Orla Brady to star in Doctor Who Christmas special

'Fringe' star Orla Brady is to play a key character in the 'Doctor Who' Christmas special opposite departing Doctor Matt Smith

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Orla Brady

Orla Brady

'Fringe' star Orla Brady is to guest-star in the 'Doctor Who' Christmas special.

The 52-year-old actress - who portrays Elizabeth Bishop in J. J. Abrams' sci-fi series - will appear opposite departing Doctor Matt Smith in his final episode.

Digital Spy is reporting that Orla will portray someone from the Doctor's past and will be a key part of the plot leading to Matt's regeneration into arriving Time Lord Peter Capaldi.

As well as 'Fringe', Irish star Orla has also appeared in 'Nip/Tuck', 'Shark', 'Strike Back', 'Sinbad' and 'Eternal Law'.

The episode is set to feature returning monsters the Silence, Cybermen, Weeping Angels and the Daleks.

Jenna-Louise Coleman - who plays the Doctor's companion Clara Oswald - revealed last week that Matt's departure from the role is very "sad" and she found it painful to read his final scenes when showrunner Steven Moffat gave her the script.

She said: "I just read the script the other night. I'd been putting it off for ages and ages, because once you read the last page, that's it, the story is over. So I read 10 pages on the train and I stopped, and then I picked it up again the other day and finished it. I was an absolute mess, an absolute wreck.

"It's good - it's sad, but it's what needs to happen. It's perfect."

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