Speculation over Jenna Coleman leaving Doctor Who has become so frenzied that it’s dwarfed even movie star Nick Frost showing up to play Santa Claus in the Christmas episode. Fans are desperate to know — and the stakes are high. If Jenna stays for another series, she’ll become the longest- serving companion in the modern era, overtaking Karen Gillan.
Coleman, of course, is way too experienced to end the speculation — when we meet, almost the first thing RT asks is if she’s coming back next season and she smiles very sweetly and says, regretfully, that she just can’t reveal that. “It’s still something that Steven [Moffat] and the team don’t want to talk about — they want people to watch the Christmas episode and not know what’s going to happen.”
Having said that, she doesn’t look or sound like an actor preparing to leave the show that made her a star. Over the course of two RT interviews recently Coleman hasn’t pined remorsefully for Clara or given answers about her role in the past tense.
Christmas, though, remains special. In 2012, she effectively launched Clara Oswald on the world with her mysterious appearance as the Victorian governess in The Snowmen — still her favourite episode ever: “It was a bit Mary Poppins, a bit Nancy from Oliver! all mixed into one. I love the magical elements of the show — I’m such a girl. Peter comes in to watch things being blown up and I like the magical staircase to the cloud.” Last year she played Lydia in Death Comes to Pemberley, as well as welcoming Peter Capaldi to the Tardis…
“I find it quite weird, being on TV at Christmas — I’m always with my family and so everyone sits round to watch you…” She gives a little shudder. “Last year it was four nights. I was like, ‘I’m so sorry, you don’t have to watch.’ But they want to, bless them.”
Doctor Who is on Christmas Day at 6.15pm on BBC1