Michelle Ryan cast in specialBookmark and Share

Thursday, 22 January 2009 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Since Matt Smith's announcement at the beginning of the year, media speculation has moved onto who the companion to his Doctor will be for the next series. Whilst the media has speculated on a number of names for the role, such as Lily Allen and Rachel Stevens, most recently they have turned their attention towards former EastEnders actress Michelle Ryan.

Betting company William Hill had initially placed the odds on the actress at5/1; however the Sunday Mirror reported last weekend that Ryan had been "in secret talks with BBC bosses" over the role of companion to the eleventh Doctor, and that an announcement would be made by the BBC very soon (also reported by Digital SpyCoventry TelegraphMarie Claireand Den of Geek).

However, with production having now commenced on the first Doctor Who special Planet of the Dead, fans who have been watching events unfold in Cardiff over the last few days have reported on Ryan being involved with this episode. This was confirmed last night with the actress being seen performing with current Doctor David Tennant. Though there has been no official confirmation of her role from the BBC as yet, it is believed that she is playing the part of companion to the tenth Doctor for this special, with The London Paper today reporting her character name as 'Lady Christina de Souza'.

Ryan has recently been seen on television in the BBC's Saturday night fantasy series Merlin, and the short-lived re-imagining of The Bionic Woman. She also appeared in Doctor Who's new head writer Steven Moffat's previous series on the BBC, Jekyll.

Update 2200: further coverage of casting in Den of Geek and Daily Mail.

(with thanks to Lee Tucker and the Cardiff Kinda Group)