The merry-go-round of Jenna Coleman’s rumoured departure (or not) was one of the major talking points during last year’s series of Doctor Who – and it looks like Peter Capaldi still can’t shake off questions about the future of the 12th Doctor’s companion.
“Will these be her last shows? I hope not,” said Capaldi.
“Jenna continues to deliver a beautifully nuanced, complex, and funny performance that marks her out as one of the best companions ever,” he told Entertainment Weekly.
Coleman had previously been rumoured to be leaving Doctor Who in either last year’s series eight finale or the Christmas special that followed, with the actress claiming that her refusal to confirm or deny whether she was staying was designed to keep things exciting.
“If you know I’m in the next series – or if you know I’m off – you’ll know how the story ends,” she told Radio Times last September.
“Because there’s a surprise we’ve got coming, it’s much better that nobody knows which way it’s going to go – so that’s where we’re trying to keep it at the moment.”
Head writer Steven Moffat later revealed that Coleman had indeed been planning to leave but had changed her mind.
“[The series eight finale] was her last episode,” he told Doctor Who Magazine. “And then she asked me if she could be in Christmas? So I said, ‘Okay, I’ll write you out in Christmas.’ She came to the read through and did the ‘write out’ version – and again changed her mind.”
“But the truth is I never wanted her to go. I didn’t really want Death in Heaven to be her last episode. And with Last Christmas, I’d already written the alternative version where she stayed, and I preferred that version. For Christmas Day it’s a bit nicer.”
“Frankly, I didn’t want to lose her. She’s an amazing actress, and she never stops working to make Clara better. I was very happy to go the extra mile to make sure we could keep her.”
Coleman will overtake Karen Gillan to become the longest-running Doctor Who companion since the 2005 revival towards the end of season nine. If she stays for another series she could have a shot at becoming the most prolific since the show began in 1963.
When the time comes, Who knows what her decision will be. For now, at least, it must be nice to know she’s wanted…
Doctor Who will return this autumn