Emmerdale, Doctor Who and now a new role as a young Queen Victoria… Jenna Coleman talks to Soaplife about her amazing career on the small screen.
Jenna Coleman hasn’t looked back since she quit her role as Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale in 2009. She’s currently on our screens as Clara Oswald in Doctor Who, and she’s landed the lead in a major ITV series about Queen Victoria. Jenna’s played the Time Lord’s witty companion since 2012 and, although she’s announced this series will be her last, she says she’s leaving on a high.
“I’m really excited about this series,” Jenna says. “It’s a lot more space-bound and it’s all about time travelling. One of the most wonderful things about the show is every episode feels very different. In fact, it feels like a whole new show in a way.”
Clara and the Doctor seem very united in this series…
“Yes, they’re strong together and they’re just enjoying travelling and doing and seeing as much as possible. The series is very adrenaline-fuelled and it’s full of reckless adventure, with both of them throwing themselves head-first into it. There’s definitely an ease between them, a shorthand, and she’s definitely becoming more and more like him. I think she wants that… There are a few stories in this series where you see them parting ways, where they’re covering different bases, then you suddenly see them coming back together. They’re very much a proper team.”
Do you think Clara’s moved on since the last series?
“In a way. She’s cutting her ties with Earth more and more. Since the death of her partner, Danny, her perspective on life has changed. She doesn’t fear her own mortality any more going into adventures and, when that happens, there’s a sense of freedom. It can also be quite dangerous, though.”
How do you and Peter [Capaldi, who plays the Doctor] get on outside of filming?
“We get on really, really well. I knew from our first lunch together that we’d get on – we both ordered omelette and chips! He’s so easy to talk to and we’re great mates, even though we’re such different ages [Jenna is 29 and Peter is 57]. We’re just totally good buddies and it’s really lovely!”
What’s been your favorite episode from this series and why?
“Episode 11 will be really unique, and also the Viking episode was so much fun to film. The scripts for episodes seven and eight are really strong, too. They feel like quite different Doctor Who episodes. They’re tense, provocative and clever, and they feel very relevant.”
You’ve done a few of your character’s stunts in this series, haven’t you?
“I’ve done a lot of hanging upside-down – one time on a cliff in Tenerife, for instance. That looks so easy to do on-screen, but it wasn’t at all! It was tricky because we could only do it in tiny spurts. I also had a scene where I was hanging outside of the TARDIS, so hanging off things seems to be one of my specialities in this series.”
How do you look back at your time working on Emmerdale?
“It was my first job and it was a really great ensemble of people. As a first gig, it was brilliant and I learnt a lot. It was also so fast-paced. In Emmerdale, we got through 12 episodes in two weeks, while we film one episode in two-and-a-half weeks on Doctor Who, so it really is very different. I will always be grateful to Emmerdale and it was a great experience, but I was ready to leave when I did.”
How excited are you about your new role ITV drama series Victoria?
“I’m delighted to be cast as the young Queen Victoria in this ambitious drama about her life. Victoria is a vivid, strong, inspirational and utterly fascinating woman. I can’t wait to tell her story!”
(Entertainment Weekly)Last week, Jenna Coleman announced that she is leaving Doctor Who, BBC America’s long-running time travel show on which she plays monster-battling schoolteacher Clara Oswald. So, why, exactly, is the British actress leaving behind Peter Capaldi’s Doctor — and the TARDIS — now? “Conversations have been going on for a while in terms of where is the best place, how can we tell the best story, time-wise,” Coleman tells EW. “We decided last year, it had only been one season with Peter, and there was a lot more to do. So that’s what it was, really. It was just about telling the best story we could. So, I’m hoping that’s what was done. I’m really pleased with it. I think it’s really cool. People will have to wait and see what happens!”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I believe you thought about leaving at the end of last season, and then maybe after the special Christmas episode. This time around, did Steven Moffat [Doctor Who executive producer] say, “Are you really really, really sure?”
JENNA COLEMAN:My contract was up at the end of last season, so that initiated conversations of, “Okay, when and how?” I don’t know how a story was leaked that I was leaving — it was because the contract was up. There were just ongoing discussions about how to end Clara’s story, as it were, in the TARDIS, and this is where it ended up.
Can you say anything specific about when we will see your character leave the show, assuming we haven’t already [at the end of last week’s episode Clara was seemingly exterminated by those dreaded, armor-clad mutants, the Daleks]?
I can’t. But I’m hoping it will be a surprise, and I’m hoping it will stay a surprise. Yeah. [Laughs]
What kind of response have you received since making the announcement you were leaving?
People tweet at you but it’s been really warm and lovely, in fact. I have to say, it’s kind of a relief because, having known for such a long time, it’s really nice to be able to say it.
What was it like shooting your last day on Doctor Who?
It did not feel real at all. I mean, it’s become more my home than my home actually is. It was just really weird. But we film out of sequence as well so, my last part with Peter, I couldn’t quite look at him because it wasn’t supposed to be a sad part. It’s hard to go into detail without telling you anything, but I was really overwhelmed. I recognize that it’s a special part of my life. The storytelling is so dynamic, and big, and whimsical, and magical. You feel like you’re in a fairy tale and it’s really hard to walk away from that. It’s a lot more than just a job — the friendships I have with the crew and Peter, it’s very hard to say goodbye to it.
I know you keep in contact with Matt Smith, who played the Doctor before Capaldi. Have you spoken with him about life after Who?
Yeah, I’ve spoken to Matt a lot. I speak to Matt all the time anyway. He’s been around and he had obviously been through the same things. What happens when you stop chasing monsters and traveling through time and space? I don’t know yet. I’ll have to wait and see
Although he’s in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. So I don’t know that he has stopped chasing monsters.
No. Maybe I never will.
Personally, I want to see a Doctor Who spin-off show with Clara and Michelle Gomez’s character, Missy.
Wow, that would be good, right? She is absolutely brilliant. I love Michelle. The problem is, I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not supposed to like her, because she’s just so funny, and you get so drawn in by her, and you’re like, “Hang on, you’re the bad guy!” To not [crack up] with Michelle is a real skill that I had to acquire otherwise we would never have got any shooting done.
When you look back, what will be your fondest memory of working on the show?
Just moments, I think. Moments with Matt and moments with Peter. I mean, literally, you’d laugh the whole way through. You laugh every single day. The production sent me this video of outtakes and things gone wrong, and I sent it to one of my friends, and she just replied, “Your job is ridiculous!” And it is! But it becomes so normal. You start living this other reality that becomes normal to you. I now can’t see Peter outside of work doing normal chores because it makes me laugh too much. I’m so used to seeing him with his screwdriver, running down corridors. Yeah, it’s unique.
Would you be happy to come back and guest on the show, as Billie Piper did for the 50th anniversary episode?
Yeah, I would always be happy if there was a good story. But I think we’ll have to see what happens. How many times have I said that during this interview. “We’ll have to see what happens! We’ll have to see what happens!”
(Source) One of the most high-profile small-screen acting gigs opened up last week with the announcement by Jenna Coleman that she is leaving the long-running time travel show Doctor Who, on which she played the semi-titular Time Lord’s adventuring companion, Clara Oswald. But the actress says she has no idea about the identity of her replacement – or replacements. “No, I know nothing, absolutely nothing,” Coleman told EW last weekend. “Once you’re out, you’re out!”
On the other hand, Coleman was able to provide an at least partial list of the items she, let us say, permanently borrowed from the Doctor Who set before her departure. “Toward my last couple of weeks, I had my eyes peeled,” she said. “So, yeah, I’ve taken my key – I still have a key to the TARDIS! I have something else which I’m going to reveal afterwards, perhaps, because I don’t think they know it’s missing yet. [Laughs] And I also took a clockwork squirrel.”
Well, everybody needs a clockwork squirrel. “Exactly!
Steven Moffat reveals that Clara was written out at the end of Death in Heaven, but the actress changed her mind and decided to stay…
Will she stay or will she go? That was the question that raged around Jenna Coleman last year, as fans and press alike speculated over whether she would leave her role as Clara in Doctor Who. Tabloid rumour originally had her leaving the show in last year’s Christmas special Last Christmas, before eventually flip-flopping to the right answer that she would be staying on for series 9. According to Steven Moffat himself, though, the truth is that Clara was originally going to be written out at the end of series 8 finale Death in Heaven.
“That was her last episode,” he tells Doctor Who Magazine. “And then she asked me if she could be in Christmas? So I said, ‘Okay, I’ll write you out in Christmas.’ She came to the read through and did the ‘write out’ version – and again changed her mind.”
“But the truth is I never wanted her to go. I didn’t really want Death in Heaven to be her last episode. And with Last Christmas, I’d already written the alternative version where she stayed, and I preferred that version. For Christmas Day it’s a bit nicer. Frankly, I didn’t want to lose her. She’s an amazing actress, and she never stops working to make Clara better. I was very happy to go the extra mile to make sure we could keep her.”
Coleman’s decision to stay on for the entirety of series 9 sets to make her the longest serving companion of the modern era. Explaining why she stayed at a post-screening Q&A last year, she said, “I couldn’t walk away with the story being unresolved, there’s so much more to do and I think [Clara and the Doctor] have finally just reached a point where they really understand each other.”
Elsewhere in Doctor Who Magazine’s huge ten-page interview with the showrunner, Moffat reflects in-depth on the triumphs and challenges of series 8, reveals what’s next for the Doctor in series 9 and laments on the toll that fame as TV’s most well-known and discussed writer can take on him.