Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Five minutes with... Jenna-Louise Coleman

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Jenna-Louise Coleman is Clara, the latest companion for timetravelling Doctor Who (currently played by Matt Smith). She made a surprise appearance in the first episode of the seventh season Asylum Of The Daleks as Oswin Oswald before making her debut as Clara in the 2012 Christmas special The Snowmen. The Lancashireborn actress appeared in ITV's soap Emmerdale, as Jasmine Thomas, from 2005 to 2009, then left to go back to school in BBC1's Waterloo Road. Her other TV appearances include Room At The Top, Stephen Poliakoff 's Dancing On The Edge and Julian Fellowes' ITV series, Titanic.

So, far we've had two different versions of the Doctor's latest companion. Explain.

WE'VE had one introduction to Clara in the Christmas special, but not necessarily the same Clara we will see in this series. But the essence of all the different versions is the same - she's very brave and resourceful, a match for the Doctor and an explorer in her own right. She dreams of travelling and seeing the world and wants more than what's on offer.

So how have you found working with Matt Smith?

Just a joy, it really is. He's 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.

How was filming the series opener, The Bells of Saint John, in London and riding a motorbike driven by the notoriously clumsy Matt Smith?

Iloved shooting in London. It was so much fun. It was one of those moments where I thought "I'm filming Doctor Who, on a motorbike, riding across Westminster Bridge with the Houses of Parliament in the background." On screen, riding the motorbike looks very exciting, but both of us were being very silly as we were so tightly strapped in. I just clung on.

Tell us about episode two The Rings Of Akhateb which is set on an alien planet.

It's one of my favourite episodes. It's so weird and wonderful and something that only this show can offer. It shows Clara for the first time what life with the Doctor will be like. It's a complete fantasy and it's great for audiences as the story begins again and we get to explore all these strange new worlds together, as well as getting to know the Doctor again.

Then you face the classic Doctor Who monsters, the Ice Warriors in the third episode Cold War, which is set on a Russian submarine.

They were terrifying, I think this is the first time Clara is really, really scared. The whole set was really realistic and built to size, which wasn't too much of a problem for me. Before every take they would come and spray us, the whole make-up process was reversed as they would damp us down in the morning and rub my mascara off. We were soaking wet for two weeks.

And a word from the doctor...

MATT SMITH...

What's the new Tardis like?

Walking on to the new Tardiswas like the first day at school. I actually found it quite difficult as I had got so used to the rhythm of acting on the old one, where I used to slide about on the glass floor, but Michael Pickwoad has done a fabulous job. This one is more like a machine.

How is new companion Jenna-Louise Coleman?

She's done brilliantly well. She's kind, charming, thoroughly prepared and very brave as an actress.

And most importantly of all, we get on, which is vital on a show like this. I'm so proud of what she has achieved in the last year.

Tell us about the first episode The Bells Of Saint John.

The Doctor's search for Clara Oswald takes him to modern-day London, where wi-fi is everywhere.

But something dangerous is lurking in the signals, picking off minds and imprisoning them. I loved shooting in London. There's something so brilliant about having the locations there rather than just adding them in.

The second episode takes the Doctor and Clara on their first proper adventure in outer space.

Itwas very "Who-ey". We had between 50 to 60 prosthetic aliens, which is something that only really this show can offer, making it a very unique experience as an actor.

Aren't the Ice Warriors and Cybermen back?

It's good to pay homage to the classic series, especially for the fans. This series we have modernised some of the monsters for a whole new generation.

Doctor Who: BBC1, tonight, 6.15pm.

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Caption: Who's a joy: Jenna-Louise Coleman

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