Christian Grey, of 50 Shades of Grey, as imagined in a Lancaster University e-fit
Christian Grey, of 50 Shades of Grey, as imagined in a Lancaster University e-fit UCLan

Academics at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have published the first image of the mysterious 50 Shades of Grey character. They have put together an image of Christian Grey who is the dark and mysterious character at the centre of E L James' 50 Shades of Grey novels.

Dr Faye Skelton, a lecturer in UCLan's School of Psychology, put together an "e-fit" which is a computer-generated facial composite based on description from a dozen women of the mental image they have of Christian Grey.

The BBC reported that the erotic novel, which recently became the fastest adult paperback novel to sell one million print copies, tells the story of the steamy relationship between billionaire businessman Christian Grey and "unworldly, innocent" literature student, Anastasia Steele.

Most of the descriptions for the image drew comparisons with famous film stars, which may help Hollywood moguls when the inevitable film remake comes to casting. The image was created using the advanced EVOFit system, a software system that helps victims and witnesses of crime generate an image of a criminal's face.

The pioneering system requires witnesses and victims to repeatedly select from screens of complete faces, with "breeding", to "evolve" a composite of the criminal's face. It is currently used in crime investigations throughout the world because of the high identification rate of its composites.

"This was just a bit of fun, but it does show the quality of image we can now generate. While we didn't use it in this case, UCLan's EVOFit system is even more advanced and is already used by police forces across the world thanks to its high success rate," Dr Skelton stated.

"While we don't want to intrude on anyone's fantasies, based on a small sample of women, this is the image of Christian Grey they have in their heads when reading the novels. Personally, I think he's quite handsome - although everyone's interpretation will be different," she added.

According to UCLan's report, the Christian Grey composite was originally put together for the radio station Mix96 based on feedback from listeners.