Jenna-Louise Coleman has appeared on Doctor Who twice before, but she tells us that “This is a completely clean slate.”
“[Clara] is oblivious, she hasn’t even seen the Doctor until he shows up on her doorstep dressed as a monk for the first time, so that’s her first impression,” she explained. “The dynamic is so different, and there’s nothing the Doctor hates worse than an unsolved mystery and that’s what she is. So you really see it arcing over the next episodes.”
“Unless we kill her,” chimed in Steven Moffat. Coleman, Moffat and Matt Smith discussed the new companion at a preview screening of ‘The Bells of Saint John’ and talked about the changes that both the actor and the character bring to the show.
“I think it’s quite nice for the Doctor because I think, having got the grieving for the Ponds out of the way, it’s reignited his curiosity in the universe and given him his mojo back, for want of a better word,” Smith told us.
“I just have to say that I think she’s done, as you’ve seen on the screen, I think she’s absolutely brilliant and it’s been a joy to work with Jenna and I’m really proud of the work we’ve done. And I think it’s exciting for the character. It’s like he’s got a new lease, somehow.”
The two actors have a tremendous chemistry together and Coleman told us that the spark was there from the off.
“From the first audition I definitely kind of felt it. Walking away from the audition room, I kind of felt like I’d been knocked off my feet a bit, actually, like it was a bit hurricane, just a feeling of ‘This is what I’d really like to be doing day in, day out.’ Because every day really is so different and I really don’t know what he’s going to throw at me, which is great. So it’s kind of just keeping our spontaneity and then it’s keeping each other’s rhythms as well, it kind of they both feed into each other really.”
“I think that’s something that we got so immediately with Jenna,” agreed Smith. “With Steven’s writing there’s such a rhythm to it and I think you’re just immediately inside it, and we have fun, it’s such a fun show to make.
“But it is something where you’re cast, and it was the same with Karen, it’s like ‘Have chemistry!’ [Coleman has] done so brilliantly, the jumping on the train of it, there’s always a period of evolution with any character and that’s the fun bit.”
Doctor Who returns with ‘The Bells Of Saint John’ on 30 March 2013. You can read our spoiler-free preview of the episode here.