July 11, 2024   David   Articles, News, Press Archive, The Jetty
Lancashire TV and film star Jenna Coleman has opened up about her upcoming project and some of her most famous roles from years gone by.

38-year-old Jenna from Blackpool is perhaps best known for her roles as Clara Oswald in Doctor, Queen Victoria in Victoria, and a serial killer’s loyal follower in The Serpent.

However her latest role is as Detective Ember Manning in the upcoming BBC drama The Jetty, and in an exclusive interview with the Financial Times, the former Arnold School head girl admitted she had some trouble with one of the pivotal scenes required of a police officer – that is arresting someone!

Jenna told Financial Times: “I am terrible at it. It’s one of those scenes where I instantly feel like a five-year-old and become really aware of my body.”

When asked why she finds it so awkward, Jenna explained: “Because you’ve seen it so much on TV. It’s like: ‘Oh, you’re doing that thing.’ So then you try not to do the scene like you’ve seen it. On this show, I remember thinking: ‘Whatever you do, don’t put your hands in your pockets,’ because that is the [classic] detective stance. But then I thought: ‘Why am I adopting these strange positions to avoid falling into the trap of the formulaic TV detective?’ As an actor, you have to know [the genre] you’re in and embrace it.”

Jenna’s slight unease surrounding playing a detective was apparent before filming even began. The expectant mother told the Financial Times she was “a reluctant detective” because “I’ve been offered so many [detectives] where you end up being the vehicle for the story, as opposed to a real character.”

Explaining why she did take on the Jetty role in the end, Jenna said: “I could see Ember as fully formed. It felt like the characters were living and breathing.”

In particular, Jenna told the Financial Times that the story is as much about Embers “personal awakening” as it is a whodunnit.

Ember is a young widow trying to reopen a cold case relating to a missing young girl but she becomes distracted by a local teenager who is pregnant by a man in his twenties, as she herself was years prior, which makes her re-evaluate her relationship with her late husband.

Jenna said: “Ember is a stunted adult because she gave up her childhood to become a mother. And then there’s this period of reframing, which is related to her own unresolved trauma. I don’t think the writer Cat [Jones] will mind me saying that part of the story was born from her own experiences as a teenager when she and her friends were hanging around with older guys. Although nothing untoward happened, it wasn’t until she got older and looked back that she wondered: ‘Was that OK?’

“And what’s interesting and uncomfortable,is that there isn’t necessarily a clear answer. You think you’re old at that age. But looking back at yourself, you see yourself as a child.”

Did Jenna say anything about any of her other roles?

Recalling her very first role – as Emmerdale’s Jasmine Thomas- Jenna told the Financial Times that it felt “totally bizarre” to suddenly be on the TV screen in millions of homes.

She got the part aged just 19, and had to move to Leeds to film the show, and Jenna remembers she would often walk around nervously with her head down to avoid being recognised.

Jenna said: “My mum would ask me: ‘Why are you slumping so much?’ It’s funny because you have this recognition and you’re thinking: ‘But this is my first job. I’m still trying to be an actor. I don’t know how to do this yet.’”