Who is Velvy in Silent Witness, who plays him and what’s next for the character as the forensic drama takes an emotional turn?

If you love Velvy in Silent Witness then you might be intrigued about what lies in store after heart-wrenching scenes in the latest episode...

Velvy in Silent Witness played by Alastair Michael
(Image credit: BBC Studios / Dan Kennedy)

Who doesn’t love Velvy in Silent Witness and the latest season has given fans the chance to learn more and more about this new character’s backstory.

Although the eighth episode of the 2023 series, Hearts of Darkness Part 2, has yet to air, many of us will have continued watching the latest heart-stopping storyline via BBC iPlayer. If you have, you’ll have seen some emotional scenes for Velvy in Silent Witness as the drama continues to show us a whole new side to the character. Introduced with new Lyell Center boss Gabriel in season 26 of the long-running show alongside Nikki and Jack in Silent Witness, Velvy Schur is unique and wonderful to watch as the team tackle some of their toughest cases yet. And what we know about his personal life so far suggests that even more emotional scenes could lie ahead in the upcoming finale. 

But who is Velvy in Silent Witness, who plays him and what happened to his family in the new series? We reveal what you need to know…

Who is Velvy in Silent Witness? 

From the moment Silent Witness season 26 premiered with its new regular characters Velvy likely became many people’s new favorite. Curious, eager to learn and grateful for every opportunity to put his skills to the test, Velvy Schur is the new Lyell Center colleague of Jack and Nikki in Silent Witness and is a Trainee Anatomical Pathology Technologist. We’ve also seen him help Jack with everything from tracking down vehicles to going out to grab on-site forensics at crime scenes - including at the site of the train crash in the latest episode. 

Velvy in Silent Witness was part of an Orthodox Jewish community which he subsequently left and which Nikki gently asked him about in The Penitent Part 2, giving fans a new insight into his personal experience and journey. Remarking that he’d left everything behind, she asked if he missed his old life and family.

Velvy admitted that he did, responding, “I miss it all. I miss my life. Not only that, I miss my God. He was always there for me.” 

In the same discussion, it was revealed that he had been “found” by former regular character (not to mention fan-favorite), Clarissa in Silent Witness. This special name-drop shows just how much faith she must’ve had in his future and abilities. And it seems he is still fully prepared to embrace new experiences despite his sense of loss, as in the following episodes Velvy joined so many classes and groups it was hard to keep track. He has also been sharpening his investigative skills as well as providing memorable contextual information to help Nikki and Jack out. 

Velvy Schur’s actor Alastair Michael previously reflected to the BBC upon how playing the Silent Witness character has changed his own perspective on things. 

Velvy (ALASTAIR MICHAEL)

(Image credit: BBC/Dan Kennedy)

Asked what he will take away from the experience of playing Velvy in Silent Witness, actor Alastair Michael explained, “I am Jewish, but I grew up not being strongly connected to a Jewish community. Playing Velvy has given me a real opportunity to reconnect more deeply with my own sense of Jewishness. That's something I'll always remember.”

With so much still open to explore with the character, anyone who’s already raced ahead and seen Velvy in Silent Witness Star Part 2 might well have been excited to see what looks to be the beginnings of a major storyline for him going forwards. 

Who plays Velvy in Silent Witness and where have you seen him before? 

If you're been wondering where you’ve seen Velvy in Silent Witness before, the Lyell Center team’s inquisitive new colleague is played by Alastair Michael. The actor has also appeared in fellow BBC drama Ridley Road, as well as Snatch alongside Harry Potter star Rupert Grint and Bridgerton’s Phoebe Dynevor. Opening up to the BBC (opens in new tab) about his role as Velvy Schur on the 2023 season of Silent Witness, Alastair explained about the various journeys he undertakes, both personally and professionally. 

Velvy (ALASTAIR MICHAEL)

(Image credit: BBC Studios)

“He goes on quite a few different journeys. Within the professional context, he goes from being the newbie who's quite green to being someone who feels like he's part of the team. He feels like he's found a place within that group, that family, that community. That ties into the other journey that he's on,” Alastair shared. “He has just left his Orthodox Jewish community, and so he's on a personal journey towards finding a place for himself in a new secular world and figuring out who he is and who his new friends are.”

The Silent Witness star also perhaps hinted at Velvy’s desire to retain a connection with the life and people he left behind - possibly including Rivka and their children. 

“He is also trying to figure out how he can still be connected to where he's come from. I think his journey is a lot about trying to balance those exciting new elements with the things that make him who he is,” Alastair said.

Where is Velvy’s family in Silent Witness and does he have children? 

Velvy Schur has been a delight ever since his first appearance in the new series of Silent Witness with plenty of brilliant lines from him, though he arguably took centre stage in the episode Star. Here it was revealed that he has a wife, Rivka, and two children he left behind when he left his community which they had also been a part of. It was in Star Part 1 that Velvy told Jack’s niece Cara in Silent Witness about Rivka and explained that she’d been planning to leave their community with him before breaking off, saying simply that it was “not easy”. 

Towards the end of Star Part 2, he revealed that he had a son with Rivka. Having witnessed Nikki helping to deliver DI Zari Abbas’ daughter, Velvy was left choked up with tears and told Cara he hadn’t seen his baby boy since he was 9 days old.  

Velvy (ALASTAIR MICHAEL)

(Image credit: BBC/Dan Kennedy)

This has clearly affected him deeply, especially since Velvy’s mother had called him earlier in the episode completely out of the blue, after he’d left his number with her six months earlier. It emerged via this call that he has multiple children. She explained that Rivka “brings the babies round” to see her and reassured Velvy that “they’re healthy. They’re beautiful”. 

His mother also shared how she and Rivka seem to be keeping his memory alive for them as she added, “You’re alive to all of us” before hanging up on the Trainee Anatomical Pathology Technologist. At the end of the episode Velvy declared to Nikki that he’d been “caught up in himself a lot” recently, but that he’d decided the time had come to do something about this. 

Nikki Alexander (EMILIA FOX); Velvy (ALASTAIR MICHAEL)

(Image credit: BBC Studios)

Ultimately, this seemed to be trying in whatever way he could to reconnect with Rivka and his children. There were likely few dry eyes amongst fans when we saw Velvy anxiously waiting in a café when a young woman arrived with a little girl, pushing a pram. After he retrieved her fallen cat toy, the girl greeted Velvy delightedly as “Daddy” as her mother turned slowly around, shocked and he said softly, “Rivka”. 

And his earlier pronouncement that it wasn’t “easy” proved to be true as in the latest episodes, Hearts of Darkness Parts 1 and 2, we saw him still deeply longing for that connection with his family. Speaking to a victim’s husband, Malcolm Coles, in hospital, Velvy was asked if he was married and after he said he was, Malcom said, “Can you imagine a life without her?”

Velvy (ALASTAIR MICHAEL)

(Image credit: BBC Studios)

He never answered the question though his family will still very much in his thoughts. Calling Rivka at the end of Part 2, we saw Velvy tell her that he knew she “couldn’t speak to [him]”, but he just wanted to hear the children. His wife ultimately granted his request and the emotion on his face as Velvy listened to his children playing on the other end of the line was both heart-breaking and uplifting all at once. 

This was where Hearts of Darkness Part 2 left Velvy, giving fans hope that in the remaining episodes of the latest season of Silent Witness he might find a way to re-establish regular contact with the family that means so much to him. 

Silent Witness airs at 9pm on BBC One on Mondays and Tuesdays, with episodes released each week on BBC iPlayer. 

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing. Her specialist areas including literature, the British Royal Family and knowing all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and every streaming service out there. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, you can find Emma cooking and watching yet more crime dramas.