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 favourite 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!”
Doctor Who, BBC1