‘Clara finds the Doctor amazing and ridiculous’

Doctor Who star Jenna-Louise Coleman reveals to What’s On TV what happens to Clara when the Doctor takes her into outer space for the first time to an amazing alien sun. Jenna-Louise also tells us how she’s finding things as the Doctor’s latest feisty companion…

In the next Doctor Who episode, The Rings Of Akhaten, the pair take the TARDIS to a distant sun, which has rocky rings around it, with aliens worshipping something sinister in a pyramid. Sounds pretty amazing doesn’t it?
“The Rings of Akhaten is one of my favourite episodes, because it’s so weird and wonderful and something that only this show can offer. It shows Clara what life with the Doctor can be like and it’s a complete fantasy for her. It’s also great for audiences as they get to explore this strange new place as Clara sees it.”

So, just how alien is everything?
“It’s Clara’s first visit outside of Earth, and has as many aliens as we’ve ever seen in one place – in all shapes, sizes and odd faces. In fact, they visit an amphitheatre of aliens. We’ve got so many pictures of that day, sitting among all these aliens with prosthetic heads. Doing a little swaying…Yeah, swaying away…”

How would you say the relationship is developing between the Doctor and Clara?
“There’s such an interesting dynamic between the Doctor and Clara. They’re almost like brother and sister, but they’re also very flirty with each other. We’re kind of saying that’s what the relationship is, he can be anything – like a granddad, a parent, a child, a brother, a flirty kind of boyfriend type all rolled into one. Each episode you discover more and more about her. She also finds him amazing and ridiculous in equal measures.”

There must be a lot of ‘green screen’ acting for the special effects. How did you find that?
“Of course I had a master class for the first few days, but I’m in really safe hands with Matt, who’s done so much of it before. I respond to where he’s pitching things. It’s definitely a skill, but it’s amazing how quickly you pick it up.”

How have you found working alongside Matt Smith?
“Just a joy, it really is. He is the most perfect leading man and sets such a lovely tone on set, making the atmosphere so wonderful. There’s not
much more you could ask for in your co-star. Matt and I were saying to each other we’re really glad that we have a really good working relationship. Now we’ve got a couple of episodes under our belts, we’re finding our dynamic and our flow. It’s about finding a rhythm, especially with Steven Moffat’s wonderful scripts.”

Are you anything like Clara?
“I think more and more so. I think Steven Moffat tends to write for you, almost kind of tailors the part for you. I keep noticing more and more things, little sayings and things. At the start – because I’m northern – a few northern phrases came out.”

The Doctor Who episode The Rings of Akhaten is on BBC1, Saturday, April 6 at 6.15pm

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