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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

okay, okay: Michelle Ryan will be appearing on ‘Doctor Who’

Yes, I heard about Michelle Ryan — she of EastEnders fame, and Bionic Woman infamy — being cast in the upcoming Doctor Who special to air at Eastertime:

But I think it’s probably a bit premature to be calling her “the Doctor’s new companion,” and everyone — such as the Daily Mail — seems to be doing.

Michelle Ryan looks set to become the next Doctor Who companion after landing a plum role in the show’s Easter special.

The former EastEnders actress will appear in Planet of the Dead, which will be broadcast on BBC1 in April.

She will play Lady Christina de Souza, who accompanies David Tennant’s Doctor on a dangerous bus trip.

Executive producer Russell T Davies said: ‘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.’

But:

The Easter special is one of four stand-alone episodes of the show to be broadcast this year. In each, the Doctor will have a different companion.

Aha! Ryan’s appearance here doesn’t make her any more of a companion than Kylie Minogue was.

But but:

However, BBC bosses have not yet announced who will star alongside new Doctor Matt Smith in the 2010 series.

Show insiders said that Miss Ryan, 24, is a key contender to play Mr Smith’s assistant.

A source revealed: ‘Michelle’s been in secret talks with BBC bosses.

‘They are likely to announce her as Doctor Who’s new assistant very soon.

Yeah, well, we’ve seen how accurate these rumors put about by anonymous insiders have been.

‘She is perfect for the role. She is good looking and the right age to star alongside Matt.

What? He’s a 900-year-old Time Lord! Anybody’s the “right age” to star alongside him! Sheesh.

Seriously, I hope this is not how they’re thinking. Because if it is, it means we won’t get another companion like Catherine Tate’s Donna — who would be “too old” for the 11th Doctor.

If this Smith guy isn’t able to pull off enough authority to convincingly play the Doctor — even enough to stand up to an actress 10 or 12 years older than the actor — we’re in big trouble.



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  • JoshDM

    I enjoyed the Bionic Woman re-imagining series. I don’t understand everyone’s beef with it; maybe they caught that one really bad episode, or were irritated by her annoying BTVS‘s Dawn-like little sister.

    I liked how they utilized cover government agencies in the same manner which Threshold used them.

  • Stephanie

    You and I are alone in the universe, JoshDM. I didn’t hate it either.

  • I don’t understand everyone’s beef with it; maybe they caught that one really bad episode, or were irritated by her annoying BTVS’s Dawn-like little sister.

    Hey, I always liked Dawn! (Talk about your minority opinions.) Granted, she was never as popular as River Tam or Samantha Mulder but she was likable (to me at least) in her own way.

    She will play Lady Christina de Souza, who accompanies David Tennant’s Doctor on a dangerous bus trip.

    Yet another character in the Dr. Who with a Latin-ish name. George Orwell must be rolling in his grave…

  • Yet another character in the Dr. Who with a Latin-ish name. George Orwell must be rolling in his grave…

    Yet another character in the Dr. Who universe with a Latin-ish name, I meant to say.

    I take it the name is not meant to be a homage to American screenwriter Stephen de Souza…

  • t6

    I’m really excited to hear this!

    I liked Bionic Woman. I mean, was it stellar? No…it wasn’t as strong an opener as say…Journeyman…but, for me, it was on par with a lot of scifi season openers. It was feeling its way about, but there was a lot of potential and I was excited to see what they would have done with a second season and a permanent show-runner.

    Anyway. I also was completely blown away by the Eastenders twohander between her and Jessie Wallace. So count me as really excited that she’ll be up for Easter.

    I don’t know if she’ll become a steady companion, but I’d be down with that.

    But do you know what would be very cool? If we could have more Dr. Who characters who reflect the diversity of the country–and I’m not talking Black British right now. When will the doctor have an Anglo-Indian companion?

  • JoshDM

    You bring up Journeyman. I liked that show, but the first couple of episodes suffered from extremely wooden acting, and I wasn’t surprised to see it go.

  • nyjm

    Journeyman rewarded patience – I wasn’t charmed by the first few episodes (wooden acting as been pointed out and not much in the way of something dramatic to grab my attention). But I continued watching at my wife’s prodding/insistence. And it developed into a show that used it’s sci-fi/fantasy twist to create some very intelligent drama. Alas, like Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, I think it was too intelligent for its own good.

    Bionic Woman, on the other hand, started weak (like, again alas, many sci-fi shows) and never improved. I can easily pinpoint how I know: Sarah Corvus (Katee Sackoff). When a secondary character out-acts, out-hits and out-stories your protagonist, your show has some serious problems. Corvus was infinitely more interesting; I wish the show would have been about her. Ryan’s Jaime Sommers spent the entire series wallowing about in quandries more appropriate to Dawson’s Creek than BSG (whose torch many viewers were hoping it would pick up.)

    I suppose that’s another thing: with David Eick’s involvement, many people were expecting him to bring the BSG intelligence and grit to Bionic Woman. It didn’t happen: we got your standard milquetoast TV drama.

  • NorthernStar

    ‘She is perfect for the role. She is good looking and the right age to star alongside Matt.’

    Those words worry me too. Not just because it sounds like they’re purposely casting for Matt’s age rather than for talent first and foremost, but because they seem hung up on “good-looking.”

    Both Billie and Catherine look gorgeous but they are not the sci-fi staple babes that litter other shows. It gives Dr Who an “actual lives” realism that you just don’t see in sci-fi and I would hate to see the program lose that.

  • Dawn

    Yeah – Michelle Ryan is OK for a one off special – but remember she has previously auditioned to be a full time companion and didn’t make the cut. Personally I find her a bit wooden (but I suppose I’m used to her in Eastenders in which everyone is wooden – or completely over the top un-believable!) I’m more interested in Lee Evans as Malcolm!

  • Gee

    Yet another character in the Dr. Who universe with a Latin-ish name, I meant to say.

    I take it the name is not meant to be a homage to American screenwriter Stephen de Souza…

    I read your comment and though Latin-ish? What is Roman about that? :-) I had to puzzle a bit to understand your meaning.

    My first impression of the name, from a UK perspective, is that it’s upper class (even without the ‘Lady’ pre-fix.) It reminds me also of Edward de Souza – an actor who was the ‘Man in Black’ on BBC Radio 4, repeated recently on Radio 7. Wikipedia also tells me that he played the lead in a 1963 Doctor Who story that unusually did not feature the Doctor.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_de_Souza

    Hmm. How about a Doctor-lite special? (Just joking. I think there would be riots if that’s what we get!)

    That publicity photo is odd. Normally I can tell if DT is in character or not when he is in costume, but here he seems fairly natural and himself, but I’m thrown a bit because Michelle Ryan looks like she’s posing in character.

    The Daily Mail has a very poor record in getting it right where Doctor Who is concerned. They put together 1 + 1 +? and end up with -2,003.

  • Michelle Ryan was in the very good Jeckyll – and she was much, much better in that than she was in Bionic Woman.

    Jim and I rewatched the library episodes today, and it’s almost heartbreaking that David Tennant and Alex Kingston won’t have a season or two of Doctor Who/Doctor River Song episodes. They were magnificent together.

  • I read your comment and though Latin-ish? What is Roman about that? :-) I had to puzzle a bit to understand your meaning.

    I meant “Latin-ish” as in being either “Latin American” or else “derived from a Latin-based language.” After all, it seemed obvious that the name de Souza wasn’t a typical English name and while I couldn’t quite remember whether de Souza was Spanish or Portuguese, it did strike me as being obviously based in one of the Romance languages.

    But you’re right. Next time I should be more precise when I write my comments.

  • dom

    It’s odd that “Anglo Indian” and the name “De Souza” should be mentioned in the same context but separately…the actor Edward De Souza is in fact Anglo Indian. He also once dated my dad’s sister.

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