Doctor Who: Jenna-Louise Coleman reveals all about Clara’s flirty relationship with the Time Lord

"Clara’s this new human that he isn’t used to, so he doesn’t quite know how to deal with her"

Jenna-Louise Coleman has been talking about the sparky relationship that her character Clara has with Matt Smith’s Doctor: 


 “They’re very flirty with each other,” she admits. “But at times it’s almost quite brotherly-sisterly. It’s kind of anything and everything. He’s like a parent, a child, a brother and a flirty kind of boyfriend type. Steven Moffat said that Clara finds the Doctor amazing and ridiculous in equal measure. I think that’s a good way to describe it.” 

Talking on the set of The Bells of Saint John, Coleman also reveals how the Doctor is going to react to having a new companion in his life following the departure of Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill as Amy and Rory Pond: 

“I’ve been watching the Ponds’ last five episodes as I’ve been filming. So it’s really interesting to see how the Doctor is now compared to how he was with Rory and Amy. He was very much the protector, almost like their granddad, and now he’s like a young boy again. 

“Clara’s this new human that he isn’t used to, so he doesn’t quite know how to deal with her. As actors it’s happening too – Matt will expect a line to come in a certain way and it can be a bit jarring when something happens that neither of us expects.” 

Saturday’s episode marks the actress’s third appearance on Doctor Who, having appeared in the 2012 Christmas special The Snowmen and earlier in seventh season opener Asylum of the Daleks. Not that this debut gave her a true experience of working opposite series star Smith: 

“My scenes were shot entirely separately,” she reveals. “On different days. I was staring at a green circle pretending it was Matt, which I was really nervous about. With a companion, it’s all about the chemistry and the rhythm and I was worried about it not flowing properly because obviously Matt wasn’t there. But they gave me Matt’s rushes to watch so I could kind of get an idea of what he was doing.” 

However, now that she’s fully ensconced on the series, Coleman appears to have mastered some Who survival skills. First up was learning how to travel in time and space: “We did a scene in the Tardis yesterday and we took off and landed. Matt was, like, falling about and he said, “Jenna, I’ve landed.” And then I realised that I’d never done that bit before. The landing acting! So he had to explain it because, you know, he’s been doing it for the last three years.” 

The other vital factor to be aware of is the reaction of fans. Is she prepared for how life changing this experience is going to be? “Erm, I don’t know if I’m in denial or what, but I think I’m going to get away with it because I’m short,” she laughs. “You can spot Matt a mile off and you could spot Karen Gillan a mile off as well.” 

But, surely, children are short and they watch the show? “Yeah, yeah, but Matt…I can literally spot Matt on the other side of the bay because he’s got this funny walk. But I don’t get recognised. And I’m honestly convinced that my height is the reason why!” 


Doctor Who returns to BBC1 on Saturday 30 March at 6.15pm