Freema Agyeman is an English actress best known for her role as Martha Jones, former companion of the Tenth Doctor in the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who, and its related spin-off Torchwood.
Agyeman grew up on the Woodberry Down council estate in the London Borough of Hackney. Her mother, Azar, is Iranian and her father, Osei, is Ghanaian. They divorced when she was a child.
She has a younger brother, Dominic, and an older sister, Leila.
She attended Our Lady's Convent, a Catholic school in Stamford Hill and the Anna Scher Theatre School in Islington. She studied performing arts and drama at Middlesex University, graduating in 2000.
The tattoo she has on her upper forearm is symbolic of her ancestry, containing an Iranian word 'baha', meaning 'free', under an image of a butterfly.
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.
Before securing the part of Martha Jones, Agyeman's most famous television role was playing the character of 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 2005, she played the character Mary Ogden in an episode of Silent Witness. She starred as the character Nana in the independent film Rulers and Dealers, written and directed by Stephen Lloyd Jackson.
Agyeman auditioned for three roles in the 2006 season of Doctor Who (Season 2). On 24 June 2005, she auditioned for the part of Sally Jacobs in The Christmas Invasion, but was ultimately unsuccessful, losing out to Anita Briem, who the production team felt worked better as an "ice cool blonde".
She 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, but Freema 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.
The production team were impressed by the versatility shown by Agyeman across her three auditions and called her back as a serious candidate for the new companion. She attended another audition (under the guise of Torchwood) and the production team remained impressed.
The next step was to take a screen-test with the 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.
She was ultimately successful and received notice of her success in February 2006. Following months of speculation on who would replace Billie Piper, Freema was confirmed to the press as new companion Martha Jones on 5 July 2006.
Agyeman began filming for the third season in August 2006 and finished in March 2007. She made her screen debut as Martha Jones on 31 March 2007 in the episode "Smith and Jones". Martha's physical similarity to Adeola Oshodi was explained as Martha being Adeola's cousin.
Agyeman continued to portray the character Martha Jones throughout every episode of the 2007 season.
Despite her character's departure from the TARDIS in the 2007 season finale "Last of the Time Lords", Agyeman returned as Martha in Season 4 for five episodes, which consisted of "The Sontaran Stratagem", "The Poison Sky", "The Doctor's Daughter", "The Stolen Earth" and "Journey's End".
She guest-presented Blue Peter on 24 June 2008 to promote the Doctor Who finale.
Following Martha's departure with Captain Jack Harkness at the end of the Season 4 finalé it is unsure what her future in the Doctor Who Universe will hold. However, Freema has said in various interviews that she would like to continue playing Martha Jones.
She has appeared in three episodes of Season 2 of Torchwood, appearing in "Reset", "Dead Man Walking" and "A Day in the Death", between Doctor Who seasons three and four.
Agyeman has read abridged audio book adaptations of three of the Doctor Who New Series Adventures novels, The Last Dodo, Wetworld, and The Pirate Loop.
Agyeman often appears on The Bedtime Hour on CBeebies reading a story shortly before 7pm. She narrated BBC Three's hospital documentary series Bizarre ER which ran from 14 February 2008 to 3 April 2008. She hosted a Doctor Who-themed portion of the BBC Proms on 27 July.
She appeared as Tattycoram in the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit alongside her fellow Torchwood stars Eve Myles and Ruth Jones.
Agyeman starred in the BBC 1 remake of the cult TV series Survivors, broadcast mid-autumn 2008. She played the character of Jenny Collins, a bright and lively young teacher in a primary school who must face choices beyond anything she could have imagined.
She also starred as the main court prosecutor in Law and Order: UK.
In June 2007, Agyeman was named "Best Newcomer" at the 2007 "Glamour Women of the Year Awards".
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.
The Observer had an interview with Agyeman in December 2007 and named her as a "face of 2007".
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".
In 2007, she was one of the top four nominations for best actress in the National Television Awards.
In 2013 she began a starring role as Larissa Loughton, the Style Editor at Interview magazine who becomes Carrie's new cool older friend and introduces her to the fabulous world of fashion and most importantly, New York City, in the teen drama television series The Carrie Diaries.