According to the Doctor in last week’s Nightmare in Silver, she’s “the impossible girl. A mystery wrapped in an enigma, squeezed into a skirt that's just a little bit too tight.” But beyond that, just who is Jenna-Louise Coleman's Clara Oswin Oswald? Since her first wise-cracking, bi-sexual pepper-pot appearance – and death – in Asylum of the Daleks, the new companion’s habit of popping up at different points in time, and dying, has proved to be just as perplexing as the identity of River Song before her.
Answers are in sight, however. Series seven finale The Name of the Doctor not only promises to reveal the Time Lord’s greatest secret, but also the true identity of Clara. And whilst an error might have already leaked her identity ahead of time, theories – of which the internet is particularly full – are far more fun than spoilers. Here, we’ve gathered together five of the most popular. Allons-y, speculation!
She’s River Song
The latest issue of Doctor Who Magazine reveals something quite interesting about The Name of the Doctor: it features a post-library version of River Song. That is: a version of River Song that lives after she famously died but had her consciousness uploaded to a computer. What that means at the moment is unclear but some fans have speculated that – despite River burning up all her regenerations – it could pave the way for her mind being uploaded into some sort of Clara-shaped flesh avatar. Unlikely, though.
She’s something yet to happen – Bad Wolf style
Is Clara the new Bad Wolf, or is she something new? In Douglas Adams’ classic Tom Baker story, City of Death, the story’s villain, Scaroth, is splintered through different periods of time – just, it would seem, like Clara – by an explosion. Now of course the only explosion we know of that would fit the bill here is when the Tardis mysteriously blew up in series five – an explanation, perhaps, of why the machine doesn’t appear to like her. Could she have been on board? Or, when on the fields of Trenzalore, does something else happen to split her? Given that so far the Doctor has stressed that she is a perfectly ordinary human girl, it makes sense that the mystery isn’t about what she is, but what she becomes.
She’s the Doctor (or Doctor Who itself)
This is an interesting one. Eagle-eyed fans have noticed striking similarities between Clara’s lives and that of the actual show. Victorian Clara, for instance, is born on November 23, the date that the first episode of Doctor Who was broadcast; the modern day Clara is born in 1989, the year Doctor Who’s classic run ends (Victorian Clara is also the same age as the classic series, 26, when she dies); and her mother dies March 2005: the month Doctor Who is brought back. Is Clara the next Doctor? Or is she an embodiment of the show itself? Probably not, no.
She’s the Doctor’s daughter or granddaughter
Given all of the smooching we’ve seen so far, this is a bit of a weird one. But still, there are fans who insist Clara could be Jenny, the daughter we were introduced to in series four before she just sort of... buggered off (and who was played by the daughter of fifth Doctor Peter Davison, just to add another level of fake-incestuousness to the mix). Just as dubious as that, however, is Susan: the granddaughter William Hartnell’s Doctor left behind on a Dalek-ravaged version of Earth. The rationale for both theories, however, doesn't seem to be based on much beyond a lack of imagination. Also: imagine parents explaining that to kids.
She’s a trap
Since A Good Man Goes To War, we’ve been told that the fields of Trenzalore is the one place that the Doctor must never go. So, is Clara actually leading him there? Is she the bait that – due to the Time Lord’s rather famous curiosity – he just can’t resist taking? And if that’s true, then who, exactly, is she working for? Or maybe she doesn’t even know. After all, the Silence do have a habit of being quite unmemorable...