Fans already knew that we are entering a time of great change for the BBC’s long running sci-fi adventure Doctor Who. When season 8 premieres next Saturday, August 23, we will get our proper introduction to Peter Capaldi’s 12th incarnation of the venerable Time Lord, and the tone will also take on a much darker tone. But those aren’t the only changes on the way, the Doctor is going to need a new travelling companion, as his latest, Jenna-Louise Coleman, who plays Clara Oswald, has quit and will hit the bricks by the end of the year.
The 28-year-old actress has decided to hang up her travelling shoes after just 18 months on the job and, according to the Daily Mirror, she will make her exit after what is described as a “sensational Christmas storyline.” Her exit will open up a new space alongside Capaldi’s new version of the Doctor, so there will be ample time to speculate on who could fill the void.
The Mirror’s source tells them, “The conversations about Jenna’s exit have started, and a plan is in place which is being ironed out…By the time she leaves she will be one of the longest-standing companions ever. She has been absolutely brilliant in the role, but everyone agrees it is a part that should change after a period.”
They also point out that this decision was mutual in nature, and add that, “It’s important to keep the series moving and fast-paced, and the time is just starting to feel right and the feeling is that it could be a perfect Christmas storyline.”
There have been dozens of companions over the past 50 years of Doctor Who, dating all the way back to William Hartnell’s First Doctor. They’ve accompanied the two-hearted alien Lord on adventures through space and time, become his friends, and even died, providing some of the more emotional moments of the series. No matter the circumstances, one way or another, they always leave, and Clara is now set to become the latest in a long line to jump ship.
The Mirror’s source says, “By the time she leaves she will be one of the longest-standing companions ever. She has been absolutely brilliant in the role, but everyone agrees it is a part that should change after a period.”
There has been a great deal of fan speculation that there could be some romantic connection between Clara and Capaldi’s Doctor once he officially arrives on the scene this season. Showrunner Steven Moffatt is quick to dismiss these rumors, though he does admit the nature of their relationship is about to fundamentally change.
In the teasers, clips, and trailers we’ve seen, you witness a strain in their interactions, which doesn’t bode well for a continuing relationship. She doesn’t seem entirely on board with this new, grim stance. Capaldi’s Doctor is a very different beast than Matt Smith’s previous incarnation, and that is going to impact how he interacts with his companions.
Moffatt adds, “From a Doctor she [Clara] could sort-of control because he had a crush on her, she’s landed with a Doctor who barely registers that she’s a girl…They’re great friends and all that but she has to be his human interface with everybody else.” That is sure to put an undue amount of pressure on anyone.
So far the BBC has not commented on the matter, but it looks like this is the beginning of the end for Clara’s adventures with the Doctor.