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Flights of Fantasy

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Jenna Louise Coleman has made the galactic leap from period dramas to sci fi as Dr Who's new companion

Jenna Louise Coleman hasn't had time to draw breath. The 27 year old British actress is busy trying to save the planet. Coleman plays Doctor Who's Matt Smith new companion Clara Oswald and her time is taken up with travelling across time everywhere from a damaged Russian submarine to the planet Akhaten.

The world of Doctor Who is quite a shift for a star of period dramas for the past few years. The actress sprang to fame as Jasmine Thomas for four years on UK soapie Emmerdale.

She followed that success with roles in BBC drama Waterloo Road, a TV adaptation of the John Braine novel Room at the Top, and a feature role in Julian Fellowes four part mini series Titanic.

Doctor Who lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat picked Coleman for Clara after a set of secret auditions alongside Smith.

"Auditions start with you telling the actor about the character and sometimes they end with the actor telling you," Moffat says. "Thats what happened with Jenna."

Things were so hush hush that Coleman had to pretend she was auditioning for a program called Men on Waves.

"I was quite relaxed about the whole audition process," Coleman says. "I know Matt is a really cool actor so I thought I'd just go in and enjoy the experience. I would describe Clara as very resourceful. She is a match for the Doctor and she holds her own.

"She does her own thing. She doesn't follow. She harbours quite a lot of secrets. She is a dreamer and an explorer."

Coleman made an appearance in the first episode of the seventh season of Doctor Who, Asylum of the Daleks. Her debut as a regular came in the Christmas episode The Snowmen.

Now it is all systems go as Coleman accompanies Smith throughout the second half of season seven.

"There was a daunting aspect to stepping into a show that is so well loved but once you're in it there is no time for analysis.

"This is a unique show because characters and relationships aren't so much defined by dialogue as action. All the conversations are on the run.

"There is the technical aspect special effects, too. The first episode I did, I spent two days in a pod by myself talking to a piece of green fabric, which was meant to be Matt.

"In the past, I've worked on two or four part series where you have time to analyse the scripts and you know the beginning, middle and end.

"On this Doctor Who I don't know what to expect because we are shooting out of sequence. You are on your toes all the time."

So was she a big Doctor Who fan?

"I've always been aware of it the show but when I started filming I hadn't seen a great deal," Coleman admits.

"That has worked because Steve wanted me to go into it very fresh as though Clara is seeing everything for the first time."


SUN, 7.30, ABC1


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  • APA 6th ed.: Vickery, Colin (2013-04-21). Flights of Fantasy. The Sunday Times (Western Australia) p. 4.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Vickery, Colin. "Flights of Fantasy." The Sunday Times (Western Australia) [add city] 2013-04-21, 4. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Vickery, Colin. "Flights of Fantasy." The Sunday Times (Western Australia), edition, sec., 2013-04-21
  • Turabian: Vickery, Colin. "Flights of Fantasy." The Sunday Times (Western Australia), 2013-04-21, section, 4 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Flights of Fantasy | url= | work=The Sunday Times (Western Australia) | pages=4 | date=2013-04-21 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=19 April 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Flights of Fantasy | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=19 April 2024}}</ref>