Michelle Ryan, star of the aborted NBC remake Bionic Woman, will guest star in the upcoming Doctor Who Easter special, which began filming this week in Wales.
Ryan, best known in her native U.K. for her role as Zoe Slater in the long-running primetime soap EastEnders and the sorceress Nimueh in the recent series Merlin, will play the mysterious Lady Christina de Souza in the episode “Planet of the Dead.” Christina joins the Doctor (David Tennant) on a bus trip that takes an unexpected detour into danger.
“I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who and very excited to be joining David Tennant and the Doctor Who team,” Ryan said in a BBC statement. “It is such a fantastic show and I can’t wait to get started!”
“Planet of the Dead” is the first of four Doctor Who specials which will air in 2009 in place of a regular season, which returns in 2010. Michelle joins Tennant as he continues his role as the Doctor before handing it over to Matt Smith next year.
“Michelle is one of the most sought after young actors in the country and we are delighted to announce that she will be joining the team,” said Doctor Who executive producer and writer Russell T Davies. “As always the script is being kept strictly under wraps — however we can reveal that Lady Christina is a woman with a mysterious past who’s going to have a huge impact on the Doctor!”
One of Britain’s best loved and biggest comedy stars, Lee Evans, will also be joining the cast playing a character called Malcolm, whose life becomes connected to the Doctor’s under extraordinary circumstances. And Noma Dumezweni returns as U.N.I.T. Capt. Erisa Magambo, last seen helping Rose and Donna save the world in season four’s penultimate episode, “Turn Left.”
“Planet of the Dead,” written by Russell T Davies and Gareth Roberts, is currently in production and will be screened on BBC One in spring 2009. As for when it will air in the U.S. … Who knows?