Michelle Ryan
Birth Date:
Birth Place:
Enfield, Middlesex, England, UK
5' 7
Famous for:
Her role of Zoe Slater on the popular BBC1 Soap Opera 'EastEnders'
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Bionic Woman


English actress Michelle Ryan has been a well-known face in the United Kingdom thanks to her star making role of Zoe Slater on the BBC long running series “EastEnders,” a role she portrayed from age 16 to age 21 (2000-2005). She remarked, “It was a bit weird when people recognized me in the street because they associate you with your character. It was when I was growing up and trying to find my own identity.”

American audiences probably best recognize her as the star of the NBC TV series remake “Bionic Woman” (2007). Talking about her character on the show, she said, “I would say she's feisty and smart and loyal, and also warm and vulnerable. She's a young woman who's trying to find her way in life. She's dealing with these incredible things that are being thrown at her. But yes, she's kicking ass, and yeah, she is kind of taking on the world. But she's also feeling very vulnerable and she has a boyfriend who isn't entirely honest with her.

The Enfield, Middlesex, native has also portrayed Katherine Reimer and wicked sorceress Nimueh on the BBC shows “Jekyll” (2007) and “Merlin” (2008), respectively. Also a film actress, she has acted in such movies as “Cashback” (2006), “I Want Candy” (2007) and “Flick” (2008).

The green-eyed beauty of Irish descent has been among FHM Magazine's “100 Sexiest Women” four times (2002, 2004, 2005 and 2007). She got her highest ranking (#4) in 2005. Ryan cites Gucci, Prada and Miu Miu as her favorite designers.

Ryan is a supporter of the children's cancer charity CLIC.

Mish Mash

Childhood and Family:

Michelle Claire Ryan was born on April 22, 1984, in Enfield, Middlesex, England, and educated at Chace Community School. She became interested in acting while in school and when she was 10 years old, became involved with a local theater group.

Michelle Ryan is known by the nickname Mish Mash.



Acting in community theater by age 10, Michelle Ryan was seen on television six years later in a guest spot in the U.K. comedy series “The Worst Witch,” based on the four “Worse Witch” books by Jill Murphy. She appeared as Dolores in the episode “Fair Is Foul & Fouls Are Fair,” which aired on January 20, 2000. She next appeared as a school friend in two episodes of the short-lived drama series “Burnside” (2000).

Ryan's first breakthrough arrived when she was cast in the regular role of Zoe Slater in the well liked BBC soap opera “EastEnders.” Chosen for the role when she was 15 years old, the young thespian first appeared on the show in September 2000 and continued to appear on the show until June 2005, when she left the series to focus on film and theater.

“It just got really boring in the end. It was too easy. I think I'd found every possible layer to the character and I got to the point where I needed a new challenge. I was 21 and desperate to go out and meet some new people.” Michelle Ryan (on why she left “EastEnders”)

In 2003, Ryan recreated the role of Zoe in “Comic Relief 2003: The Big Hair Do” and the direct-to-video-release “EastEnders: Slaters in Detention,” directed by Richard Platt.

Following her departure from “EastEnders,” Ryan had the small role of Rose Waters in the made-for-TV film “Marple: By the Pricking of My Thumbs” (2006), starring Geraldine McEwan as Miss Jane Marple. She broke into the big screen later that same year with a supporting part as former girlfriend Suzy in the award winning independent drama “Cashback” (2006), starring Sean Biggerstaff, Emilia Fox and Shaun Evans. She went on to play Lila in the hit comedy “I Want Candy” (2007), helmed by Stephen Surjik and starring Tom Riley, Tom Burke, Carmen Electra and Eddie Marsan.

Back to the small screen, Ryan portrayed Kate in “Comic Relief 2007: The Big One” (2007) and Maria Bertram in “Mansfield Park” (2007), but did not revisit series TV until she got the role of Katherine Reimer in “Jekyll” (2007), a BBC modern day version of “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” starring James Nesbit. Shown in England on June 16, 2007, the six-part series was released on DVD in the United States on September 18, 2007.

“I was just called in to do an audition, so I put myself on tape and that was then sent to NBC and they liked what they saw and then they brought me out to do a screen test and then within a week I found out I had the job.” Michelle Ryan (on how she got her role in “Bionic Woman”)

Later that same year, Ryan enjoyed widespread attention when she won the starring role of Jaime Sommers, a female athlete who is given bionic strength, on the NBC revival of the popular 1970s adventure drama “Bionic Woman.” Debuting on September 26, 2007, the show soon attracted an audience, but faltered after the production was stopped because of the writers' strike. The show eventually left the airwaves in November 2007.

Ryan next received the role of Lexy in the British drama “Adulthood” (2008), directed, written by and starring Noel Clarke. However, when shooting was postponed, she dropped the role, which was eventually given to her ex-”EastEnders” costar, Scarlett Alice Johnson. Ryan later landed the significant role of Sandra Martin in the David Howard-directed horror movie “Flick” (2008), opposite Faye Dunaway.

Also in 2008, Ryan portrayed Saz Paley in the British miniseries “Mr. Eleven,” directed by Paul Gay and written by Amanda Coe. Still on television, she could be seen as sorceress Nimueh on four episodes of the BBC drama series “Merlin,” starring Colin Morgan. Talking about her role on the series, she said, “It was really great fun. I'd normally played wicked girls who have a bad side or a dark side but Nimeuh is really evil. I mean, she has been treated badly in the past but she's still a b****.”


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