When we last saw her on TV, Lady Christina de Souza was waving goodbye to the Doctor from the cab of her flying double-decker bus.
Michelle Ryan reprised the role of Lady Christina for the Tenth Doctor Chronicles back in April. Now she’s back for a whole four-part box set all to herself. Christina loves the finer things in life: champagne, five-star hotels, diamonds and alien objects. But her cat-burglar lifestyle has caught the attention of UNIT…
It Takes a Thief by John Dorney
John Dorney takes the role of writer for the first story of the set. Lady Christina has attracted unwanted attention. Not just the authorities but a man she stopped to help: Ivor Fraser-Cannon, played brilliantly by Matt Barber. Dorney introduces our leading Lady in style with a fierce car chase. Instantly invoking James Bond or The Avengers, it’s an incredibly exciting start to the series.
Michelle Ryan is fine form as Christina and, despite her long absence from the role, slips back into character very quickly. She has a real handle on the material and Christina is as sarcastic and funny as ever, instantly taking charge as events unfold around her. While the stakes aren’t especially high, the plot works brilliantly for what is essentially a pilot episode of a new series. Instead of giving Christina some life-threatening problems to deal with, Dorney keeps things low-key and focused, delivering a rollicking-good mystery-adventure set on the French Rivera. ‘It Takes a Thief’ is a great way to kick things off!
Skin Deep by James Goss
Despite both appearing in the Tenth Doctor Chronicles, the second story unites Lady Christina with Jacqueline King as the implacable Sylvia Noble. ‘Skin Deep’ is a James Goss script that continues the theme of Sylvia trying to stay young and beautiful. But instead of an Adipose pill, there’s a skin cream with a deadly secret that Christina and Sylvia soon find themselves thrust into. Goss develops backstory for Christina concerning her father that does a superb job at informing her character. With Donna and Wilf getting adventures with the Doctor, it seems only right that the last member of the Noble adventure gets thrust into the Doctor’s madcap world a little more. Jacqueline King proves she is still more than willing to put on her sarcastic and moody shoes once more.
Goss has a great handle on Sylvia, treating her almost like a more judgemental version of Donna. Sylvia’s reaction to the aliens is hilarious and she gets some great lines. King and Ryan have such great chemistry that it is a shame she doesn’t make more appearances or become Christina’s companion at the end.
Portrait of a Lady by Tim Dawson
Tim Dawson’s ‘Portrait of a Lady’ brings back another fan-favourite villain in the form of the Sontarans. But it is a story that runs much deeper than just another Sontaran-flick. On the hunt for one of the most famous paintings in the world, Christina has taken the role of a member of UNIT’s villains: The Auctioneers. She hires two people to steal it for her, but when things go drastically wrong she has no choice but to step in. Dawson unites Christina with UNIT’s Sam Bishop, played with evident gusto by Warren Brown. The pair work brilliantly together, thanks to some excellent dialogue from Dawson. It becomes apparent very quickly that the writers have a very strong handle on what characters from the Whoniverse will compliment Lady Christina’s role as the protagonist.
Dawson also looks at what it means to be a Sontaran in the form of Christopher Ryan’s Grunt. Held prisoner and forced into doing his master’s work, Grunt comes to realise that he’s gone against everything his race stand for. Christopher Ryan is an excellent addition to the cast and his trio with Michelle and Warren have excellent chemistry.
Death on the Mile by Donald McLeary
The fourth and final story for Lady Christina’s debut series is ‘Death on the Mile’ by Donald McLeary. What begins as a slightly off-piste story gradually morphs into something fitting the tone of the box set. Christina is on the trail of another alien device when she bumps into Sam Bishop again. But this time Slitheen are lurking in the shadows.
Oh boy, do the Slitheen work brilliantly on audio! Ignoring the unexpected Scottish accent on a Slitheen, which takes you out it a little, McLeary blends the sillier element of the Slitheen with a high stakes plot as they once more try to reduce the Earth to a molten slag heap.
Ryan and Brown continue their excellent chemistry, which elevates every story they’re put together for. But a very strong cast brings the debut series of ‘Lady Christina’ to a close on a real high.
‘Lady Christina’ will no doubt surprise many of listeners. What might have been something silly and throwaway turned out to be one of the most entertaining releases from Big Finish this year! The whole cast are superb and there isn’t a weak link among them. Michelle Ryan is just excellent once more as Christina with strong scripts that the young actor appears to devour. She’s helped along by some fantastic direction from Helen Goldwyn, someone who is quickly becoming one of Big Finish’s strongest directors. Hopefully this set will prove as popular as it deserves so we can hear much more from Michelle Ryan as the mysterious, enigmatic and wholly brilliant Lady Christina…
This title was released in August 2018. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until October 31st 2018, and on general sale after this date
The French Riviera has always provided rich pickings for the aristocratic cat-burglar. Lady Christina is enjoying the high life while adding to her collection.
But when suspicion falls on her after a robbery-turned-murder, Christina decides to catch the culprit herself…
2. Skin Deep by James Goss
Sylvia Noble always knew she deserved better. So, when a chance encounter with aristocracy propels her out of Chiswick and into high society, she’s delighted.
But the beautiful people have their own agenda – and Christina is surprised when those plans involve her father.
3. Portrait of a Lady by Tim Dawson
When her plot to steal a priceless painting runs into trouble, Christina crashes into an undercover UNIT operation – and Sam Bishop.
Soon, her Number 200 bus is racing from Europe to South America and into the depths of the Pacific, chasing a mysterious and unstoppable foe…
4. Death on the Mile by Donald McLeary
Lady Christina has been offered a job: the heist of a lifetime. She simply has to break into Edinburgh Castle.
At the same time, UNIT are investigating alien activity at the Military Tattoo. And where there’s treasure and treachery, there are also Slitheen…
Written By: John Dorney, James Goss, Tim Dawson, Donald McLeary
Directed By: Helen Goldwyn
Michelle Ryan (Lady Christina de Souza), Jacqueline King (Sylvia Noble), Warren Brown (Sam Bishop), Matt Barber (Ivo Fraser-Cannon), Cristina Barreiro (Flavia Santos), Holly Jackson Walters (Carla / Maud Hunter), William Gaminara (Lord Alfred de Souza), Suzy Bloom (Tamarind / Amber), Rebecca Yeo (Malia), Gareth Corke (Leon Clancy / Policeman / Taxi driver), Emily Carewe (Lucy Clancy / Perfection), Matthew Brenher (Mr Kamen / Conceirge), Christopher Ryan (Grunt / Handley), Jenny Lee (The Keeper), Tracy Wiles (Jacqui McGee), Melissa Collier(Elaine / Janice), Richard Hansell (Robin), Ewan Bailey (Sir Edward Scott Cameron / Biggs). Other parts played by members of the cast.
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Matt Fitton
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs