Jenna Coleman (Clara) discusses her role in the forthcoming Doctor Who Christmas special The Time of the Doctor, where she was when she discovered Peter Capaldi was the next Doctor, and her feelings about next series…
How did you find the read through?
It was very emotional. Just going through the process of saying goodbye was difficult. The script itself is very emotional, but also joyous. But saying those words and saying goodbye was never going to be easy.
Is there a sense from the start of the episode that we’re moving towards a regeneration?
It’s very much an adventure, but it goes off on a different track. People watching will know that it’s Matt’s last episode, but it doesn’t loom over from the start.
We were introduced to Clara as the impossible girl last year. Are we going to find out more about her family background?
Absolutely. I think there had to be a sense of mystery last year to make the plot work. What’s really interesting is that it does feel like we’re starting again and we get to see her home life as well as her life with the Doctor.
From a few pictures that have been released there are some of you cooking Christmas dinner. Have you ever done that in real life?
My mum does the Christmas cooking. It couldn’t be any other way.
Are you looking forward to filming next year with Peter?
It will be a different show next year. We have a bit of a gap before we start filming the new series, so I have time to get my head around it all. Me and Peter will get together before Christmas to start rehearsing and the scripts will start coming in. I think when I came in there was just a week off production when Arthur and Karen left, so that would have been a strange shift. This episode is very much about Matt, and the Eleventh Doctor and Clara and their last adventure together. I have no idea where we’re going to next series!
Where will you be watching the special this year? Will you be at home?
Yeah I think so. Last year the whole family got a cottage together where mum still did the Christmas cooking. We’ll definitely all be together.
What was your reaction when you heard the next Doctor was Peter Capaldi?
It was kind of that moment ‘of course, makes sense’. It’s funny as I don’t think he was one of the names that was originally being speculated about and it wasn’t until the week before that his name came up. He’s going to be so different to Matt and take the show in an interesting direction.
When were you told?
Matt and I were told together during the Royal visit to Roath Lock studios. We could tell something was going on and we managed to pin the producers down and get it out of them!
How hard was it to keep the secret?
I think I’ve learnt my lesson in that the best thing to do is not to tell anybody and then you don’t have your own paranoia that you’ve let something out.
What will you miss about working with Matt?
Everything! When you’re reading a scene with him he can turn anything on its head. He’s so inventive, clever and very funny. There’s just so much that I’ll miss about him.
Watch The Time of the Doctor
UK - 7.30pm, Christmas Day on BBC One
US - 9pm ET, Christmas Day on BBC America
Canada - 9pm ET, Christmas Day on Space
Australia - 7.30pm, Boxing Day on ABC1
See the trailer: