Who is Alex Kingston? The Doctor Who star taking on a new role as a lesbian witch

Alex Kingston

Doctor Who star Alex Kingston has a new role in TV drama A Discovery of Witches. Who is the actress?

The trained English Shakespearean actress – who was once married to Ralph Fiennes – first landed major mainstream success on the long-running US medical drama ER, playing series regular Dr. Elizabeth Corday in 160 episodes between 1997 to 2004.

Alex Kingston

The actress further became a household name with appearances on BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who, as Professor River Song.

Despite being killed off in her debut episode, the omnisexual character proved so popular with fans that River Song was brought back again and again – starring in a total of 15 episodes spanning three separate Doctors (David Tennant, Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi), and even marrying the title character.

Although River Song was eventually written out of the show in 2015 episode “The Husbands of River Song”, Kingston has expressed a strong interest in reprising the role to explore the ramifications after her on-screen husband’s abrupt change in gender following the casting of Jodie Whittaker.

She said: “I think it would be fantastic. It’d be great fun to explore that possibility, particularly now that the Doctor is going to regenerate into a female form… so yeah, let’s wait and see.”

Alex Kingston in Doctor Who

Alex Kingston in Doctor Who

From one sci-fi hit to another, Kingston headed across the pond again to appear in a recurring role in The CW’s superhero show Arrow. Kingston played Professor Dinah Lance, the mother of superheroes White Canary and Black Canary, from 2013 until 2016.

The actress is this month set to make her debut in A Discovery of Witches as lesbian witch Sarah Bishop, who lives with her long-time partner Emily Mather and helps raise the main character, her niece Diana.

Alex Kingston as Sarah Bishop

Alex Kingston as Sarah Bishop (Sky)

The show’s website explains: “Diana’s aunt, Sarah Bishop is descended from the first witch executed at Salem. Sarah is proud to be a Bishop and enjoys a respected place among witches because of her name and blood lineage.

“She has a temperamental nature, a famously short fuse, is intensely loyal and has a long-standing addiction to coffee. Her prize possession is the Bishop grimoire, the family’s ancient spell book. Where her partner Emily is thoughtful and measured, Sarah is a firecracker who says exactly what’s on her mind, consequences be damned.

Alex Kingston

“Sarah’s long-term partner, Emily Mather is maternal, nurturing and deeply insightful.

“A witch with a talent for scrying and visions, Em is often the peace broker in the house, her honesty and compassion encouraging Sarah and Diana to face difficult truths. Em has a family secret she has kept since the death of Rebecca, her best friend. She uses that knowledge to understand Diana’s unlikely relationship with Matthew and to guide her. But when the secret comes out – and it must – there are explosive repercussions with Sarah, and their relationship is tested to its limits.”

The first episode of A Discovery of Witches is set to air on September 14.