The best shows are the ones that can adapt and move on in the face of change, but that doesn’t always make it easier when the changes happen to be huge. BBC’s Doctor Who wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t capable of drastic changes on just about every front. Still, major character departures can be heartbreaking for fans, especially when we’ve gotten used to having somebody around. Who star Peter Capaldi recently ran into this problem when the time came for his Twelfth Doctor to say goodbye to Jenna-Louise Coleman’s Clara.
In an interview with The Mirror, Peter Capaldi had this to say about his reaction to the departure of the Doctor’s current companion from the TARDIS:
I don’t usually get weepy when I’m working but I found it really sad to say goodbye to her.
It’s hard to blame Capaldi for being a touch weepy about Coleman leaving the show; Clara was the first and only companion to the Twelfth Doctor. For two seasons, Capaldi and Coleman together have been the inhabitants of the TARDIS. I don't feel that and Doctor Who viewer ever forgets his or her first Doctor, and the same is apparently true for each Doctor and his first companion. The grief of a Time Lord can be a terrible thing to see, and the actors playing the Doctor since the show’s reboot in 2005 have been more than capable of bringing out the waterworks.
Christopher Eccleston’s Nine was outlasted by companion Rose, but David Tennant’s Ten was not so lucky. His farewell to Rose in Bad Wolf Bay can still wrench tears from even the driest of eyes. Eleven had it no easier, and Matt Smith was never more tragic than when he lost Amy and Rory. With Clara leaving the TARDIS in a far more permanent way, we can only imagine how Capaldi’s Twelve will wreck our hearts. After all, he’s not the only one who got used to having Clara around.
Clara has been the longest-running companion of the Doctor Who reboot, surpassing even original Eleven companion Amy Pond in episode count. Spanning two Doctors, three seasons, and thirty-eight episodes by the end of her run, Jenna Coleman’s Clara has been a constant on a show that is always changing. Her absence will certainly be felt.
Sadly, we will be feeling her absence sooner rather than later. Clara is set to make her final exit before the end of the ninth season, and there isn’t a whole lot of wiggle room left for us to enjoy her as companion. Peter Capaldi’s admission that even he was moved to tears despite his general non-weepiness promises that her swan song should be an all-around heartbreaker.
You can catch new episodes of Doctor Who on Saturday nights at 9 p.m. ET on BBC America.