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Freema Agyeman

Freema Agyeman
Agyeman in September 2012
Born Frema Agyeman
(1979-03-20) 20 March 1979 [1]
London, England
Occupation Actress, model, singer
Years active 2001–present

Freema Agyeman (;[2] born Frema Agyeman on 20 March 1979) is a British actress who is known for playing Martha Jones in the BBC science fiction series Doctor Who and its spin-off series Torchwood. Following her departure from Doctor Who and guest spots in BBC programmes Survivors and Little Dorrit, Agyeman held a starring role as Alesha Phillips in the crime procedural drama Law & Order: UK between 2009 and 2012. In 2013, she made her US television debut on The CW's teen drama The Carrie Diaries as Larissa Loughlin, a style editor at Interview magazine.

Since 2015, Agyeman has a main role in the TV series Sense8 on Netflix.


  • Background and personal life 1
  • Career 2
    • Early career 2.1
    • Doctor Who (2006–2010) 2.2
    • 2008–present 2.3
  • Awards and recognition 3
    • Nominations 3.1
  • Filmography 4
  • Audio and radio 5
  • Theatre 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Background and personal life

Agyeman's mother, Azar, is Iranian and her father, Osei, is Ghanaian. They divorced when she was a child. Agyeman has an older sister, Leila, and a younger brother, Dominic.[3] Although her mother is Muslim and her father Methodist, Agyeman grew up to be a practising Roman Catholic.[4] Agyeman attended Our Lady's Convent RC High School, a Catholic school in Stamford Hill and during the summer of 1996 she studied at the Anna Scher Theatre School in Islington and studied performing arts and drama at Middlesex University, graduating in 2000.[3] Agyeman has martial arts skills, which prompted speculation that she would bring a more physical approach to the role of the Doctor's companion.[5] The tattoo Agyeman has on her upper arm is symbolic of her ancestry, containing the Persian word "raha", meaning "free", under an image of a butterfly.[6] Agyeman endorses Divine Chocolate, a fairtrade corporation that works with Ghanaian cocoa farmers.[7]


Early career

When Agyeman began her professional acting career, she chose to use a different spelling of her birth name, Frema, as her professional name, to avoid pronunciation problems.[8]

Before securing the part of Martha Jones, Agyeman's most famous television role was playing Lola Wise in the revived series of ITV soap opera Crossroads. She also had small guest roles in other TV series such as Casualty, Mile High and The Bill, in which she appeared on two occasions as two separate characters. In 2005, Agyeman played Mary Ogden, a scene of crime officer, in an episode of Silent Witness.

Agyeman starred as Nana in the independent film Rulers and Dealers, written and directed by Stephen Lloyd Jackson.[9]

Doctor Who (2006–2010)

Agyeman auditioned for three roles in the 2006 series of Doctor Who. On 24 June 2005, she auditioned for the part of Sally Jacobs in "The Christmas Invasion", but the role went to Anita Briem, who better fitted the production team's concept of the character as an "ice cool blonde".[10] Agyeman later auditioned for the roles of Esme and Adeola Oshodi, in the "Rise of the Cybermen"/"The Age of Steel" and "Army of Ghosts", respectively. Esme was ultimately cut from the final script,[11] but Agyeman was successful in her audition for Adeola. She filmed her role in the series in December 2005 and appeared on screen as Adeola on 1 July 2006.

"When we cast the character of Adeola, I met Freema [Agyeman] for this part—actually, I met her for two parts—and when I met her, as soon as she walked through the door, I knew she was going to be quite exceptional. When she walked in, I thought I was looking at Halle Berry English-style..."

Graeme Harper[12]

The production team were impressed by the versatility shown by Agyeman across her three auditions[10] and called her back as a serious candidate for the new companion. She attended another audition (ostensibly for an episode of Torchwood)[10] before a final screen-test with Tenth Doctor actor, David Tennant. Tennant left a reassuring note under the door of Agyeman's hotel room, and this helped calm any nerves the actress had.[13] Following extensive speculation on who would replace Billie Piper, Agyeman was confirmed to the press as new companion Martha Jones on 5 July 2006.[14]

"I'd like to think that there will be more for Martha Jones, because Doctor Who has been one of the biggest experiences of my life, both in terms of my career and in terms of how it has changed my life over the last two years. I dare say a great number of people will always associate me with Martha, and that really makes me smile. It means that she lives on. That's so flattering. It's an honour. I'd love to do more with her, definitely..."

—Freema Agyeman, July 2008[15]

Agyeman began filming for the third series in August 2006 and finished in March 2007. She made her screen debut as Martha on 31 March 2007 in the episode "Smith and Jones".[16] A line of dialogue explains that Adeola was Martha's cousin. Agyeman continued to portray the character Martha throughout every episode of the 2007 series. Agyeman returned as Martha in series 4 for five episodes. Following the final episode of the fourth series, Agyeman stated that she would be open to reprising the role.[15] She later returned to the series along with several other former cast members to mark David Tennant's final appearance in The End of Time. Concurrent with her appearance on the show, Agyeman read abridged audiobook adaptations of five of the Doctor Who New Series Adventures novels featuring Martha, namely The Last Dodo,[17] Wetworld,[18] The Pirate Loop,[19] Martha in the Mirror[20] and The Story of Martha.[21]

In between series three and series four of Doctor Who, Agyeman appeared in three episodes of series 2 of Doctor Who spin off Torchwood,[22] namely "Reset", "Dead Man Walking" and "A Day in the Death". She also had a starring role in the Torchwood radio play, Lost Souls, broadcast on BBC Radio Four on 10 September 2008 to promote the turning on of the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN research facility.[23] It was later revealed by Torchwood: Children of Earth director Euros Lyn that the production team had intended for Agyeman to appear in that production, but she was already committed to Law & Order: UK.[24] However, in a video interview conducted at the Law and Order: UK press launch, Agyeman does not rule out a return to Torchwood, stating that "it's always a possibility."[25] Torchwood creator and head writer Russell T. Davies, also responsible for Doctor Who, subsequently affirmed that he would be open to casting Agyeman in a future series of Torchwood.[26]


Agyeman appeared several times on The Bedtime Hour on CBeebies reading the story broadcast shortly before 7.00pm. She narrated the first series of BBC Three's hospital documentary series Bizarre ER which ran from 14 February 2008[27] to 3 April 2008 and[28] also provided the narration for a second series which began airing on Tuesday 21 April 2009.[29] Agyeman hosted a Doctor Who-themed portion of the BBC Proms on 27 July.[30] A one-hour cut-down version of the prom made its TV début on BBC1, New Year's Day, 2009.

On 25 April 2008, Agyeman appeared on The Paul O'Grady Show. She made another appearance on the show on 26 March 2009.

Agyeman played foundling girl Tattycoram in the Emmy Award winning 2008 BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit, which began on 26 October 2008, starring alongside her fellow Torchwood stars Eve Myles and Ruth Jones.[31] Some of Agyeman's scenes for the first episode were shot in the grounds of Deal Castle, Kent, which doubled for Marseille, France.[32] Agyeman was delighted to have appeared in Little Dorrit, as it had always been a dream of hers to appear in a period drama.[33] In 2008 Agyeman also appeared in Survivors, a BBC 1 remake of the cult 1970s TV series, as Jenny Walsh (surname originally reported to be Collins), although her character was killed off in the first episode in a shock twist despite featuring prominently in promotional materials for the series.[34][35]

Between 2009 and 2012, Agyeman starred as Crown Prosecutor Alesha Phillips in Law & Order: UK, a UK adaptation and spin-off from the popular US Law & Order franchise.[36] Agyeman is a self-professed "massive fan" of the original Law & Order series, especially Seasons 3 and 4. In preparation for the role, Agyeman sat in on live trials, toured the Old Bailey, and conferred with her law-degree holding sister, Leila: "She's great and really patient at explaining things to laymen, because I was coming at it completely blind. She's been a good source."[37] She remained with the programme for its first six series departing the cast before the seventh series due to other filming commitments.[38]

In March 2012, it was announced that Agyeman would play Larissa, "an easy-going party girl who works at Interview magazine" in the pilot of Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries.[39] In early 2013, she starred in the Cbeebies television series Old Jack's Boat as Shelley.[40]

Agyeman appears in the Netflix series Sense8, released on June 2015, created by J. Michael Straczynski and Andy and Lana Wachowski. She is a series regular and plays Amanita, the girlfriend of Nomi, a sensate.[41][42]

Awards and recognition

In June 2007, Agyeman was named "Best Newcomer" at the 2007 "Glamour Women of the Year Awards".[43] The same year she won the 2007 People's Choice category for "Female TV Star" in the 5th annual Screen Nation Film and TV Awards, held on 15 October 2007 at the Hilton Metropole in London.[44]

The Observer had an interview with Agyeman in December 2007 and named her as a "face of 2007".[45]


In 2003, Agyeman was nominated in two categories in the British Soap Awards for her role as Lola Wise in Crossroads, as "Best Newcomer" and "Sexiest Female".[46]

In 2007, Agyeman was one of the top four nominations for best actress in the National Television Awards, for playing Martha Jones in the 2007 series of Doctor Who. She was also nominated for Best Actress in the TV Quick Awards the same year for her role in Doctor Who.[47] Agyeman was also longlisted for the 2010 National Television Awards for best dramatic performance for her role as Crown Prosecutor, Alesha Phillips.

In 2009, Agyeman was also nominated for Best Actress at the Birmingham Black International Film Festival's Music, Video and Screen Awards (MVSAs).[48]


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Aisha the American Shaheen Short film
2006 Rulers and Dealers Nana
2015 North v South Penny
Year Title Role Notes
2003 Crossroads Lola Wise Unknown episodes
2004 Bill, TheThe Bill Jenna Carter Episode: "Episode 232"
2004 Casualty@Holby City Kate Hindley Episode: "Casualty@Holby City: Part One"
2005 Mile High Girl #1 Series 2, episode 26
2005 Silent Witness Mary Ogden Episode: "Choices: Part 1"
2006 Bill, TheThe Bill Shakira Washington 2 episodes
2006 Doctor Who Adeola Oshodi Episode: "Army of Ghosts"
2007-2010 Doctor Who Martha Jones 19 episodes (Main Role Series 3, Recurring Role Series 4)
2007-2008 Doctor Who Confidential Herself 13 episodes
2007 Totally Doctor Who Herself 7 episodes
2007 Infinite Quest, TheThe Infinite Quest Martha Jones Voice; 13 episodes
2007 Omid Djalili Show, TheThe Omid Djalili Show Herself Series 1, episode 3
2008 Torchwood Martha Jones 3 episodes
2008-2010 Bizarre ER Herself Narrator (series 1–3); 30 episodes
2008 Torchwood Declassified Herself 2 episodes
2008 Little Dorrit Tattycoram Miniseries; 8 episodes
2008 Survivors Jenny Walsh 2 episodes
2009-2012 Law & Order: UK Alesha Phillips Main cast (series 1–6); 39 episodes
2013-2014 Carrie Diaries, TheThe Carrie Diaries Larissa Loughlin Main cast; 22 episodes
2013 Old Jack's Boat Shelly Periwinkle Main cast (series 1); 12 episodes
2013 Rubenesque Trudy One-off drama
2015 Sense8 Amanita Main cast; 12 episodes

Audio and radio

Year Title Role Notes
2007 Last Dodo, TheThe Last Dodo Narrator Doctor Who audiobook
2007 Wetworld Narrator Doctor Who audiobook
2007 Pirate Loop, TheThe Pirate Loop Narrator Doctor Who audiobook
2008 Martha in the Mirror Narrator Doctor Who audiobook
2008 Lost Souls Martha Jones Full cast audio drama
2008 Story of Martha, TheThe Story of Martha Narrator Doctor Who audiobook
2014 Six Degrees of Assassination: An Audible Drama Ellen Townsend


Year Title Role Notes
2001–2002 When Snow Falls[49] T By Chris Elwell
2001 Twisted Roots[50][51] Anya Starr By Emily Nightingale
2002 Lords and Ladies[52] Various roles Originally by Terry Pratchett
2008 Doctor Who Prom Host Musical celebration, 27 July 2008


  1. ^ "Thank You Letter From Freema Agyeman". Retrieved 8 April 2008. 
  2. ^ She pronounces her last name as /ˈɑːdʒəmən/
  3. ^ a b Jury, Louise (23 March 2007). "From council estate to Tardis: rise of the Timelord's sidekick". London:  
  4. ^ Deeley, Laura (16 February 2008). "Dr Who's sidekick, Freema Agyeman". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  5. ^ Adam Sherwin (5 July 2006). "Sidekick whose time has come". London: The Times. Retrieved 5 July 2006. 
  6. ^ "Freema Agyemann profile: Watch Shows: Watch – simply good TV". 7 November 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  7. ^ [3]
  8. ^ Hugo, Simon (June 2008). "Where's Your Head At? Freema Agyeman". Torchwood Magazine. p. 60. 
  9. ^ "New British Film: Rulers And Dealers Screens at The ICA, London". Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  10. ^ a b c Davies, Russell T. Companion Piece, Doctor Who Magazine: Issue 373.
  11. ^ Companion Piece, Doctor Who Magazine: Issue 373.
  12. ^ "Doomsday!! Gaspode Chats Up The Director of WHO’s Second-Season Finale!!". Ain't It Cool News. Retrieved 16 July 2008. 
  13. ^ "Meet Martha, an interview with Freema Agyeman", Doctor Who Magazine: Issue 372.
  14. ^ "Press Office – Freema Agyeman is new companion to Doctor Who". BBC. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  15. ^ a b "Freema Agyeman — She walks in her own way", Doctor Who Magazine: Issue 398.
  16. ^ Writer  
  17. ^ | Archived Headlines – June 2007"Doctor Who". Eye of Horus. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  18. ^ audio CD review"Doctor Who Wetworld". Den of Geek. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  19. ^ "The UK Sci-Fi TV Book Guide: Forthcoming Releases". Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  20. ^ : New Adventures: WITH The Many Hands AND Martha in the Mirror AND Snowglobe 7 (Dr Who)"Doctor Who". 9 October 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  21. ^ (new reading) – Abridged Audiobook"Doctor Who: The Story of Martha"(UK) : Dan Abnett – . Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  22. ^ "More Martha!". BBC Official Doctor Who site. 2 July 2007. Archived from the original on 17 July 2007. Retrieved 2 July 2007. 
  23. ^ "Outpost Gallifrey: Doctor Who RSS News Feed". 26 April 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  24. ^ McCabe, Joseph (19 February 2009). Season 3!"Torchwood"Exclusive: Eve Myles and Director Euros Lyn Talk . Retrieved 22 February 2009. 
  25. ^ return"Doctor Who"Freema talks . Digital Spy. 7 February 2008. Retrieved 8 February 2009. 
  26. ^ "Torchwood & Doctor Who"Russell T. Davies talks . Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  27. ^ episode 1Bizarre ER
  28. ^ episode 8Bizarre ER
  29. ^ , Series 2, Episode 1"Bizarre ER"Three Programmes – . BBC. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  30. ^  – 27 July 2008"Proms". BBC. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  31. ^ Holmwood, Leigh (6 May 2008). "Jones to appear in BBC Dickens drama". London: Guardian. Retrieved 10 June 2008. 
  32. ^ "News | Spooks and Doctor Who stars invade Deal Castle".  
  33. ^ "Press Office – Little Dorrit press pack: Freema Agyeman plays Tattycoram". BBC. 13 October 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  34. ^ "Survivors"Press Office – Cast announced for BBC One's . BBC. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  35. ^  – News"Doctor Who". BBC. 2 June 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  36. ^ "From Doc To Dock". 13 July 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  37. ^
  38. ^ Millar, Paul (24 August 2012). Law & Order: UK', 'Scott & Bailey', 'Vera' recommissioned by ITV"'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  39. ^ Jeffrey, Morgan (5 March 2012). Doctor Who' star Freema Agyeman joins 'Sex and the City' prequel"'".  
  40. ^ Methven, Nicola (2 August 2012). "More stories: Veteran Jackanory star Bernard Cribbins to make a children's TV comeback". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  41. ^ Reiher, Andrea (3 February 2014). "Netflix's 'Sense8' details and a new comic from J. Michael Straczynski". Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  42. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (20 June 2014). "Cast Set, Plot Revealed For Wachowskis’ Netflix Globe-Spanning Series ‘Sense8′". Retrieved 22 July 2014. 
  43. ^ "Freema Wins at Glamour Women Awards 2007". Freema 5 June 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  44. ^ "Reginald Hudlin" (PDF). Retrieved 28 July 2009. 
  45. ^ Day, Elizabeth (16 December 2007). "A dizzy year with the Doctor". London: Observer. Retrieved 10 June 2008. 
  46. ^ "On the Box guide to the British Soap Awards". Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  47. ^ "National Television Awards | 2007 | Vote for your favourite". The Sun. 15 October 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  48. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel. wins three MVSA prizesEastEnders,, 6 November 2009.
  49. ^ [4]
  50. ^ "Twisted Roots". Pop-Up. Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  51. ^ "A fansite – Biography & Filmography". Freema Retrieved 29 March 2009. 
  52. ^ "Lords and Ladies". Retrieved 29 March 2009. 

External links

  • Freema Agyeman at the Internet Movie Database
  • Interview on The One Show (14 August 2006)
  • Interview in The Times (16 February 2008)
  • Survivors – Freema Agyeman (Jenny Collins) Press Pack at the BBC Press Office
  • Little Dorrit – Freema Agyeman (Tattycoram) Press Pack at the BBC Press Office
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