A lot of endings are also beginnings, and in the case of DOCTOR WHO, now entering the seventh season of the current run (and 33rd overall), change is inevitable. So it is with a heavy heart — but also hope — that I say farewell to Karen Gillan and welcome the newest companion to the TARDIS: Jenna-Louise Coleman.
Coleman, 25, will start filming in May, and her character — whose name is being kept under wraps along with all other details about her — will debut in the sixth episode, which, because of the new fall premiere, will serve as the Christmas special for 2012.
Here’s Coleman being interviewed by BBC news:
[SPOILER WARNING!] Show-runner Steven Moffat introduced Coleman yesterday and confirmed that Amy (Gillen) and Rory Pond (Arthur Darvill) will last be seen in the fifth episode of series seven, in a story involving the Weeping Angels. “Amy and Rory will leave in a final encounter with the Weeping Angels in episode five. Not everyone gets out alive and I mean it this time,” Moffat warned. [END OF SPOILER]
I am completely unfamiliar with Coleman, so it’s difficult to have an opinion about her right away. She is very pretty — but in a more conventional sense than Gillan or previous companion actresses Catherine Tate, Freema Agyeman or Billie Piper. Which is not necessarily a bad thing at all. In the video clip she seems a bit uncomfortable, but that’s easy to put down to nerves, and she photographs well.
Coleman is probably best known in the UK for playing teen lesbian Jasmine Thomas on the long-running soap opera Emmerdale. She also appeared on the drama Waterloo Road, as schoolgirl Lindsay James. Perhaps the only way American audiences might recognize Coleman is from her appearance in last summer’s Captain America: The First Avenger in the tiny role of Connie. However, we Yanks will get to see her in action next month, when ABC broadcasts the miniseries TITANIC — written by DOWNTON ABBEY creator Julian Fellowes — on April 14 and 15. Coleman will be playing Annie Desmond.
Apparently, Coleman made a huge impression on Moffat as soon as she auditioned beside 11th Doctor Matt Smith: ”It always seems impossible when you start casting these parts,” he said in a statement, “but when we saw Matt and Jenna together, we knew we had our girl. She’s funny and clever and exactly mad enough to step on board the TARDIS.”
You will recall that Moffat felt the same way about Smith and Gillen as soon as they started auditioning, so this is a good sign. At a press conference, however, Moffat refused to do anything more than tease the role Coleman will play:
”It’s not often the Doctor meets someone who can talk even faster than he does, but it’s about to happen. Jenna is going to lead him his merriest dance yet. And that’s all you’re getting for now. Who she’s playing, how the Doctor meets her, and even where he finds her are all part of one of the biggest mysteries the Time Lord ever encounters. Even by the Doctor’s standards, this isn’t your usual boy meets girl.”
For her part, Coleman told the BBC:
“Matt Smith did my audition with me. It was fun and I felt like we were in it together. I want to get started already! I’m a huge fan of the show. I’m beyond excited, I can’t wait to get cracking; working alongside Matt I know is going to be enormous fun and a huge adventure.”
Just how big an adventure remains to be seen. Series seven will run over from 2012 to 2013, thanks to its fall kickoff, with six episodes airing this year, and eight next year, for the usual total of 14.
Oh, and he hasn’t indicated exactly when, but Moffat assured fans that the Daleks will return in series seven!