Jenna-Louise Coleman: Doctor Who Christmas special won’t solve Oswin Oswald mystery

Are Clara and the Asylum of the Daleks character one and the same? Is Clara even human? The new companion talks the "soft mystery" of series seven


New Doctor Who companion Jenna-Louise Coleman had us all befuddled when she popped up in the series seven opener, Asylum of the Daleks, five episodes ahead of schedule. Her tragi-comic turn as Oswin Oswald – a brilliant human-turned-Dalek who was seemingly blown up at the end of the episode – had us all scratching our heads as to how she will appear as Matt Smith’s new travelling partner Clara in this year’s Christmas special.


But if you were hoping for a string of answers to all your burning questions this festive season, Jenna-Louise Coleman was recently asked whether the seemingly impossible conundrum would be solved on Christmas Day – and her answer wasn’t too promising…

“Uh… mmm… no. We’re going to have what has been referred to as a ‘soft mystery’. For me, filming, I’ve been totally oblivious to Oswin and the Asylum of the Daleks. I really have had to erase it from my memory. Christmas is its own episode.”

The actress went on to reveal that Moffat’s decision to have her play Oswin came rather late in the day…

“That was never the initial plan either, to have me be Oswin. That was part of a genius plan that Steven came up with halfway through the audition process. That was already written but not written for what was to be the new companion,” she told Entertainment Weekly.   

“I was auditioning for the companion and then I got all these sides and I was like, ‘Who’s Oswin? They clearly don’t know what they want, they obviously don’t know what they’re looking for. They just want people to show them different things and see.’ This is what I assumed when I was auditioning, not realising that it’s basically Steven’s mad genius again.”

Coleman then added to the mystery when she refused to divulge whether her character is human or not. “Because of the way it started with Oswin, it’s really difficult to say much: where she’s from, what period she’s from, what planet she’s from, even.”

But she did reveal the messages of support she’d been given by outgoing companion Karen Gillan who played her predecessor, Amy Pond: “She texted me. I was pacing around, trying to figure out a scene and I checked my phone and I just had a message from her saying kind of ‘Good luck’ and ‘You’re going to knock it out of the park’. 

“It was strange to watch their goodbye as I was doing the beginning – and interesting to see where it left the Doctor as well. There’s no way to consider it other than something totally different. You fill somebody else’s shoes by trying to do the same thing – and I don’t think that’s a healthy way to look at it.

“It’s a whole new story, it’s a whole new character. It changes the Doctor and you’ve got to go on that journey and also go on your own journey with it, as well.”

And finally, for those (scores of) fans eagerly anticipating the Christmas special… “I feel like I’ve been in Christmas for about six months. There are some absolutely stunning, beautiful, very magical, magical, magical moments in it that Steven’s written. And it’s very icy and snowy.”


Watch a trailer for the 2012 Doctor Who Christmas special below: