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Jenna Coleman

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Jenna Coleman
Jenna Coleman 2016.jpg
Coleman at the MagicCity ComicCon, 16 January 2016
Born Jenna-Louise Coleman
(1986-04-27) 27 April 1986 (age 30)
Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 2005–present
Partner(s) Richard Madden (2012–present)

Jenna-Louise Coleman (born 27 April 1986),[1] known as Jenna Coleman,[2][3] is an English actress. Her notable roles are Clara Oswald in the British television series Doctor Who, Jasmine Thomas in the British soap opera Emmerdale, and Queen Victoria in the ITV drama series Victoria.

Coleman was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, and began her acting career at an early age as a member of a theatre company called In Yer Space.[4] While auditioning for drama schools in 2005, she was chosen to play Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale. She received critical acclaim for her performance and was nominated for the Most Popular Newcomer award at the 2006 National Television Awards.[5]

Coleman went on to play "hard girl" Lindsay James in the BBC school-based drama series Waterloo Road, Susan Brown in a BBC Four television adaptation of the John Braine novel Room at the Top, Annie Desmond in Julian Fellowes' four part mini-series Titanic, and Rosie in Stephen Poliakoff's original drama series Dancing on the Edge.[6]

From 2012 to 2015, Coleman portrayed Clara Oswald, companion to the eleventh[7] and twelfth incarnations of the Doctor in the science fiction series Doctor Who. She appeared as Lydia Wickham in the BBC drama Death Comes to Pemberley.

Early life[edit]

Coleman was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, the daughter of Karen and Keith Coleman. She has an older brother named Ben.[8] She attended Arnold School, where she was head girl. She has stated that she regrets not having a conventional university experience. While at school, Coleman was a member of the theatre company In Yer Space, with which she performed in the play Crystal Clear at the Edinburgh Festival. She won an award for her performance, and the play was also received favourably.[9] In an interview with the Radio Times in 2015 she revealed that her grandmother had named her Jenna after the character of Jenna Wade played by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley in the 80's hit American drama series Dallas.[10]


Whilst auditioning for drama schools, Coleman landed the part of Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale in 2005. At the 2007 British Soap Awards, she was nominated for the Best Newcomer award, and at the 2006 National Television Awards, she was nominated for the Most Popular Newcomer award.[5] At the 2009 British Soap Awards, she was nominated for the Best Actress, Sexiest Female, and Best Dramatic Performance awards.[11] She received a nomination for the Best Actress award from the TV Choice Awards. In May 2009, it was announced that Coleman would be joining BBC drama series Waterloo Road as "hard girl" Lindsay James.[6] As she was 23 at the time of her casting, Coleman found the experience of playing a schoolgirl "surreal".[12]

Coleman at the 72nd Annual Peabody Awards Luncheon

In December 2010, it was announced that Coleman would be playing Susan Brown in a BBC Four television adaptation of the John Braine novel Room at the Top.[13][14] The adaptation was originally intended to air in April 2011, but this was cancelled due to a rights dispute between the production company and Braine's estate. The dispute was resolved by 2012, and the show aired in two parts on 26 and 27 September 2012.[4] In 2011, she made her feature film debut in Captain America: The First Avenger. She also landed the part of Annie Desmond in Julian Fellowes' four part mini-series Titanic, describing her character as a "cheeky little Cockney" and "the Eliza Doolittle of the ship".[15]

Coleman provided the voice for the character Melia in the English dub of the 2011 video game Xenoblade Chronicles. In 2012, Coleman was cast as Rosie in Stephen Poliakoff's original drama series Dancing on the Edge, which follows the fortunes of a black jazz band in the 1930s. The show aired on BBC Two in February 2013. She starred as Lydia Wickham in the adaptation of Death Comes to Pemberley.[16] The three episodes were shown on BBC One during Christmas 2013.[17]

Doctor Who[edit]

Coleman at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con

On 21 March 2012, Doctor Who producer Steven Moffat confirmed at a press conference that Coleman would play the companion of the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith).[7] Moffat chose her for the role because she worked the best alongside Smith and could talk faster than he could.[18] She auditioned for the role in secret, under the pretense of auditioning for Men on Waves (an anagram for "Woman Seven": she would first appear in the show's seventh series).[19]

Although originally announced as beginning her run as companion in the Christmas special in 2012, Coleman made a surprise appearance on 1 September 2012 in the first episode of the seventh series as Oswin Oswald, a guest character who dies at the conclusion of the episode.[20] Coleman subsequently debuted as a series regular in the Christmas special episode "The Snowmen" as Victorian governess and barmaid Clara Oswin Oswald; like Oswin Oswald, she died. At the end of that episode, Coleman is seen playing a third version of the character, a resident of contemporary London named simply Clara Oswald. Beginning in "The Bells of Saint John", this version begins her travels as the Doctor's regular companion,[21] including after his regeneration into the Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, in the 2013 Christmas special episode "The Time of the Doctor."[22] In the 2014 Christmas special episode "Last Christmas", it was revealed that Coleman would remain in the role of Clara for Series 9.[23] However, the ninth series was her last, as Coleman had decided to leave the show to take on a role as Queen Victoria in an ITV production.[24][25]

As of 12 May 2013, she began using the name Jenna Coleman professionally, with the shorter credit being first used when she appeared as a presenter for the 2013 BAFTA Television Awards, and it was made official on 7 June 2013 when she was introduced with the shorter name during a visit to BBC Broadcasting House by Queen Elizabeth II.[citation needed] She was first credited on screen as Jenna Coleman in Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, which aired on 4 August 2013.[26][2]


In 2016 Coleman starred in ITV's eight-part drama following the reign of the British monarch and Empress of India, Queen Victoria. The actor confessed that she was not totally informed about Victorian history, but researched the role. When interviewed for BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, Coleman expressed her admiration for the monarch.[27]

She argues that this role meant she was able to breakout of her supposed 'box' as a northern working class character that Emmerdale put her in.[28] Victoria premiered on 28 August 2016 on ITV,[29] and in September 2016, ITV renewed Victoria for a second series.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Coleman began a relationship with Richard Madden in early 2012.[31][32]

Coleman has been involved with charity work in South Africa raising awareness of HIV with One To One Children's Fund, of whom she is the ambassador.[33]



Year Title Role Notes
2005–09 Emmerdale Jasmine Thomas 168 episodes
2009 Waterloo Road Lindsay James 9 episodes
2012 Titanic Annie Desmond 4 episodes
2012 Room at the Top Susan Brown 2 episodes
2012–15 Doctor Who Clara Oswald 37 episodes (Series 7Series 9)
2013 Dancing on the Edge Rosie Williams 5 episodes
2013 The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot Herself Comedy spoof of Doctor Who, released on the BBC Red Button
2013 Death Comes to Pemberley Lydia Wickham 3 episodes[34]
2016–present Victoria Queen Victoria 8 episodes[35]
2016[36] Thunderbirds Are Go Baines (voice) 1 episode[37]


Year Title Role Notes
2011 Captain America: The First Avenger Connie
2012 Imaginary Forces Ellen Short film
2016 Me Before You Katrina Clark

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2010 Xenoblade Chronicles Princess Melia Antiqua English dub of Japanese game
2015 Lego Dimensions Clara Oswald

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2006 National Television Award Most Popular Newcomer Emmerdale Nominated
The British Soap Awards Best Newcomer Nominated
2009 Best Dramatic Performance[38] Nominated
Sexiest Female[38] Nominated
Best Actress[38] Nominated
2013 Behind the Voice Actors Award Best Female Vocal Performance in a Video Game Xenoblade Chronicles Nominated
Best Vocal Ensemble in a Video Game Nominated
Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards Favourite UK Actress Doctor Who Nominated
TV Choice Award Best Actress Nominated
2014 Glamour Awards UK TV Actress Won
2015 Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress on Television[39] Nominated
TV Choice Award Best Actress Nominated
BAFTA Cymru Best Actress[40] Nominated


  1. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (21 March 2012). "Jenna-Louise Coleman: Ten Things about the new 'Doctor Who' star". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Jones, Paul. "Jenna Coleman and the mystery of the missing Louise". Radio Times. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  3. ^ "Doctor Who, Coleman: 50th anniversary. Rings of Akhaten", TV guide .
  4. ^ a b Jeffrey, Morgan (29 May 2012). "'Room at the Top': BBC Four drama to air following legal dispute". Digital Spy. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Wilkes, Neil; Welsh, James (31 October 2006). "National TV Awards 2006: Full winners list". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 19 March 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Green, Kris (13 May 2009). "Ex-'Emmerdale' actress joins 'Waterloo Road'". Digital Spy. UK. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "Doctor Who's latest companion is unveiled". BBC News. 21 March 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Jenna-Louise Coleman: The life and time travels of Doctor Who's sexy new sidekick",, 6 April 2013, retrieved 14 May 2014 
  9. ^ "Blackpool soap star needs your help". Blackpool Gazette. 31 July 2006. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 2 September 2007. 
  10. ^ "Jenna Coleman's exclusive 2012 interview on auditioning for Doctor Who",, 24 March 2015, retrieved 14 October 2016 
  11. ^ Green, Kris; Kilkelly, Daniel (10 May 2009). "British Soap Awards 2009: The Winners". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  12. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (29 October 2009). "Coleman: 'Waterloo Road is surreal'". Digital Spy. UK. Retrieved 21 March 2012. 
  13. ^ "Stars in city to remake classic film". The Bradford Telegraph & Argus. UK. 27 December 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  14. ^ "Casting Unveiled on Room at the Top". UK: Screen Yorkshire. 22 December 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  15. ^ Conner, Megan (11 March 2012). "Why we're watching: Jenna-Louise Coleman, actor". The Observer. Retrieved 11 March 2012. 
  16. ^ Lazarus, Susanna (18 June 2013). "Jenna-Louise Coleman, Penelope Keith and Rebecca Front join Death Comes to Pemberley". Radio Times. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  17. ^ Lazarus, Sussana (26 December 2013). "Death Comes to Pemberley's Matthew Rhys: "The best thing about playing Mr Darcy is that shirt"". Radio Times. Retrieved 26 December 2013. 
  18. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (21 March 2012). "'Doctor Who': Jenna-Louise Coleman – The press conference in full". Digital Spy. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  19. ^ Gallagher, William (27 March 2012). "Doctor Who's secret history of codenames revealed". Radio Times. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  20. ^ Brown, David (1 September 2012). "Doctor Who – a message from Steven Moffat and Jenna-Louise Coleman about tonight's surprise". Radio Times. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ Steven Moffat (writer), Jamie Payne (director), Marcus Wilson (producer) (25 December 2013). "The Time of the Doctor". Doctor Who. Series 7. BBC. BBC One. 
  23. ^ Dan Martin. "Doctor Who recap: Last Christmas". the Guardian. 
  24. ^ "Jenna Coleman is Leaving Doctor Who". BBC. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2015. 
  25. ^ Barraclough, Leo (18 September 2015). "Jenna Coleman Leaving 'Doctor Who' to Play Queen Victoria". Variety. Retrieved 18 June 2016. 
  26. ^ "Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor". BBC One. BBC. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  27. ^ "Jenna Coleman as young Queen Victoria". 
  28. ^ "Jenna Coleman as young Queen Victoria". 
  29. ^ "Jenna Coleman plays Queen Victoria as she's never been seen before - a lusty teenager who gains the throne". Telegraph. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2016. 
  30. ^ Martin, William (23 September 2016). "Jenna Coleman's 'Victoria' will return for a second season". CultBox. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  31. ^ "Richard Madden Set to Join Idris Elba for 'Bastille Day'". BBC America. image caption. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  32. ^ Curt Wagner (19 April 2012). "Richard Madden Jenna-Louise Coleman dating Game of Thrones Doctor Who TV – RedEye Chicago". RedEye. Retrieved 7 October 2012. 
  33. ^ "Jenna Coleman Video". 
  34. ^ "Jenna Coleman to star in Death comes to Pemberley", Doctor Who (blog), UK: The BBC .
  35. ^ "Jenna Coleman to star as Queen Victoria in major new ITV drama Victoria". ITV Media Centre. 18 September 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2015. 
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ a b c Green, Kris; Kilkelly, Daniel (10 May 2009). "British Soap Awards 2009: The Winners". Soaps News. Digital Spy. London: Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  39. ^ "The Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy and Horror Films". 
  40. ^ "Winners Announced – British Academy Cymru Awards 2015". 27 September 2015. 

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