SOME people may expect the state of their sex life at 40 to be as healthy as one of the corpses on Silent Witness – but Emilia Fox is having none of it.
The 44-year-old, who plays a forensic pathologist in the long-running BBC series, is back on our screens TONIGHT at 9pm on BBC1.
She tells The Sun: “It’s great to be able to say, ‘Yes, we still have sex in our forties’. It doesn’t have to stop when you leave your twenties and early thirties.
“People do still have sex at 44, so I’m glad to show that on television.”
Emilia returns as Sam Vincent in the third series of the Cornwall-based romp-fest, which co-stars Dawn French, 61, as Sam’s love rival, Gina.
The role was a drastic — and bold — departure from slicing up organs in Silent Witness but Emilia explains that playing Dr Nikki Alexander since 2004 unexpectedly helped her accept her own body and boosted her confidence.
She says: “I’ve never been in love with my body and I don’t think I ever will be in love in my body.
“Maybe it’s because I’ve worked on Silent Witness for so long, but I do appreciate that I have a body and that it, touch wood, is healthy.
“I was thinking about this as I dissected some organs on Silent Witness the other day. I just felt lucky that I’ve got a healthy body.
“I didn’t appreciate that in my twenties, but I do now. So when I feel best about my body is when I’m looking after it.”
Like Sam’s complicated love life, Emilia’s has been just as eventful.
She has been engaged to comedian Vic Reeves, 59, married to acting legend Richard Harris’s son Jared, 57, and has eight-year-old Rose with actor Jeremy Gilley, 49.
Her most recent relationship, which ended in 2016, the same year Delicious debuted, was with TV chef Marco Pierre White, 57.
Emilia is tight-lipped about any current romance but is glad Delicious shows women — who vastly outnumber the male cast members — in a dominant light.
She says: “Very often in the past it’s been conveyed that a man can have his way then go off and not have an emotional attachment.
“But that can sometimes work for women, too, and it certainly does for Sam.”
She is keen that gender equality does not go “too far” the other way though, adding: “It’s a good thing that we should all be in it together and appreciating all the different skills that people bring.
“That shouldn’t just be to do with sex — it is right it is being balanced.”
Life of love and laughs
- VIC Reeves, 1999 – 2000: Engaged to comic Vic following a year together but called it off not long after. They bonded over their shared “food fetishes”.
- TOBY Mott, 2000 – 2001: Briefly dated punk T-shirt designer Toby and later said of the relationship: “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.”
- JARED Harris, 2005 – 2009: Married to Jared for three years. She later blamed their split on a miscarriage she suffered during the relationship.
- JEREMY Gilley, 2009 – 2011: Ran into the arms of actor Jeremy after split from Jared. Had daughter Rose together but split when she was just over a year old.
- MARCO Pierre White, 2012 – 2016: On-off romance which dad Edward confirmed was over for good in 2016, adding that they remain “friends”.
Emilia and Dawn’s characters are not the only women in the drama to have success in the bedroom.
The previous series saw 85-year-old Sheila Hancock, who plays Sam’s mother, hook up with 77-year-old Frank Nero, aka Dawn’s on-screen dad Joe Benelli.
It is not the only saucy drama Emilia is in, after landing the role of Valerie in BBC1’s The Trial Of Christine Keeler, which is based on the Sixties political scandal known as the Profumo affair.
She plays the wife of John Profumo, the former Secretary of State for War whose brief fling with teenage model Christine Keeler ended up bringing down PM Harold Macmillan’s government.
Her 15th series as Dr Nikki will make it a busy start to 2019 for Emilia, who was destined to follow in her parents’ footsteps.
Mum Joanna David, 71, and dad Edward Fox, 81, are both celebrated stars of stage and screen. Emilia’s first role was a small part opposite her mum in 1995 telly miniseries Pride And Prejudice. She won her first major role, as Dorota, in Roman Polanski’s 1999 Oscar-winning film The Pianist.
Acting runs even further into the Fox family.
Brother Freddie, 29, appeared in the BBC’s Boy George biopic Worried About The Boy in 2010 and on stage in 2016 opposite Downton Abbey’s Lily James in Kenneth Branagh’s West End production of Romeo & Juliet.
Cousins Jack, 33, Lydia, 39, and Laurence, 40 — best known for drama series Lewis — also have successful careers.
Emilia admits she found acting daunting at first, particularly coming after her parents’ success, saying: “It was a challenge at the beginning, because I’m not like my brother, who is a natural performer.
“I’m a much more shy person so didn’t really relish the idea of comparisons. And I didn’t want to enter into a job that other people had done successfully in my family.
“But by default I ended doing it and I really love it. We all sort of stuck to our own areas and, in some ways, pretended we didn’t know each other professionally.
“Whereas now, luckily, because I’ve done it for over 20 years, I feel a bit more all-embracing of it, that it can be a good thing.
“People say, ‘Is it in your blood?’ and I was always like ‘Oh no, it’s not in my blood at all — it’s a family business and we all know the same language’.
“But it is sort of weird that we’ve all done it.”
Freddie, who stripped naked for sex scenes in Channel 4 series Cucumber in 2015, is about to star as killer Jeremy Bamber in ITV’s White House Farm, based on the 1985 murders of Bamber’s family in Essex.
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Emilia says the scariest part has been the haunting voicemails he leaves for her.
She says: “It was weird seeing him have sex on telly but what was weirder is that he stays in character for all those months of filming. Seeing as he’s playing Jeremy Bamber at the moment, it’s even weirder when you have him leaving messages on the phone.”
Pressures on the licence fee will no doubt mean scrutiny cast over long-running shows such as Silent Witness. But Emilia — who is the series’ longest-serving cast member — is not fazed about the prospect of it being ditched, considering it still draws almost six million viewers each week.
She adds: “I feel it’s got relevance to it and I feel lucky for the time I’ve had on it. I don’t know what the future is.”
- The 22nd series of Silent Witness starts at 9pm TONIGHT on Sky1 and Now TV on December 28.
Strangers trailer shows John Simm and Emilia Fox starring in new ITV thriller
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