Doctor Who: Jenna-Louise Coleman on the Oswin/Clara mystery

News Louisa Mellor 30 Nov 2012 - 10:56

The Doctor’s new companion has been chatting about the “soft mystery” of her character…

Contains spoilers for Asylum of the Daleks.

Since Asylum of the Daleks, the relationship between Clara, the Doctor’s new companion, and that episode’s Oswin (also played by Jenna-Louise Coleman), has been something of a head-scratcher. Entertainment Weekly’s latest interview with the actress may not solve the mystery, but it does provide a little more context as to how Coleman came to play what seem to be two separate characters in the same series: 

“It’s interesting actually — I think I can tell you this — that that was never the initial plan either, to have me be Oswin. That was part of a genius plan that Steven came up with half-way through the audition process. That was already written but not written for what was to be the new companion. I was auditioning for the companion and then I got all these sides and I was like, “Who’s Oswin? They clearly don’t know what they want, they obviously don’t know what they’re looking for. They just want people to show them different things and see.” This is what I assumed when I was auditioning, not realizing that it’s basically Steven’s mad genius again.” 

Asked whether the Oswin/Clara question is going to be addressed by this year’s Christmas Special, Coleman revealed, somewhat frustratingly, “Uh… mmm… no. We’re going to have what has been referred to as a ‘soft mystery’. For me, filming, I’ve been totally oblivious to Oswin and the Asylum of the Daleks. I really have had to erase it from my memory. Yeah, Christmas is its own episode.” 

Can she tell us if Clara is human? Not yet. “That’s why it’s so difficult [to talk about]. Because of the way it started with Oswin, it’s really difficult to say much: where she’s from, what period she’s from, what planet she’s from, even.” 

To sum up then, we won't find out the answer in the Christmas Special, which is "its own episode", and once again, it's all down to Steven Moffat's mad genius... 

Entertainment Weekly

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If she's River Song's daughter or long lost sister or second cousin twice-removed then, Moffat, I swear...

As long as Doctor at least recognises her and it's not all just swept under the rug until later in the second part of the series.

I've been thinking about this, how exactly would The Doctor recognise her? He never actually saw her, remember? Just the Dalek.

She's obviously Davros.

Clara even has a different accent to Oswin, so he can't use voice either.

We're talking about Moffat, not Russell T Davies, don't worry. If it was Davies, she'd be any one of a multitude of characters killed off during his tenure in such a way as they can never, ever possibly come back, returning thanks to some ridiculous, tenuous quirk of space-time. Like a beetle on her back. FFS.

Considering a lot of the publicity relating to the character has been suggesting she's one of the biggest mysteries the Doctor has ever encountered,i don't think it's guaranteed at all that she has nothing to do with Oswin.She must be extremely mysterious if she's more enigmatic than River Song.Whatever is actually happening the last thing anybody should expect is anything normal from Moffat since so far the Doctor has married his murderer and his last companion got pregnant in the TARDIS.He's sure to have something planned for after Amy.

I'd say Clara's almost definitely going to turn out to have some connection to Oswin. Anything otherwise would be uncool and thus, for all that I miss RTD's tenure sometimes, profoundly un-Moffatlike.

I'm thinking this is Moffat being brilliant again with his long mysteries and he's going to draw it out and keep us guessing as long as he wants for the fun of it. But this Oswyn/Clara mystery is also perfect to get the Doctor's attention and makes the perfect excuse for why he would take on a new companion after the Ponds, especially since he's now announced his retirement. He's going to be hooked by the mystery of Clara, just like he was by the crack in little Amelia's wall and the duck pond without ducks (Amy herself was a freak of nature; she existed despite her parents having been erased from time and this is what caused the Doctor's fascinations). In season 6 it was the Doctor's death and the baby which turned out to have the same answer and now in season 7 there is the ending of the Ponds and the beginning of Clara's mystery. Moffat's up to his old tricks again!

Oh, please, no. The Doctor's death was faked thanks to a robot impersonator. Rory and Amy's baby was abducted to be raised as a trained killer with the sole purpose of killing the doctor, but, hey, they're OK with that. Pooh to Moffat's long mysteries. This series of self-contained episodes has been much more rewarding.

Nobody was OK with what happened to baby Melody but the Doctor could really do nothing because his history was so involved with Rivers .Whoever used time against the Doctor and attacked him personally through his friends like that is going to be in serious trouble eventually when the Doctor finally finds out what's been going on.I don't think that's all finished considering the lengths Moffat went to build this storyline and the fact there was no proper conclusion with the real antagonist last year,perhaps it's all related to Moffat's ultimate storyline for the eleventh Doctor.

Gotta say, I'm with Michael on this. Suspense, drawn out over the course of several episodes, has a tendency to be more rewarding. If I wanted stand alone/"Monster of the Week" episodes all the time, where loose ends are neatly tied up in 45 minutes, I'd be watching Law and Order.

Agree--Moffat is playing a LONG game with the points you reference & the other points--we STILL dont know who took control of the Tardis In the Pandorica eps , or WHY it exploded & I doubt we will find out the answer to either until we near or are at "The Fall of the Eleventh".

I can't believe people still think Moffat is going to tie up all his loose ends. He's demonstrated time and again that he's more interested in entertaining folks than in filling in the story-arc plotholes he digs. I enjoy his work and find him extraordinarily creative, but I don't like him as the Doctor's showrunner.

As long as Matt Smith is the eleventh doctor and Moffat is in charge of the programme,he still has time and space to answer these questions and it's clear he has some overall scheme for the eleventh doctor with ideas like the question that must never be asked,the headless monks,the academy of the silence and the battle of Trenzalore.Theres, also a recurring theme about memory which has been a feature of all of his storylines since he took over the programme.There is no way he wouldn't have included a confrontation with who kidnapped Amy and stole her baby from her unless it was part of an overall storyline.It's too important and unusual to ignore.As a writer with a comedic background,Moffat is technically skilled at developing plot,he knows as a writer there must be a payoff for what he sets up.

Screw that. She's the Master.

Can you give any Moffat long mystery that has been rewarding? Or any new Who since Bad Wolf?

The reveal of River Song as Amy and Rory's daughter was more dramatically satisfying to me than the Bad Wolf arc ,i know there were suggestions of a connection between Amy and River but i never saw anybody predict she was Amy's daughter,The whole business of why that happened and what's going on seems bigger than that story and more personal to me.

Rewarding is subjective. I find the entire River Song story line to bwholly rewarding/fascinating so far (with "Silence in the Library" and "The Wedding of River Song" somewhere near the top of my favorite Doctor Who episodes of all time). This is largely because I adore that out of all the things in the cosmos, the Doctor is more terrified of his own heart and River is a symbol of that. This humanizes the Doctor, makes him someone most of us can relate to. Who else makes him questions his methods like she does? You could argue that some of the companions do. Indeed, some do try. But part of being a companion is being awestruck by the Doctor and by his adventures and being compelled by this to travel with him. River isn't awestruck by the Doctor at all. Maybe because of her genetic makeup? Maybe its just her intended personality? And because he isn't a mystery to her, like he is to the rest of us, she can hold him accountable and question his methods and therefore make him hold himself accountable and question his own methods. Even in standalone episodes like, "A Town Called Mercy," we're seeing the effects of her on him.

You cite Bad Wolf as being good, whereas I associate that whole story line with what I consider to be one of the worst companions in Doctor Who history - Rose Tyler. The nice thing about companions is that they come and go and as fans, we all get a chance to loathe and adore. Quite frankly, I'm glad you enjoyed the Bad Wolf arc and I enjoyed something entirely different. The diversity of Doctor Who is one of the reasons it remains timeless and has been able to continuously cultivate a fan base.

I think you and many others are going to be very disappointed if you MUST have all these questions answered.

If she has no connection with Oswin, why bother having her in Asylum at all?

I'm quite suspicious about exactly how stand alone Asylum was,there were a couple of incongruous lines in the script about memory which ring alarm bells with me considering how important memory is in Moffats previous storylines.Why did the doctor tell Amy to make sure the Daleks remember her?Was Oswins 'remember me' before she destroyed the Asylum just coincidental?

Duh, like all female characters, she's secretly the Rani. Very secretly. So secretly, it will never even be addressed on the show.

Moffat is so hopeless. It worries me, all his twists seem strangely contrived. I couldn't stand Amy and Rory, so anything is an improvement on them. I must say Romana II and Zoe were always my faves, phoarr!

my reading of the situation is really quite simple doctor who really is more about the sidekicks than the doctor himself. shes clearly quite special so hes clearly going to go out his way to find her and been a time lord this is well within his means. maybe shes a modern day tom bombadil. the darleks have no power over her perhaps

You found Bad wolf REWARDING?!!?!? Are you freaking kidding me, it had no meaning, RTD didn't even know what it meant, and when the audience found out it was both a meaningless and pointless clue thrown out into the universe for no reason. Dear god internet, I despair, I really do.

I don't know what's the complaint...I think the episode "The Wedding of River Song" tidied up two great seasons...I was pleased.

Another intrusive mary sue story arc that we have to pretend we haven't guessed one the spoon feeding begins?


Considering the massive amounts of speculation and attention Doctor Who's storylines attract ,it's not surprising some people who pay attention to what's going on deduce how things are resolved,it's no reflection on Moffat's ability as a writer.It's probably deliberate that Moffat has suggested to me the increasing importance of memory as we approach an anniversary celebrating Doctor Who's history and i'm aware of this theme in his work at this time.

Well, I found Bad Wolf _relatively_ rewarding. It tied the series together and made sense at the end. After that:

Medusa Cascade/Missing Bees. Oh. I still couldn't tell you what this was about.

He will knock Four Times. Oh. This didn't actually cause the doctor's death, he chose himself to sacrifice himself to save Wilf. Not exactly a nemesis.

Cracks in the Universe. Oh. They were caused by something to do with the Tardis expoding. Which has been forgotten about and remains unexplained.

Death of the doctor. Oh. He swapped placed with a robot.

If Dr Who is going to do arcs, then do arcs. Currently it just feels like they pop open a fortune cookie at the start of the series and then attempt (badly) to fit it all in, just because they can.

she s jenny the doctors duaghter. steave moffet is the father of gorgia moffet who plalyed the doctors daughter. Plus jenny is really clever and she has to retun.

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