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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Burton fronts 3m ITV drama
Amanda Burton
Burton has become one of the UK's best-known TV faces
Amanda Burton is to star in a 3m drama series for ITV, the network has announced.

Burton is to appear later this year as crown prosecutor Helen West, in three adaptations of Frances Fyfield's best-selling novels.

The network is said to be looking for a crime series with the potential to replace favourites like Kavanagh QC, which starred the late John Thaw.

Amanda Burton
Burton plays a forensic pathologist in Silent Witness
Alan Wright, chief executive of the series' producers Arrowhead, told BBC News Online: "It's a character we hope will find favour with the audience.

"As with all these things, its future will be determined by ratings."

"But it has been consciously designed as a returning series," he added.

ITV piloted Helen West with a one-off episode in 1999, starring Juliet Stevenson, but the actress did not want to commit herself to a series.

Sleuth

Amanda Burton, who stars in the BBC's Silent Witness, has twice won the UK's National Television Award for most popular actress.

Silent Witness, in which Burton plays a forensic pathologist and sleuth, was created by former policeman Nigel McCreary and has become a ratings hit for BBC One.

Burton is currently filming a new series for BBC One.

The actress described her new ITV role, Helen West, as "a modern everywoman".

"Helen's very, very good at her job, but she's also very fallible," said the actress.

The Fyfield novels will be adapted in three, two-hour parts with a cast that includes Conor Mullen, Martin Freeman, Jessica Oyelowo and Anthony Howell.

ITV, which has suffered a dip in both ratings and advertising revenue, is keen to find a new mainstream series to pull in large audiences and is hoping that the legal drama will be a ratings success.

Alan Wright, the series producer, described Fyfield's Helen West novels as "not whodunits but whydunits".

See also:

08 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
ITV triumphs in drama ratings
04 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Broadcasters await late ratings
01 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
BBC celebrates ratings 'success'
23 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
Royle night at TV awards
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