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On Christmas Day 2013 Matt Smith made his emotional farewell from his role as the Doctor in BBC’s long-running science fiction series Doctor Who. Taking on the Eleventh incarnation of the Doctor, although this chronology would become complicated in recent years, Smith and show runner Steven Moffat reinvented the show following the departure of their predecessors, Russell T. Davies and David Tennant, respectively. With Smith’s original companions Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill taking stepped down midway through the seventh series, Blackpool-born Jenna Coleman was cast as ‘impossible girl’ Clara Oswald.
Making her first appearance on 1 September 2012 in Asylum of the Daleks, Coleman was initially killed off at the end of the episode but Moffat ultimately brought her back for the next Christmas episode The Snowmen, in which a new incarnation of her character fell victim to the Great Intelligence in Victorian England. During her time on the show Coleman has performed alongside such renowned actors as John Hurt, Richard E. Grant and David Warner, while facing an array of iconic Doctor Who enemies old and new, from from Ice Warriors and Cybermen to Weeping Angels and the Silence.
Following the departure of Smith as the Doctor, Moffat made the unexpected decision of casting an older and more intense performer in the role with Peter Capaldi, the star of the acclaimed comedy The Thick of It. ‘I always thought Matt was so young-looking but had this older, wiser quality about him, whereas Peter is almost the opposite,’ Coleman recently told the Independent. ‘Somehow he has this energy that is younger. Visually, obviously, it is very different.’ Smith was very open about his friendship with Coleman when he left the role last year, admitting to Radio 1 that, ‘I’ll miss Jenna, she is amazing. A great friend and a wonderful, hard-working, brilliant actress and I’ll miss hanging around with her.’
Over the last three years the show has undergone a radical transformation, with Gillan and Darvill leaving in 2012. Smith would remain with the show for the remainder of the series, while also starring in the fiftieth anniversary and Christmas specials, while Capaldi is set to make his debut on the show next Saturday with the first episode of series 8, Deep Breath. But now the Mirror report that an unnamed and unconfirmed source has revealed Coleman will leave the show following this year’s Christmas special. ‘The conversations about Jenna’s exit have started, and a plan is in place which is being ironed out,’ the tabloid claims their source has revealed.‘By the time she leaves she will be one of the longest-standing companions ever. She has been absolutely brilliant in the role, but everyone agrees it is a part that should change after a period.’ The news article then added, ‘It was very much a mutual decision…It’s important to keep the series moving and fast-paced, and the time is just starting to feel right and the feeling is that it could be a perfect Christmas storyline.’ At present there has been no official statement or an affiliate of the show to confirm of deny the rumour that the Mirror has published.
While Coleman admitted last Christmas ‘It’s been very liberating’ to be away from Doctor Who for her role in another BBC production, Death Comes to Pemberley, the arrival of a new Doctor will allow the character of Clara to escape the ‘impossible girl’ story arc and explore her complicated relationship with the new incarnation of the Doctor, whom she feels she no longer knows following his regeneration from Smith to Capaldi. Deep Breath‘s feature-length premiere on Saturday 23 August will be screened both on BBC and at selected cinemas.