Rhiannon May, who plays Cara Connelly in Silent Witness, says deafness won’t hold her back

The character returns in series 27 as a regular cast member

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Silent Witness series 27 continues on BBC One this week, and actress Rhiannon May continues to portray Cara Connelly in the new episodes.

Viewers who watched previous series in 2021 and 2022 will remember the character is central to Jack Hodgson.

So who is Cara Connelly, what is her connection to Jack, and is actress Rhiannon May deaf in real life? Here’s everything you need to know!

Silent Witness Cara Connelly
Rhiannon Jones plays Cara Connelly in Silent Witness (Credit: BBC One)

Who is Cara Connelly in Silent Witness?

Cara Connelly is Jack Hodgson’s niece in Silent Witness. She first appeared in 2021, in the episodes Bad Love and Brother’s Keeper.

Jack helped bring Cara and her estranged dad together.

She returned in the History episodes. The character met up with Jack during a tense family drama which resulted in heartache. She has since stuck around, and developed a close bond with Jack.

In the episodes 3 and 4 of series 27, entitled Grievance Culture, Cara plays a key role when her professor becomes a big part of the storyline.

Why did Cara Connelly show up in series 25 episode 4?

In series 25 part four of six, a secret from his father propelled Jack to Belfast on an urgent mission. As familial secrets came to the surface, Jack faced tragedy head-on.

Jack had an emotional heart-to-heart with his niece Cara, and the pair became closer and closer. Series 26 saw Cara return to Lyell Centre as a trainee. She is studying criminology under her uncle’s watchful eye.

Rhiannon May as Cara in Silent Witness
Rhiannon May is now a permanent cast member of Silent Witness (Credit: Dan Kennedy)

Is Cara in the cast of Silent Witness series 27?

Actress Rhiannon May returns to the latest series as a regular character, having made appearances as Jack’s niece in previous episodes.

Rhiannon said about her role as Cara: “It’s exciting that the BBC and Silent Witness want to show a wonderful deaf character. They want to show her in lots of different lights and take the opportunity to show a lot of different kinds of ways of communicating.”

In Silent Witness series 26 episode 3, Cara arrives unexpectedly from Belfast to announce she is starting a university course in Criminology.

Rhiannon explains: “We see Cara study criminology at university and settling into that life, but wanting some more real-life, professional experience.

“So she goes to do an internship at the Lyell. She enjoys the work. She’s always very curious, and she wants to learn things all the time. She’ll always be asking Jack to show her how to do things. She wants more responsibility, even when she might not be quite qualified for it or she might not have the experience for it.”

She remains in the show in series 27, and could well become part of the team in the future.

Is Cara Jack’s daughter in Silent Witness?

In series 24 of Silent Witness in 2021, Jack met Cara Connelly. Cara was introduced as the daughter of Jack’s convict brother Ryan Kelvin.

However, over the course of the series, Jack faced a life changing problem… The character was forced to confront the fact that Cara Connelly may be his own daughter, rather than his niece.

Jack – and viewers – eventually discovered that Cara is NOT Jack’s daughter. She is his niece.

The main cast of Silent Witness series 27
Rhiannon May, Alastair Michael, Emilia Fox, David Caves, and Aki Omoshaybi return in Silent Witness series 27 (Credit: BBC Studios/Robert Wilson)

Who plays Cara in Silent Witness? What else has she been in?

Actress Rhiannon May, also sometimes credited as Rhiannon Jones, portrays Cara Connelly in Silent Witness. Rising star Rhiannon first appeared in the 2021 episodes Bad Love and Brother’s Keeper, and returned again in History.

In fact, her performance as Cara was her first ever TV role. Rhiannon told the Nottingham Post about her feelings on joining the BBC One show.

She said: “It was actually my first professional job ever. The reaction has been a bit wild – some Silent Witness fans on Twitter are hardcore.

“It was so weird seeing myself on the telly the first time. I hadn’t seen any of it beforehand so, even though I knew I couldn’t do anything to change it, I was still so nervous.

“The support from all my mates and my family has meant so much though, everyone’s just hyping me up which is pretty nice.”

Rhiannon has also appeared in the short film Silent Pride as Ffion, and The Riley Sisters as Jess.

How old is Rhiannon May? Where is she from?

Rhiannon May was 21 when she first joined the cast of Silent Witness, fresh from graduating. She is believed to be 23 or 24 now.

The actress was born and raised in Nottingham. Silent Witness was her first professional job since completing a BTEC in drama at Nottingham college. She also went on to graduate from a three year course at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.

Rhiannon has said: “I grew up in Radcliffe and did drama just at the local school. I had really struggled to keep up with the stresses of exams in my GCSEs and decided do a BTEC in drama at Nottingham college – I was always very dramatic, just ask my mum!”

Rhiannon Jones as Cara Connelly in Silent Witness
Actress Rhiannon May wears a hearing aid (Credit: BBC One)

Is Rhiannon May deaf in real life?

Rhiannon is a deaf actress, who has worn a hearing aid since she was a teenager. She wasn’t born deaf. Instead, she discovered she had hearing loss in her teenage years.

She has said: “My hearing loss was first recognised when I was in secondary school. At that time, I didn’t find it very easy to ask people to face me so I could lipread, or speak clearer or repeat things and I wasn’t very confident in myself or my deafness.

“Now I am a lot more open about what I need and I find that has made me a lot more confident. I wear hearing aids and definitely don’t hide them anymore – they’re bright orange! And, because I spent a big chunk of my life lipreading without even realising, I’m very good at it.”

Despite any difficulties Rhiannon says her deafness is no barrier to her acting career. She added: “My deafness has never been and will never be the barrier I face in my career.”

Is Rhiannon May on Instagram and social media?

Young actress Rhiannon often posts about her career and passions on X, formerly known as Twitter. Her official page can he found here.

She is also on Instagram, and her page is linked here.

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Silent Witness series 27 continues on Mondays and Tuesday throughout January at 9pm on BBC One.

What do you think of Silent Witness series 27 so far? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix.

Helen Fear
TV Editor