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Who Does Christina Chong Play On Doctor Who & Why Was Her Small Role So Pivotal?

These days, fans of Christina Chong primarily associate her with her major role as La'an Noonien-Singh on "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds." However, the actor actually appeared in another massive sci-fi franchise over an entire decade prior: Doctor Who. Back in 2011, Chong guest starred for a single episode of the British time-travel series, specifically during the era of Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor. Her role was relatively minor, but her character nonetheless ended up becoming an important fixture of series canon for an interesting reason.

Chong specifically appeared in "Doctor Who" Season 6, Episode 7, titled "A Good Man Goes to War." In the episode, the Doctor's companion Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) finds herself abducted by alien forces right as she gives birth to her daughter with Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill), the baby Melody Pond. Amid the chaos, a friendly soldier named Lorna Bucket, played by none other than Chong, cares for Amy and gives her a special prayer leaf with Melody's name written in her home world's language.

Lorna unfortunately dies soon after, but her gift to Amy turns out to be far more significant than it initially appears. As the group discovers at the end of the episode, Lorna's translation of Melody Pond on the prayer leaf is River Song — confirming Amy and Rory's daughter to be one and the same as Alex Kingston's mysterious time traveler and the Doctor's love interest. Indeed, Chong's character was directly responsible for naming one of the most iconic faces across "Doctor Who."

Chong had fun with her Doctor Who appearance

In an interview with Cultbox just prior to the release of Christina Chong's "Doctor Who" episode back in 2011, the actor spoke about her experience working on the show. She noted the complex script writing of then-showrunner Steven Moffat as a particular highlight. "I had to read the script a good three times to understand it, but even then he leaves you with a cloud of mystery, which is great for an actor," Chong explained. "That way you get to use your imagination and invent your own little stories."

The opportunity to guest star on an episode of "Doctor Who" was especially compelling for Chong at the time, as she had become a fan of the series since its revival in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor. When asked whether or not she would like to return to the show in the future, she responded, "Yes, without a doubt."

Nonetheless, quite some time has passed since Chong's "Doctor Who" debut, and she has moved on to larger roles. In an interview with TV Fanatic, she spoke about the value of playing La'an on "Star Trek: Strange New Worlds" compared to previous guest star credit. "Y'know, Lorna Bucket is very much 'she is what she is,'" she explained. "And with all the other franchises, you're in it for one reason, you're playing one particular role, and that's what it is, and it's great. But this allows me to go to places that I just have so much fun with."