Welcome to Jenna Coleman Online, your best source for everything on the Blackpool born actress Jenna Coleman. She's best known for her role as Clara Oswald in Doctor Who, but she's now our fierce Queen Victoria in the ITV hit.
The site aim is to update you with all the latest news, photos and media concerning Jenna's career. Take a look around and enjoy your stay! If you have any questions, concerns or comments, then do not hesitate to get in touch with me.
2017 — Season 2
Jenna as Queen Victoria
THE TELEGRAPH – Jenna Coleman shot to fame as Clara Oswald, the Doctor’s assistant, in Doctor Who. She now stars as Queen Victoria in a new ITV series based on the monarch’s life
In a little black dress and a pair of sky scraper heels, Jenna Coleman is sitting in a room steeped in royal history. It was in this once grand, if now slightly dog-eared private chamber, on the first floor of Kensington Palace, where in June 1837 Alexandrina Victoria received the news that she was to be the new Queen of England.
“Her uncle William IV had died in the night and she was standing here in her dressing gown,” says Coleman. “At just 18, she was about to become the most powerful woman in the world.”
Having just spent seven months filming Victoria, the ambitious eight part ITV drama that charts the young Queen’s life, Coleman has got to know her intimately.
Victoria was just 4ft 11ins tall, something that Coleman, at 5ft 3, can sympathise with.
“Maybe being small – and her feet didn’t even reach the floor when she sat on the throne – was part of what made her so obstinate, impatient, forthright and formidable,” Coleman says. “It’s difficult to dominate and have your opinions listened to when you are so much shorter than everyone else in the room.”
Aged 30, she has, she says, “learned to own my height” and sees it at times as a positive advantage.
“It makes you look a lot younger than you are – and, hopefully, people won’t query me playing an 18–year-old when the series starts.”
Like the diminutive monarch, too, Coleman’s energy and spark can command even this cavernous room. She has the authority and diction of a stylish young Londoner, although the second syllable in ‘grasp’, for example, is pronounced ‘asp’ – like the snake. If you cut her through the middle, she says, the name of her hometown, Blackpool, would be written through her like the proverbial seaside rock.
THE GUARDIAN – “I don’t like that word,” says Jenna Coleman, wrinkling her nose. “People describe me as that a lot, and it makes me cringe. It feels dirty.”
In the garden lounge of a London hotel, we are talking about the word driven. “Something about it feels ruthless, which doesn’t sit well with me.” It would be impossible to describe the gentle, slightly reticent presence next to me as gimlet-eyed. But it’s also hard to describe her rise without sensing that ambition and determination must have played a part. Her first job, at just 19, was wild child Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale. Intended to be a small role, she grew into a series regular, and Coleman set aside thoughts of drama school to play her for five years. She followed this with acclaimed BBC series Waterloo Road, original dramas by Julian Fellowes and Stephen Poliakoff, and then the big one. In 2012 she was anointed Clara Oswald, the sparky and instantly lovable companion to Doctor Who, beamed into millions of households across the world. These things don’t just happen.
“A lot of interviews talk about Emmerdale and then Doctor Who – but there were six years between those,” she protests. “You should have seen me when I was trying to get an agent. It was like, ‘I’ve only worked in soap, I’ve not been to drama school, I’m 22 years old and haven’t worked for a year. I’m a great catch!’ ” She’d stayed longer than she wanted to on Emmerdale; despite having been nominated for best newcomer at the National Television Awards, it took her a long time to be considered for significant roles afterwards. “I’m northern, and working class, so people put you in a box. It’s crazy.” She would be sent scripts for supporting characters with northern accents, “and I’d be pointing out different parts, saying, ‘I think I can do that.’ It took a long time to get any meetings. I had to take a job at a pub in Hampstead.”
She’s describing the kind of unpromising situation that can consume young actors for a decade or longer, but her zeal to turn things around marks her out. She became an avid self-taper, sending casting directors scene footage in very different roles, showing off her range. “I love playing away from myself, expanding people’s perceptions.” She took herself out to LA for pilot season, where she went up for various unattainable parts, returning home jobless but fearless, and rich in audition experience.
Jenna attended the TCA Summer Tour for promoting Victoria on PBS yesterday (June 28). The drama will premiere on the American network on January 2017 (we don’t have a UK date yet though).
INDIEWIRE – The former “Doctor Who” companion plays the famed British monarch from the moment she becomes queen at the tender age of 18 in Masterpiece’s upcoming eight-part miniseries “Victoria.” Although Queen Victoria lived in the 19th century, more is known about her than many other historical figures, because she was an avid diarist and left a colorful paper trail of her thoughts and dreams.
“Her vivacious nature comes out in the page,” Coleman told reporters at the Television Critics Association on Thursday. The diaries included many all-caps and underlined portions. “What I found most interesting was her sketch work,” Coleman added. “She was quite a prolific watercolorist,” Portraits figured regularly in Queen Victoria’s work along with landscapes. She as also a fan of the theater.
Novelist Daisy Goodwin, who wrote and created the series, read between the lines to create the personal details of Victoria’s life. Although the Prime Minister Lord Melbourne (played in the series by Rufus Sewell) was the queen’s adviser and friend, Goodwin said Victoria’s crush on Melbourne was apparent if you “count how many times she mentioned Lord Melbourne” in her diary, and therefore wrote these romantic feelings into the script.
Victoria set a precedent for flouting tradition from the beginning of her reign. “Not only did she take control, but she literally invented her own name,” said Goodwin. “She chose Victoria because it’s a victorious name.” Before her coronation, she was called Alexandrina Victoria, or Drina by her family, but when she obtained the crown, she chose to be called Queen Victoria, which broke tradition since English queens were often Annes, Janes or Elizabeths.
What Queen Victoria was able to accomplish was extraordinary, considering her youth and the sexism during that time. Goodwin noted that during that time, “Women don’t have the vote. Married women are the property of husbands,”
“And she’s 4-foot-11,” Coleman added.
Victoria’s short stature is made much of in the series, as it lead to some treating her as a child. Nevertheless, she went on to marry her cousin Prince Albert (Tom Hughes), who was reportedly tall, possibly 6 feet. The royal couple were famously quite smitten with each other, having nine children together. They were so amorous that Goodwin says Albert had a special device put in their bedroom that allowed him to lock their bedroom door without getting out of bed. (source)
Several photos from the PBS press room and the Victoria Panel have now been added to the gallery – with big thanks to my friend Emily for her precious help. More, though, will sure be added as well during the day so follow the site twitter @JennaColemanCom to stay up-to-date!
Jenna is featured in the current issue of Interview Magazine for the editorial “16 Faces of 2016”. Below you can read a preview of her interview, and find the rest at the source.
INTERVIEW – HALEY WEISS: Has it been emotional to watch your final Doctor Who episodes air?
JENNA COLEMAN: It’s really weird. I went around to Peter [Capaldi]’s house with Steven [Moffat, the show’s writer], Brian [Minchin] our producer, and Mark Gatiss. We all watched [my final episode] together. It’s just great fun and the best thing about Doctor Who is that the storytelling is so epic and huge, and so whimsical and romantic. I always find that even though it’s sci-fi, it’s a fairytale as well. It was lovely to watch it all together, but the goodbye had been in the works for so long. To have it done on screen now, and to no longer have those working relationships that have been a part of my life for four years is quite strange but also exhilarating. It’s been a mad and weird and wonderful part of my life for the last four years, but it feels like the next chapter, in a way, which is great.
WEISS: What will you miss most about playing Clara?
COLEMAN: I’ll mainly miss Peter. [laughs] It’s so rare that you get a show that is effectively a two-hander—it’s you two, all day, every day. Also every day is different, there’s no day that’s the same. Every two weeks you change episodes, you have a different cast, and you go to a different planet. You get to do weird stunts upside down, you play off a green screen, and then suddenly do a really domestic, emotional scene. As an actor, you can go anywhere. There’s not really a limit in that show where you’re stuck to a genre because it’s so changeable and dynamic. It’s that storytelling that I’ll miss the most and Peter, because we spent the best part of two and a half years together. But the show will move forward, as it does, and become something else, which is what makes it so special.
WEISS: How do you think the show changed you as an actor?
COLEMAN: I don’t know the answer to that yet. To be honest, I think it’s the people that you work with who change you the most. I think working with Peter has made me…not be scared of a right and a wrong—trying to do as many options as possible for the edit, exploring as much as possible and throwing ideas in the air and seeing where it takes you.
– Read the rest of the interview at the source –
Also, be sure to check the beautiful photoshoot that has been released together with the interview, Jenna looks AMAZING! Check the outtakes in the gallery:
WHAT’S ON TV – Emmerdale, Doctor Who and now a new role as a young Queen Victoria… Jenna Coleman talks to Soaplife about her amazing career on the small screen.
Jenna Coleman hasn’t looked back since she quit her role as Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale in 2009. She’s currently on our screens as Clara Oswald in Doctor Who, and she’s landed the lead in a major ITV series about Queen Victoria. Jenna’s played the Time Lord’s witty companion since 2012 and, although she’s announced this series will be her last, she says she’s leaving on a high.
“I’m really excited about this series,” Jenna says. “It’s a lot more space-bound and it’s all about time travelling. One of the most wonderful things about the show is every episode feels very different. In fact, it feels like a whole new show in a way.”
Clara and the Doctor seem very united in this series…
“Yes, they’re strong together and they’re just enjoying travelling and doing and seeing as much as possible. The series is very adrenaline-fuelled and it’s full of reckless adventure, with both of them throwing themselves head-first into it. There’s definitely an ease between them, a shorthand, and she’s definitely becoming more and more like him. I think she wants that… There are a few stories in this series where you see them parting ways, where they’re covering different bases, then you suddenly see them coming back together. They’re very much a proper team.”
Do you think Clara’s moved on since the last series?
“In a way. She’s cutting her ties with Earth more and more. Since the death of her partner, Danny, her perspective on life has changed. She doesn’t fear her own mortality any more going into adventures and, when that happens, there’s a sense of freedom. It can also be quite dangerous, though.”
How do you and Peter [Capaldi, who plays the Doctor] get on outside of filming?
“We get on really, really well. I knew from our first lunch together that we’d get on – we both ordered omelette and chips! He’s so easy to talk to and we’re great mates, even though we’re such different ages [Jenna is 29 and Peter is 57]. We’re just totally good buddies and it’s really lovely!”
What’s been your favourite episode from this series and why?
“Episode 11 will be really unique, and also the Viking episode was so much fun to film. The scripts for episodes seven and eight are really strong, too. They feel like quite different Doctor Who episodes. They’re tense, provocative and clever, and they feel very relevant.”
You’ve done a few of your character’s stunts in this series, haven’t you?
“I’ve done a lot of hanging upside-down – one time on a cliff in Tenerife, for instance. That looks so easy to do on-screen, but it wasn’t at all! It was tricky because we could only do it in tiny spurts. I also had a scene where I was hanging outside of the TARDIS, so hanging off things seems to be one of my specialities in this series.”
How do you look back at your time working on Emmerdale?
“It was my first job and it was a really great ensemble of people. As a first gig, it was brilliant and I learnt a lot. It was also so fast-paced. In Emmerdale, we got through 12 episodes in two weeks, while we film one episode in two-and-a-half weeks on Doctor Who, so it really is very different. I will always be grateful to Emmerdale and it was a great experience, but I was ready to leave when I did.”
How excited are you about your new role ITV drama series Victoria?
“I’m delighted to be cast as the young Queen Victoria in this ambitious drama about her life. Victoria is a vivid, strong, inspirational and utterly fascinating woman. I can’t wait to tell her story!”