Amanda Burton

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Amanda Burton
Irene Amanda Burton[1]

(1956-10-10) 10 October 1956 (age 65)
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. Her notable credits include Heather Haversham in the Channel 4 soap opera Brookside (1982–1986), Beth Glover in the ITV drama series Peak Practice (1993–1995), Sam Ryan in the BBC crime drama series Silent Witness (1996–2004, 2021–present), Clare Blake in the ITV crime drama series The Commander (2003–2008), Karen Fisher in the BBC school-based drama series Waterloo Road (2010–2011), and Katherine Maguire in the ITV detective series Marcella (2020).

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 Haversham 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 (September 2021). 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 Haversham Regular role
1987–1988 Boon Margaret Daly Main role; 14 episodes
1988 Inspector Morse Mirella Lunghi Episode: "The Settling of the Sun"
1989 Where There's A Will Alice Television film
Frederick Forsyth Presents Nicola Episode: "A Casualty of War"
1990 Medics Vikki Episode: "Jessica"
The Storyteller: Greek Myths Aithra 1 episode
1991 Van der Valk Elly van Roekel Episode: "Doctor Hoffmann's Children"
Stay Lucky Jane Higgs Episode: "The Food of Love"
1992 Lovejoy Bonnie Wright Episode: "Kids"
1993 Minder Prosecuting Counsel Episode: "Looking for Mr. Goodtime"
1993–1995 Peak Practice Dr. Beth Glover/Kerruish Regular role; 36 episodes
1996 Screen Two Rosie Willis Episode: "The Precious Blood"
1996–2004, 2021–present Silent Witness Prof. Sam Ryan Regular role; 55 episodes (so far)
1998 The Gift Lynn Television film
1999 Forgotten Rachel Monroe/Carla Hayden 3 episodes
2000 Little Bird Rachel Lewis Television film
2001 The Whistle-Blower Laura Tracey 2 episodes
2002 The Helen West Casebook Helen West 3 episodes
Dinotopia Rosemary 1 episode
2003 Pollyanna Aunt Polly Television film
2003–2008 The Commander Commander Clare Blake Main role; 17 episodes
2009 Agatha Christie's Marple Sister Clotilde Episode: "Nemesis"
2010–2011 Waterloo Road Karen Fisher Regular role; 28 episodes
2015 Midsomer Murders Carole Latimer Episode: "Murder by Magic"
2016 The Level Cherie Le Saux 6 episodes
2020 White House Farm June Bamber
Marcella Katherine Maguire 8 episodes
2021 Anne Boleyn Anne Shelton 3 episodes


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 Won
TV Quick Award Best Actress Won
2001 National Television Award Most Popular Actress Won
2003 Nominated
2004 IFTA Award Best Actress in a TV Drama 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 at 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]