Doctor Who Blog

New Girl In Town

After months of twitter-teasing, yesterday Steven Mofatt announced that Jenna-Louise Coleman will be the newest companion to step aboard the TARDIS. Her debut is slated for the 2012 Christmas episode.  According to Moffat, Coleman, who has had roles in Emmerdale, Waterloo Road and Captain America, had an amazing audition and “was the only person he’d met who could go faster than Smith.”  Knowing Moffat’s attention to detail and integrated story-telling, I have no doubt that Coleman is up for the job and her story will compelling, however I can’t help feeling this casting was a missed opportunity. 

With every cast change Doctor Who has an opportunity to reinvent itself, to take the story in a new and interesting direction.  By casting yet another conventionally pretty, young girl it feels like we’re just treading water.  And I don’t think I’m the only one.  While at the Gallifrey One convention this year I sat on a panel entitled “Building the Perfect Companion”.  During the course of that panel we did an informal straw poll and, by process of elimination, the large room all agreed that their preferred companion would be something completely different and, surprisingly, skewed dramatically toward an older, male companion. In fact, the consensus was they’d like to seen anything BUT a conventionally pretty, young girl.  And please, for the love of all that’s holy, please no more mooning over the Doctor. 

Now, let’s be honest, you and I and the 100+ people in that panel audience, also known as “the devoted brethren”, are going to watch the show regardless of who is driving or who is in the jump seat.  This casting wasn’t for “us” it was for the wider, global audience and the safest bet in any market is a conventionally pretty, young girl.  Even with those parameters in place they missed the opportunity to expand that definition by bringing in a woman of color.  (Personally, I was hoping for a magical TARDIS re-do and the return of the fantastic Amara Karan from “The God Complex”.)

Of course there are still more questions than answers at this point.  Other than her debut we know absolutely nothing about Coleman’s character.  And that’s okay.  Isn’t the best part about these announcements the months of speculation on who, what, where, when and how?  Even if Moffat is playing it safe with the casting there are still plenty of risks that can be taken with storytelling.  Will she be an alien? A women from the past?  The future?  As long as her origin story falls away from the standard “woman from present-day United Kingdom” I think things will be pretty cool.  And I wish Jenna-Louise Coleman all the best in this trip of a lifetime. 

So, what are you thoughts on the new companion? 



It’s funny, I was talking with someone last night and I pointed out that Jenna is basically the same age as every other actress who played the ingénue companion in the 1960s. Doctor Who is really going back to its roots in the 50th anniversary year!

Posted by Graeme  on  03/22  at  02:31 PM

Someone will always find something to gripe about whenever a new companion (or Doctor) had been cast. Had a man been cast you’d have a faction of fandom revving up the old “gay agenda” truck again. If an older person had been cast they’d have been criticized for alienating the young fanbase. If they’d cast another black actress there would have been complaints over them not casting someone of Asian persuasion (especially with the UK’s present ethnic make-up).

There’s no “playing it safe” happening here. Moffat is on record as saying actors darn near twice Matt Smith’s age were considered. I’m sure Paterson Joseph (whoever he is outside of Parting of the Ways) - who appears to be the only black actor anyone wants to see play the Doctor (hey, Adrian Lester of Hustle is free now and he’s far better Doctor material) - was probably considered. He went with the best choice. If the media line that hundreds of actors were chosen, Moffat probably had his pick of a variety of ages and ethnicities and went with the one who worked best with Smith and who presumably best fit the storyline and character. (Let’s say, just for giggles, that JLC is playing Ace; casting a 55-year-old man wouldn’t make sense, now would it.)

I’m seeing other mixed reactions to her casting. I just hope everyone remembers how silly the critics looked after predicting doom and gloom when Catherine Tate was cast, not to mention Karen Gillan. Everyone expected Arthur Darvill to be Adric 2.0. We now know everything worked out fine. I fully expect this time next year JLC will be hitting the “favorite companion ever” lists.

Posted by Alex  on  03/22  at  06:49 PM

I do hope indeed that she’s not a “woman from present-day United Kingdom”, although I won’t be accepting that she be an extraterrestrial.

On other Who-related stuff, I have this idea that I may hope be tackled either in the upcoming series or in the future, as I haven’t seen this done before or not as much, as I remember. That being a “follow-up” to previous episodes of either Classic Who or New Who, the ramifications or aftermath of events in past eps. down the years or centuries, and the descendants of characters in the far future (e.g. those of Martha and Mickey, Donna, etc)

Anyways, looking forward to a good (and better) series of Doctor Who.

Posted by Idrian  on  03/23  at  04:14 AM

I am ok with this. Mostly agree with comments by Deborah. If she’s Human then make her from the past or future, not present day. And definately lets not have her “Love” The Doctor. Anyways, to be quite honest, regardless of what her character turns out to be I am ready for a change. I have had enough of Amy and Rory….well mostly Amy.

Posted by Doug Grandy  on  03/23  at  12:52 PM

Hmmm, Christmas episode debut. A friend and I were discussing around about Christmas how Moffat’s Christmas episodes have taken on the loose basis of beloved stories - A Christmas Carol, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Call me silly, but what are the chances that there’s going to be another episode loosely based on another story with a Christmas theme? I’m not saying that Jenna-Louise Colman’s character is going to be tied in with whatever Moffatt has planned for the Christmas episode but we’re clearly not going to be given a whole lot of information surrounding her character.

It’d be interesting to see what information gets revealed about the character in the coming months and what we can deduce before we actually see the character on screen.

Posted by Rachel  on  03/23  at  01:10 PM

Hmm, the mysterious way in website teased that “the Doctor meets a new friend” (you can meet a new person but not a new friend) and now with Steven Moffet’s introduction of JLC as this won’t be the typical boy meets girl intro, can’t help but make me entertain the possibility that Jenna will somehow be the re-imagining of Astrid Peth from a few years back, whose essence was captured by the Tardis.  Any thoughts?

Posted by Josh  on  03/23  at  03:24 PM

Totally with Doug on this one: had ENOUGH of Amy. 2.5 seasons of her passivity! Really? If it hadn’t been for Rory who cross-examines and challenges the Doctor (ala Rose “I told you: LEAVE HER ALONE. She’s not fightin’ your battles!” or Martha “I’ll DO what I want!” or Donna “Doctor TURN THIS MACHINE BACK RIGHT NOW!!!!!”) I would have exiled myself back to the so-called ‘wilderness years’—waiting for the day when Doctor Who came back to the screens.  Yes, Rory made the Moffat-era shows MUCH more watchable. He keeps the Doctor in check and he wears his heart on his sleeve. And he can act circles around Matt and Karen.

That said, I hope the new companion is not passive and that she scintillates. Further, I do hope she’s from the past or future or another country besides UK or maybe even a human colony in space…bringing a sharp relief to the advenures the way Leela did with Tom Baker (“Why are you making fire in your mouth?” - The Talons of Weng-Chiang).


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After months of twitter-teasing, yesterday Steven Mofatt announced that Jenna-Louise Coleman will be the newest companion to step aboard the TARDIS. Her debut is slated for the 2012 Christmas episode.  According to Moffat, Coleman, who has had roles in Emmerdale, Waterloo Road and Captain America, had an amazing audition and “was the only person he’d met who could go faster than Smith.”  Knowing Moffat’s attention to detail and integrated story-telling, I have no doubt that Coleman is up for the job and her story will compelling, however I can’t help feeling this casting was a missed opportunity.

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