Doctor Who character
Lady Christina de Souza
Affiliated with Tenth Doctor
Species Human
Home planet Earth
Home era 21st Century
Portrayed by Michelle Ryan

Lady Christina de Souza is a fictional character played by Michelle Ryan in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. She is a one-off companion of the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant)[1][2] appearing in the episode "Planet of the Dead".[3] In place of an ongoing companion for David Tennant's final five episodes, Lady Christina follows Jackson Lake (David Morrissey) as the one-off companion assisting the Tenth Doctor.[4]


"International woman of mystery - and part-time jewel thief"[1] Lady Christina de Souza has "a mysterious past" according to writer Russell T Davies.[5] Davies goes on to state that Lady Christina has "a huge impact on the Doctor" when they meet in "Planet of the Dead".[5] Lady Christina "loves extremes" according to actress Michelle Ryan who identifies with her character in this regard.[1] Ryan asserts that Lady Christina is "an adrenaline junkie" and "is very sassy and charismatic" and that she is "in it purely for the thrill of it and for herself and for the adventure [...] always chasing the next high".[6] Ryan describes Lady Christina as a "really fun, really cool character" and notes that there is a "chemistry between the Doctor and Christina".[6] The director of "Planet of the Dead", James Strong, describes the romance between Lady Christina and the Doctor as "a good old fashioned flirt".[2]

Asked what kind of companion Ryan makes, Strong stated;

It's back to basics – she's probably more of a traditional, romantic kind of Thomas Crown Affair kind of heroine [...] whereas Catherine Tate playing Donna was a bit more of a best mate. It echoes to me of Rose, in that there may be a good old fashioned romantic connection between them. She's young, she's beautiful, she's sexy, but whereas Rose was a very ordinary, normal girl, Lady Christina is a lady, she comes from a very privileged, very elite background. She's different to any of the companions we've ever had in that she doesn't particularly want to get caught up with the Doctor. She's got her own thing going on, so she's very much a match for the Doctor and very much an equal. Often in an adventure the Doctor will take control and everyone will do what he says. She's very much in control – the two of them are in a sparring way, battling against each other to get through this adventure.[2]

Character history[]

Lady Christina is a bored aristocrat who takes to burglary for the excitement it provides. Pursued by the police after stealing a priceless medieval drinking cup from the International Gallery in London, Lady Christina boards a bus moments before it unexpectedly enters a wormhole and is transported to the alien planet San Helios. She teams up with fellow passenger the Doctor to fend off alien predators and find a way back to Earth.[3][7][8] Ryan asserts the adventure provides "a real journey for Christina because [...] the Doctor [...] makes her realise that she can use a lot of her skills as being part of a team as opposed to just being off for herself".[6]


File:Michelle Ryan at the BAFTA's.jpg

Michelle Ryan, who played Lady Christina de Souza

Michelle Ryan's casting as Lady Christina de Souza was confirmed by the BBC on 23 January 2009[5] and attracted media attention owing to Ryan's recent relatively high-profile roles in EastEnders, Jekyll, Bionic Woman and Merlin.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15] Ryan stated that she is "a huge fan of Doctor Who and [was] very excited to be joining David Tennant and the Doctor Who team."[5] Davies commented that "Michelle is one of the most sought after young actors in the country" and that they were "delighted to announce that she [would] be joining the team."[5] Ryan described her casting as a "real honour", noting that she "love[s] the character".[6]

Ryan was rumoured to be in line for a role as full-time companion to the incoming Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith)[16] and her casting in "Planet of the Dead", combined with her previous working history with incoming Executive Producer Steven Moffat - the two working together on Jekyll, fuelled speculation that she might return to Doctor Who accompanying the Eleventh Doctor in Series 5.[10][11][12][13] Ryan herself has said that she is open for a return to the character, however, stating that she is a commitment phobe at the moment and with regards to her character she views her as "someone who is around for this one-time adventure"."[17] It had been reported that Ryan auditioned to replace Billie Piper in the companion role when her character, Rose Tyler, left in 2006, but was unsuccessful.[11][13] Ryan subsequently stated that this was false.[18]

Publicity and promotion[]

Ryan was interviewed by BBC News about her role as Lady Christina. Ryan praised her colleagues and the "family atmosphere" on set and described Doctor Who as "really something special to do".[6] On 9 April 2009, Ryan guested on Steve Wright in the Afternoon on BBC Radio 2[19][20][21] and on The Justin Lee Collins Show on ITV2 to promote "Planet of the Dead".[22] After a showing of a trailer for the episode on The Justin Lee Collins Show, Ryan described the "fantastic" time she had filming in Cardiff and in Dubai.[22]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Cook, Benjamin (2009-04-07 (release date)). "Sands of time". Radio Times (11-17 April 2009): pp. 16–20. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Wilkes, Neil (2009-04-07). "James Strong ('Doctor Who')". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Planet of the Dead". Writers Russell T Davies, Gareth Roberts, Director James Strong, Producer Tracie Simpson. Doctor Who. BBC. BBC One, Cardiff. 2009-04-11.
  4. Tribe, Steve (2009). Doctor Who: Companions and Allies. BBC Books. p. 93 and 96. ISBN 978-1-846-07749-4. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 "Michelle Ryan and Lee Evans to star in first Doctor Who special of 2009". BBC. 2009-01-23. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 Ryan, Michelle (2009-04-06). Michelle Ryan teams up with Dr Who. BBC News. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  7. Tribe, Steve (2009). Doctor Who: Companions and Allies. BBC Books. p. 96. ISBN 978-1-846-07749-4. 
  8. Braxton, Mark (2008-01-09 (cover date)). "Pick of the Day: Doctor Who". Radio Times (11-17 April 2009): pp. 64. 
  9. Wilkes, Neil (2009-01-23). "Ryan, Evans for next 'Doctor Who'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Luft, Oliver (2009-01-23). "Doctor Who: Michelle Ryan to guest star in Easter special". Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Thomas, Liz (2009-01-23). "Michelle Ryan to liven up the Tardis as Doctor Who's sexy new assistant". Mail Online. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 Wardrop, Murray (2009-01-23). "Eastenders actress Michelle Ryan to star in Doctor Who special". Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 McConnell, Donna (2009-01-28). "Michelle Ryan slips into something comfortable... to film new role as Doctor Who's assistant". Mail Online. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  14. Thompson, Jody (2009-02-13). "Doctor Who: See David Tennant and Michelle Ryan on location in Dubai". Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  15. Nathan, Sara (2009-03-25). "Doctor, Doctor, I think I'm a fly". The Sun. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  16. Ford, Louise (2009-01-18). "Doctor Who's new assistant set to be ex-EastEnders star Michelle Ryan". Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  17. Robertson, Colin (2009-04-03). "Ryan returns... but only part-Time Lord". The Sun. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  18. Jeffries, Stuart (10 April 2009). "Take me to your Tardis". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 April 2009. 
  19. "09/04/2009". Presenter Steve Wright. Steve Wright in the Afternoon. BBC. BBC Radio 2, London. 2009-04-09.
  20. Episodes from Steve Wright in the Afternoon broadcast in 2009. BBC. 2009-04-09. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  21. Planet of the Dead on the Radio. BBC. 2009-04-09. Archived from the original on 2009-04-12. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 "4". Presenter Justin Lee Collins. The Justin Lee Collins Show. ITV. ITV2. 2009-04-09.

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