Jenna Coleman

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Jenna Coleman
Jenna Coleman facing front.jpg
Coleman in May 2013
Jenna-Louise Coleman

(1986-04-27) 27 April 1986 (age 35)
  • Actress
  • voice actress
Years active2005–present

Jenna-Louise Coleman (born 27 April 1986), credited since 2013 as Jenna Coleman, is an English actress. She is known for playing Jasmine Thomas in the soap opera Emmerdale , Clara Oswald in the science-fiction series Doctor Who , Queen Victoria in the period drama Victoria , Joanna Lindsay in the crime miniseries The Cry , and Marie-Andrée Leclerc in the crime miniseries The Serpent .


Early life

Jenna-Louise Coleman [1] was born in Blackpool on 27 April 1986, [2] [3] the daughter of Karen and Keith Coleman. Her father is a joiner and fitter of bar and restaurant interiors. [4] [5] She has an older brother named Ben, a joiner. [6] [7] Her grandmother named her after the character of Jenna Wade from the American TV series Dallas . [8] She attended Arnold School in Blackpool, where she was head girl. [9] While at school, she was a member of the theatre company In Yer Space, [10] with whom 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. [11] She was offered a place to study English at the University of York, but turned it down in order to accept the role of Jasmine Thomas in the soap opera Emmerdale . [12]


2005–2012: Early career

Coleman in May 2013 Jenna Coleman Peabody 2013 (cropped).jpg
Coleman in May 2013

Coleman landed the part of Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale in 2005. [12] At the British Soap Awards 2007, she was nominated for the "Best Newcomer" award, and at the National Television Awards 2006, she was nominated for the "Most Popular Newcomer" award. [13] At the 2009 British Soap Awards, she was nominated for the "Best Actress", "Sexiest Female", and "Best Dramatic Performance" awards. [14] 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 school-based drama series, Waterloo Road , as "hard girl" Lindsay James. [15] As she was 23 at the time of her casting, Coleman found the experience of playing a schoolgirl "surreal". [16]

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 . [17] [18] 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. [10] In 2011, she made her feature film debut with a small role in Captain America: The First Avenger . [12] [19] She also got the role 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". [20]

She starred as Lydia Wickham in the adaptation of Death Comes to Pemberley . [21] The three episodes were shown on BBC One during Christmas 2013. [22]

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. [20]

2012–2016: Doctor Who

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). [23] Moffat chose her for the role because she worked the best alongside Smith and could talk faster than he could. [24] She auditioned for the role in secret, under the pretence of auditioning for Men on Waves (an anagram for "Woman Seven": she would first appear in the show's seventh series). [25]

Coleman in July 2015 Jenna Coleman, SDCC 2015 by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Coleman in July 2015

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. [26] Coleman subsequently debuted as a series regular in the Christmas special episode "The Snowmen" as Victorian governess and barmaid Clara Oswin Oswald. In that episode, Coleman also played a third version of the character, a resident of twenty-first-century London named simply Clara Oswald. Beginning in "The Bells of Saint John", this version begins her travels as the Doctor's regular companion, [27] including after his regeneration into the Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, in the 2013 Christmas special episode "The Time of the Doctor." [28] In the 2014 Christmas special episode "Last Christmas", it was revealed that Coleman would remain in the role of Clara for Series 9. [29] 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. [30] [31]

She returned to the show for Twelfth Doctor's last episode "Twice Upon a Time" where she made a cameo appearance; that episode, Doctor Who's 2017 Christmas special, aired the same evening as the first Christmas special for Victoria. She was first credited on screen as Jenna Coleman in Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, which aired on 4 August 2013. [1] [32]

2015–present: Victoria and other projects

In 2015, Coleman was cast in ITV's eight-part drama following the reign of the British monarch and Empress of India, Queen Victoria. [33] The actress confessed that she was not fully 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. [34] She argues that this role meant she was able to break out of her supposed 'box' as a northern working-class character that Emmerdale put her in. [34] Victoria premiered on 28 August 2016 on ITV, [35] and in September 2016, ITV renewed Victoria for a second series. [36] A Christmas special for 2017 was also commissioned and a third series was announced in December 2017. [37]

In 2017, Coleman became the narrator for a Royal Caribbean UK advertising campaign. [38] On 8 January 2018, Coleman was confirmed to play Joanna in the four-part BBC drama The Cry , an adaptation of the 2013 novel by Helen FitzGerald. [39]

In September 2018, the Old Vic Theatre announced on their website that Coleman would star in a new production of All My Sons in 2019, [40] [41] which ran from 13 April to 8 June 2019 [42] and included a cinema screening via National Theatre Live on 14 May 2019. [43] In February 2019, it was announced that Coleman would make a guest appearance in an episode from series five of the dark comedy series Inside No. 9 , with an expected broadcast date later in the year. [44] Series five returned to the screen on 3 February 2020. [45]

On 11 May 2019, in an interview with Graham Norton on his BBC Radio 2 program, Coleman indicated her intent to return to Victoria for a fourth series should it be renewed by ITV, but stated that the show will be taking "a bit of a breather" before production resumes. [46] In the same year 2019, Coleman was selected for the role of Marie-Andrée Leclerc in the Netflix and BBC drama The Serpent , a dramatisation of the life of convicted serial killer Charles Sobhraj. [47] Production of The Serpent began in Bangkok in September 2019 and continued into 2020, with an expected BBC broadcast later in the year. [48] As with most other film and television production, work on The Serpent was suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming resumed on 17 August in the UK and was completed on 28 August. Due to the delay in filming, the broadcast date for The Serpent was moved to 2021. [49] It premiered on 1 January 2021 on BBC One. [50]

During the pandemic, Coleman participated in The Remote Read, a planned series of online drama performances to raise funds for theatrical workers left unemployed by the pandemic. [51] The first production under this banner, an adaptation of Tom Stoppard's A Separate Peace (1966), was transmitted via the Zoom videoconferencing platform on 2 May 2020. [52] Coleman also recorded the short story Pressures, Residential by Philip Hensher, in support of UNICEF UK, as well as The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies by Beatrix Potter, as part of a collection of audiobooks in Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales. [53]

Nine years after its original English release, Coleman reprised her role as Melia in the video game Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition which features a brand new epilogue taking place after the main story. [54]

In 2021, Coleman was cast in the dark comedy Klokkenluider, Dutch for 'Whistleblower'. Filming began on 28 February in East Sussex, for a three-week shoot in a COVID-secure "bubble". [55]

Coleman would also be playing the lead role of Joan Bright and would be the executive producer of the historical drama The War Rooms, which will tell the untold story of the women who worked in Winston Churchill’s secret Whitehall bunker during World War II. [56]

That same year, Coleman was chosen to play Johanna Constantine, the great-great-great-grandmother of John Constantine in DC Comics' The Sandman TV series. [57]

Charity work

Coleman has been involved with charity work in South Africa raising awareness of HIV with One To One Children's Fund, for which she is an ambassador. [58] She is also an ambassador for Place2Be, a charity providing emotional and therapeutic services in schools. [59] Coleman has also regularly supported Comic Relief and Red Nose Day. [60]



2011 Captain America: The First Avenger ConnieSuperheroBrief appearance [19]
2016 Me Before You Katrina ClarkRomance
2019Corporate MonsterEllenHorrorShort film
TBA Klokkenluider FloDark comedy [55]


2005–2009 Emmerdale Jasmine Thomas [19] Soap operaSeries regular [19]
2009 Waterloo Road Lindsay James [15] DramaRecurring role [15]
2012 Titanic Annie DesmondDramaRecurring role [20]
2012 Room at the Top Susan BrownDramaTelevision film [12]
2012–2015, 2017 Doctor Who Oswin Oswald / Clara Oswin Oswald / Clara Oswald Science-fictionMain role (Series 79), 2017 Special; 38 episodes [lower-alpha 1]
2013 Dancing on the Edge Rosie WilliamsDramaRecurring role [20]
2013 The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot HerselfComedy Doctor Who comedy spoof for the 50th Anniversary special [61]
2013 Death Comes to Pemberley Lydia Wickham [62] MysteryMain role [62]
2016 Thunderbirds Are Go BainesAnimationVoice; episode: "Earthbreaker" [63] [64]
2016–2019 Victoria Queen Victoria Period drama25 episodes [65]
2018 The Cry Joanna LindsayMysteryMain role [19]
2020 Inside No. 9 BeattieDark comedyEpisode: "Death Be Not Proud" [44] [45]
2021 The Serpent Marie-Andrée LeclercCrimeMain role [47]
2021Billion Pound Bond StreetNarratorDocumentaryNarrator [66]
TBAThe War Rooms Joan Bright Historical DramaLead actor and executive producer [56]
TBA The Sandman Johanna Constantine I / Johanna Constantine II FantasyMain role [67]


1996Summer HolidayBridesmaid [68] [69]
2004Crystal ClearThomasinaIn Yer Space [70]
2009 Jack and the Beanstalk Princess Apricot Theatre Royal, Nottingham [71]
2019 All My Sons Ann Deever Old Vic Theatre [72]
2020A Separate PeaceNurse Maggie CoatesVirtual play; broadcast online [52] [73]

Video games

2005 Drakengard 2 ManahUncredited
2010 Xenoblade Chronicles Princess Melia AntiquaEnglish dub
2015 Lego Dimensions Clara Oswald Main game and Doctor Who expansion
2020 Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition Princess Melia AntiquaEnglish dub, includes new "Future Connected" epilogue


2013 The Secret Garden NarratorAbridged reading [74]
2013 Doctor Who: Destiny of the Doctor Alice Watson / Eleventh Doctor Episode: "The Time Machine" [75]
2016 A Christmas Carol BelleDigital release
2020Pressures, ResidentialNarratorIn aid of UNICEF UK
2020Beatrix Potter: The Complete TalesNarratorEpisode: "The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies" [53]

Awards and nominations

2006 National Television Awards Most Popular NewcomerEmmerdaleNominated
The British Soap Awards Best Newcomer Nominated
2009Best Dramatic Performance [76] Nominated
Sexiest Female [76] Nominated
Best Actress [76] Nominated
2013Behind the Voice Actors AwardsBest Female Vocal Performance in a Video GameXenoblade ChroniclesNominated
Best Vocal Ensemble in a Video GameNominated
NAVGTR AwardsSupporting Performance in a DramaNominated
Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards Favourite UK ActressDoctor WhoNominated
TV Choice Awards Best ActressNominated
TV Times AwardsFavourite NewcomerWon
2014 Glamour Awards UK TV ActressWon
2015 BAFTA Cymru Best Actress [77] Doctor Who: "Kill the Moon"Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress on Television [78] Doctor WhoNominated
TV Choice AwardsBest ActressNominated
2017 Golden Nymph Awards Outstanding Actress in a Drama TV Series [79] VictoriaWon
National Television AwardsBest Drama PerformanceNominated
2018 Movieguide Awards Grace Award for Most Inspiring Performance for TV [80] Nominated
National Television AwardsBest Drama PerformanceNominated
Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year AwardsTV Actress of the Year [81] The CryWon
I Talk Telly AwardsBest Dramatic Performance [82] Won
2019 Logie Awards Most Outstanding ActressWon
Most Popular ActressNominated
BAFTA Scotland Awards Best Actress in Television Nominated
International Emmy Awards Best Actress Nominated
AACTA Awards Best Lead Actress in a Television DramaNominated
2020National Television AwardsDrama PerformanceVictoriaLonglisted
2021National Television AwardsDrama Performance [83] The SerpentPending


  1. Count does not include several additional "mini-episodes" produced for DVD and special events.

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