on Frances Fyfield's novels. She also played Aunt Polly in a 2003 remake of Pollyanna and Commander Clare Blake in Lynda La Plante's drama, The Commander.[3]

In 2010, Burton appeared in the sixth series of BBC drama Waterloo Road as new head teacher, Karen Fisher,[4] and departed the show in 2011.[5] She took part in BBC1's Celebrity Masterchef and made it through to the semi-finals. She appeared as gangster's wife Cherie Le Saux in ITV drama The Level in Autumn 2016.[6] In 2020, she had a starring role as crime family matriarch Katherine Maguire in the third season of Marcella.

Personal life[edit]

In 1976 Burton married theatre technician Jonathan Hartley, whom she met while at Manchester School of Theatre. They divorced in 1982. She married professional photographer Sven Arnstein in 1989, and the couple had two daughters, Phoebe Marie (born 1989) and Brid Irina (born 1991), before divorcing in 2004.[3] Burton currently lives in Hastings, East Sussex.[6]


Burton is an ambassador for The Children's Trust, the UK's leading charity for children with brain injury and neurodisability.[7]



Year Title Role
2009 Bronson Mum


Year Title Role Notes
1982—1986 Brookside Heather Black 143 episodes; Channel 4
1987—1988 Boon Margaret Daly Series 2–3; 14 episodes; ITV
1988 Inspector Morse Mirella Lunghi Episode: "The Settling of the Sun", ITV
1989 Where There's A Will Alice TV Movie; ITV
Frederick Forsyth Presents Nicola Episode: "A Casualty of War", ITV
1990 Medics Vikki Episode: "Jessica", ITV
The Storyteller: Greek Myths Aithra 1 episode; ITV
1991 Van der Valk Elly van Roekel Episode: "Doctor Hoffmann's Children", ITV
Stay Lucky Jane Higgs Episode: "The Food of Love", ITV
1992 Lovejoy Bonnie Wright Episode: "Kids", BBC One
1993 Minder Prosecuting Counsel Episode: "Looking for Mr. Goodtime", ITV
1993—1995 Peak Practice Dr. Beth Glover/Kerruish Series 1–3; 36 episodes; ITV
1996 Screen Two Rosie Willis Episode: "The Precious Blood", BBC Two
1996—2004 Silent Witness Dr. Sam Ryan Series 1–8; 54 episodes; BBC One
1998 The Gift Lynn TV Movie; BBC One
1999 Forgotten Rachel Monroe/Carla Hayden 3 episodes; ITV
2000 Little Bird Rachel Lewis TV Movie; ITV
2001 The Whistle-Blower Laura Tracey 2 episodes; BBC One
2002 The Helen West Casebook Helen West 3 episodes; ITV
Dinotopia Rosemary 1 episode; ABC
2003 Pollyanna Aunt Polly TV Movie; ITV
2003—2008 The Commander Commander Clare Blake Series 1–5; 17 episodes; ITV
2009 Agatha Christie's Marple Sister Clotilde Episode: "Nemesis", ITV
2010—2011 Waterloo Road Karen Fisher Series 6Series 7; 30 episodes; BBC One
2015 Midsomer Murders Carole Latimer Episode: "Murder by Magic", ITV
2016 The Level Cherie Le Saux 6 episodes; ITV
2020 White House Farm June Bamber 6 episodes; ITV
2020 Marcella Katherine Maguire 8 episodes; ITV


Year Title Notes
2013 Amanda Burton: Forensic Killers Discovery

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient Result
1998 National Television Award Most Popular Actress Silent Witness Won
1999 National Television Award Most Popular Actress Silent Witness Won
1999 TV Quick Award Best Actress Silent Witness Won
2001 National Television Award Most Popular Actress Silent Witness Won
2003 National Television Award Most Popular Actress Silent Witness Nominated
2004 IFTA Award Best Actress in a TV Drama Silent Witness Nominated
2011 TV Quick Award Best Actress Waterloo Road Won

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Irene A Burton in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005". Ancestry UK. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b Bearn, Emily; "Being Amanda Burton",, 10 May 2002; retrieved 14 July 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d Amanda Burton on IMDb
  4. ^ Waterloo Road Press Release,; accessed 12 August 2015.
  5. ^ Amanda Burton quits Waterloo Road,; accessed 12 August 2015.
  6. ^ a b Lockyer, Daphne (25 September 2016). "The Level's Amanda Burton: Ageing is all about what's going on in your mind". The Express. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Our ambassadors | The Children's Trust".

External links[edit]