|Doctor Who character|
|First appearance||"Asylum of the Daleks"|
|Portrayed by||Jenna Coleman|
|Other portrayals||Sophie Downham|
Clara Oswald is a fictional character portrayed by Jenna Coleman in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. First appearing in the show's seventh series, Clara is introduced as a companion of the eleventh incarnation of the alien time traveller known as the Doctor (portrayed by Matt Smith).
Clara is presented to the audience during the first half of the seventh series as three distinct though similarly named people living in different eras of time. The first two incarnations each die during the episode in which they appear. The third incarnation becomes the Doctor's full-time companion, travelling with him for the remainder of the series as he tries to uncover the mystery of her multiple lives.
Oswin Oswald is introduced in the first episode of the seventh series, "Asylum of the Daleks". She is the sole survivor of the Starship Alaska, which crashed on the Asylum, a prison planet for insane Daleks. After the Doctor (Smith) lands on the planet, it is discovered that she had been converted into a Dalek, and has coped by retreating into a fantasy of her own survival. Oswin assists the Doctor and his travelling companions in escaping the planet unharmed, but at the cost of her own life. Later, after the loss of his two companions, the character is reintroduced as Clara in the 2012 Christmas special "The Snowmen". Clara is a Victorian barmaid and a governess who is invited to become the Doctor's newest companion after he saves her from an attack by snowmen brought to life by the evil Great Intelligence. Clara falls to her death shortly after being shown the TARDIS, the Doctor's time and space machine, and her tombstone reveals her full name to be Clara Oswin Oswald. The Doctor realises she is the same woman as Oswin from the Dalek Asylum, and intrigued by a woman who has lived and died twice in different periods of history, he begins searching across time for another Clara. In "The Bells of Saint John", a 21st-century Clara meets the Doctor in contemporary London, and he takes her on as a companion with a view to solving the mystery of the "impossible girl". The Doctor's repeated attempts at investigating Clara's origins over the course of "The Rings of Akhaten", "Hide" and "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS" consistently turn compelling evidence that she is just a normal young human woman. In the latter episode, in an averted timeline, the Doctor confronts Clara about the two previous versions of her he had met, but she does not know what he is talking about. The mystery surrounding Clara is finally resolved in "The Name of the Doctor" when she sacrifices her existence in time to undo the harm the Great Intelligence has done to the Doctor's timestream. As a result, incarnations of herself are scattered throughout the Doctor's history, appearing to every known face of the Doctor and saving his life in numerous ways—for the most part unnoticed—and even ensuring that the First Doctor (William Hartnell) picks the "right" TARDIS on his home planet, prior to the events of the show's first episode. Lost in the Doctor's timestream, she is eventually rescued and brought back into existence by the Eleventh Doctor. In the show's 50th anniversary special, Clara is shown to have become a teacher at Coal Hill School. While on an adventure with the Doctor, she meets the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and the War Doctor (John Hurt) in person, and manages to convince the Doctor to change his history and save his home planet from destruction in the Time War of his past.
Clara (Sophie Downham) appears in a short prequel to "The Bells of Saint John" as a child who talks to the Doctor at a playground. The Doctor does not realise her identity, which is revealed to the viewer. Coleman later played Clara in "He Said, She Said", the online prequel to "The Name of the Doctor". Clara also features alongside the Eleventh Doctor in the New Series Adventures novel Shroud of Sorrow, published April 2013. She will appear in IDW Publishing's comic story Deadwood. Beginning with Issue 462 (June 2013), Clara appears regularly in the Doctor Who Magazine comic strips.
Casting and development
On 21 March 2012, it was announced that Jenna-Louise Coleman would replace Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill as the next companion. She auditioned for the role in secrecy, pretending it was for something called Men on Waves, an anagram for "Woman Seven". Executive producer and lead writer Steven Moffat chose her for the role because she worked the best alongside Smith and could talk faster than he did. Coleman had never seen Doctor Who before her audition, and watched "The Eleventh Hour" and "completely fell in love with the show". However, she only watched the first five episodes of the seventh series – the final five featuring Gillan and Darvill – because she did not want to learn more about their relationship to the Doctor, as she wanted her acting alongside Smith to be "spontaneous". Moffat stated that her character is different from previous companions, though he attempted to keep the details of her character a secret until she debuted in the Christmas special. In "Asylum of the Daleks", Coleman appears as the character Oswin Oswald, a secret which was kept from the public before transmission. Coleman was originally given the role of a Victorian governess named Jasmine, and then for the second audition she was given both the characters of Oswin and Clara. She originally thought that the producers were looking for the right character, but later realised it was part of Moffat's "soft mystery" plan. Neil Gaiman (writer of "Nightmare in Silver") revealed that the character was originally intended to stay as a Victorian governess. Coleman stated that Moffat came up with the mystery during the audition process. Coleman played each version of the character as individuals with "trust that there would be a payoff" to her mystery. Moffat told Neil Cross, who wrote "Hide", the first episode Coleman filmed, that Clara was "a normal girl".
Moffat felt that the introduction of a new companion made "the show feel different" and brought the story to "a new beginning" with a different person meeting the Doctor. Executive producer Caroline Skinner remarked that her introduction allowed the series return to a more "classic Doctor Who format". Smith said that Clara was different from her predecessor Amy Pond (Gillan), which allowed the audience to see a different side of the Doctor. Moffat said that Coleman brings "a speed and wit and an unimpressed quality that makes the Doctor dance a bit harder" Coleman stated that her character "holds her own" and was competitive with the Doctor, providing "a nice double act". With her place in the series' narrative, Clara was intended to reawaken the Doctor's "curiosity in the universe and gives him his mojo back". Concerning Clara's relationship to the Doctor, Coleman said, "It's been interesting how it's changed Matt's Doctor. There is a natural bounce between them, and a flirtation, and attraction. But, again, they've always got this friction because they're a bit magnetic and drawn to each other, but she can't quite figure him out. He's got loads of secrets and he's always looking at her, trying to figure her out." The dynamic between Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy was an influence on Coleman and Smith. In addition, Coleman revealed that Clara and the TARDIS have a "relationship", as there is a running joke about the TARDIS not liking Clara or making fun of her.
Mark White of WhatCulture drew comparisons between Clara and Doctor Who as a whole, writing that "she's a character that is everywhere over the last fifty years, always in the background, never seen or heard, and always saving the Doctor." He pointed out how Clara's birthdate is seen to be the airdate of the first episode, and how she shares a surname with Lee Harvey Oswald, who delayed the broadcast of the first episode when he assassinated John F. Kennedy.
Nick Setchfield of SFX praised the effective surprise debut of Coleman as Oswin in "Asylum of the Daleks". He wrote, "Coleman brings sauce and sparkiness, and while she initially seems a familiar Moffat archetype, all snarky cracks about the Doctor's chin and throwaway lines about sexual experimentation... there's a deeper vulnerability there too, which makes her eventual fate in this episode genuinely heart-skewering." Michael Hogan, writing for The Daily Telegraph, also found her debut promising and described her as "enchanting in an elfin way – rather like a brunette, curvier, less annoying Fearne Cotton".
The character's reintroduction as Clara in "The Snowmen" received generally positive reviews from critics. The Guardian's Dan Martin wrote, "The masterstroke behind Jenna-Louise Coleman's surprise introduction is that it made us want to see more of her before Karen Gillan had even gone. The cheeky, self-assured Clara won a place in our hearts from the off." Setchfield called her "less of a motormouthed quip-merchant than [Oswin], but Coleman makes her equally winning – plucky, smart and riffing on a very promising chemistry with Matt Smith". IGN's Matt Risley felt that the Clara "trumped her already-bombastic debut with a character both fully formed and utterly unpredictable". He praised the mystery surrounding her and her independence, commenting that she seemed to be the "antithesis" of Amy Pond as she was "a girl who will wait for no-one". Radio Times reviewer Patrick Mulkern admitted that he had "found Oswin's perkiness a tad wearing", but he was "completely won over" by Coleman's Clara in "The Snowmen". Neela Debanth of The Independent felt that Clara's demise in "The Snowmen" made the episode "a bit of a tease" and set up the question of what the travelling Clara would be like. Unlike Mulkern, she favoured the Oswin version, describing her as "much more fun and flirtatious".
Following "The Bells of Saint John", Digital Spy's Morgan Jeffery said that the new Clara was "more grounded and so far easier for the viewer to latch on to" than her two predecessors, both of which could have been harder to sustain as companions. Mulkern said that he did not bother with the character's mystery and found it pleasing that Coleman played her as "a straightforward modern companion with no baggage". Setchfield described Clara as "equally sparky and winning but altogether younger and possibly just a tad more vulnerable than her previous incarnations" with a "helplessly watchable chemistry" with Smith. Debnath described her as a "softer version" of Oswin, still hoping that "the character will be taken up a notch, challenging the Doctor more and bouncing off him like Oswin did. However, the Daily Mirror's Jon Cooper expressed concern that Clara, despite Coleman's success, was too similar to Amy. Mike Higgins of The Independent felt that Coleman was "an improvement" upon Gillan, but wrote that "the pairing of an intellectually bright but emotionally dim male with a techno-illiterate but wised up female is a tired old trope of much drama and comedy".
The character's development has also been met with positive reviews. Martin praised how her backstory was fleshed out in "The Rings of Akhaten", as otherwise the character "was danger of becoming simply a story arc in the shape of a girl". SFX's Richard Edwards wrote that she had the potential to be "a truly great companion", and that it was "refreshing to see a companion who isn't in total awe of the Doctor... and she's not afraid to take the lead when she needs to". Debnath praised her "caring nature" and "lovely maternal side", but felt that she could be "annoyingly naïve". Dave Golder of SFX stated that Clara was "to an extent, a bit of a cartoon character" and that Moffat was better at writing her in "The Name of the Doctor" than some of the preceding writers. He also commented that she "still feels too new a companion (and an underdeveloped one) to really care about her sacrifice".
- Steven Moffat (writer), Nick Hurran (director), Marcus Wilson (producer) (1 September 2012). "Asylum of the Daleks". Doctor Who. Series 7. Episode 1. BBC. BBC One.
- Steven Moffat (writer), Saul Metzstein (director), Marcus Wilson (producer) (25 December 2012). "The Snowmen". Doctor Who. Series 7. Episode 6. BBC. BBC One.
- Steven Moffat (writer), Colm McCarthy (director), Denise Paul (producer) (30 March 2013). "The Bells of Saint John". Doctor Who. Series 7. Episode 7. BBC. BBC One.
- Stephen Thompson (writer), Mat King (director), Marcus Wilson (producer) (27 April 2013). "Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS". Doctor Who. Series 7. Episode 10. BBC. BBC One.
- Neil Cross (writer), Jamie Payne (director), Marcus Wilson (producer) (20 April 2013). "Hide". Doctor Who. Series 7. Episode 10. BBC. BBC One.
- Neil Cross (writer), Farren Blackburn (director), Denise Paul (producer) (6 April 2013). "The Rings of Akhaten". Doctor Who. Series 7. Episode 8. BBC. BBC One.
- Steven Moffat (writer), Saul Metzstein (director), Denise Paul (producer) (18 May 2013). "The Name of the Doctor". Doctor Who. Series 7. Episode 13. BBC. BBC One.
- Steven Moffat, Nick Hurran, Marcus Wilson (23 November 2013). "The Day of the Doctor". Doctor Who. BBC.
- "The Bells of Saint John: A Prequel" (Video). BBC. 23 March 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- Jones, Paul (3 May 2013). "Doctor Who finale prequel starring Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman to screen via BBC Red Button". Radio Times. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- "Doctor Who: Shroud of Sorrow". BBC Shop. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
- Donbavand, Tommy (2013). Doctor Who: Shroud of Sorrow. UK: Random House.
- Johnson, Rich (14 June 2013). "The Launch Of The Powerpuff Girls – IDW Solicitations For September 2013, Including Transformers, My Little Pony, Star Trek, Doctor Who, GI Joe And Locke And Key". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- "A Wing and a Prayer: Part One". Doctor Who Magazine (Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent: Panini Comics) (462): 29. 27 June 2013.
- "Doctor Who's latest companion is unveiled". BBC News. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- Gallagher, William (27 March 2012). "Doctor Who's secret history of codenames revealed". Radio Times. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- Jeffery, Morgan (21 March 2012). "'Doctor Who': Jenna-Louise Coleman — The press conference in full". Digital Spy. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- "'Doctor Who': Insider — Jenna Joins the 'Doctor Who' Family" (Video). BBC America. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- Wagner, Curt (27 March 2013). "'Doctor Who': 3rd Clara's a charm for new star Coleman". RedEye. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
- "New Companion Makes Doctor Who A Different Show, Says Moffat". SFX. 30 May 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- Jeffery, Morgan (19 May 2012). "Steven Moffat on 'Doctor Who', 'Sherlock' and his BAFTA Special Award". Digital Spy. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
- Martinovic, Paul (1 September 2012). "Steven Moffat thanks press and fans for saving 'Doctor Who' surprise". Digital Spy. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- "Jenna-Louise Coleman: Becoming the Companion" (Video). BBC. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- Collis, Clark (28 November 2012). "'Doctor Who': Jenna-Louise Coleman talks about becoming the Doctor's new companion -- Exclusive". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
- Mulkern, Patrick; Jones, Paul (15 May 2013). "Neil Gaiman on re-writing Doctor Who: Clara was originally going to stay as a Victorian governess". Radio Times. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- Jeffery, Morgan (28 March 2013). "'Doctor Who' plot is "mystifying, exciting" says Jenna-Louise Coleman". Digital Spy. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- "Doctor Who "The Rings of Akhaten": Writer Neil Cross Interview". SFX. 5 April 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
- Woerner, Meredith (24 December 2012). "Producer Caroline Skinner explains why Doctor Who is getting a new Companion for Christmas". io9. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- "Steven Moffat and the Cast on The Snowmen". BBC. 8 December 2012. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- Radish, Christina (27 March 2013). "Steven Moffat Talks DOCTOR WHO, His Favorite Upcoming Episodes, Writing the Doctor and Sherlock Holmes, the 50th Anniversary, and More". Collider. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- Sagers, Aaron (18 December 2012). "Actress Jenna-Louise Coleman talks 'Doctor Who'". CNN. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- Harp, Justin (28 March 2013). "'Doctor Who' star Matt Smith: 'Clara reignites The Doctor's curiosity'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- Jeffery, Morgan (6 March 2013). "Jenna-Louise Coleman on 'Doctor Who' dynamic: 'It's like a dance'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 19 March 2013.
- Jones, Paul (12 April 2013). "Doctor Who's Jenna-Louise Coleman: "Clara and the Tardis have a relationship – it makes fun of her"". Radio Times. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
- White, Mark (16 August 2013). "5 Brilliant Doctor Who References In Doctor Who". WhatCulture. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- Setfield, Nick (1 September 2012). "Doctor Who 7.01 "Asylum of the Daleks" Review". SFX. Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- Hogan, Michael (2 September 2012). "A bold debut for the new Doctor Who assistant". The Daily Telegraph (review). Retrieved 2 September 2012.
- Martin, Dan (25 December 2012). "Doctor Who: The Snowmen – Christmas special 2012". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
- Setchfield, Nick (25 December 2012). "Doctor Who "The Snowmen" Review". SFX. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- Risley, Matt (25 December 2012). "Mary Poppins Got Game!". IGN. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- Mulkern, Patrick (25 December 2012). "Doctor Who — The Snowmen". Radio Times (review). Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- "Review of Doctor Who 'The Snowmen'". The Independent. 25 December 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
- Jeffery, Morgan (30 March 2013). "'Doctor Who': New episode 'The Bells of Saint John' review". Digital Spy. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- Mulkern, Patrick (30 March 2013). "Doctor Who The Bells of Saint John review: "Steven Moffat at his confident, playful best"". Radio Times. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- Setchfield, Nick (30 March 2013). "Doctor Who 7.06 "The Bells of Saint John"". SFX (review). Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- Debnath, Neela (30 March 2013). "Doctor Who 'The Bells of Saint John'". The Independent (review). Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- Cooper, Jon (30 March 2013). "Doctor Who review: Jenna-Louise Coleman is great, but The Bells of Saint John required a bit more heart". The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- Higgins, Mike (31 March 2013). "Doctor Who — The Doctor's back, with his snog box". The Independent (TV review). Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- Martin, Dan (6 April 2013). "Doctor Who: The Rings of Akhaten – series 33, episode seven". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- Edwards, Richard (6 April 2013). "Doctor Who 7.07 "The Rings of Akhaten" Review". SFX. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- Debnath, Neela (6 April 2013). "Doctor Who 'The Rings of Akhaten'". The Independent (review). Retrieved 7 April 2013.
- Debnath, Neela (13 April 2013). "Review of 'Cold War'". The Independent. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
- Golder, Dave (18 May 2013). "Doctor Who 7.13 "The Name of The Doctor"". SFX (review). Retrieved 17 June 2013.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Clara Oswald|
- Clara Oswald at the BBC One Doctor Who website
- Clara at BBC America's Doctor Who website
- Clara Oswald on TARDIS Data Core, an external wiki
|Companions of the Eleventh Doctor|
|Series||Series 5||Specials||Series 6|
|Episodes||203||204||205||206A / B||207||208||209A / B||210||211||212A / B||213||S/T||214A / B||215||216||217A / B||218||219||220||221||222|
|Series||Series 6||Special||Series 7||Special||Series 7||Specials|