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Doctor Who is one of the longest-running television series ever produced. Although the stat is a bit of a cheat, as it went off the air for 16 years until being rebooted for the 21st century, the show has been a huge hit among modern audiences. Now, on the eve of the premiere of the ninth season, some major news about the future of the show has been released: Jenna-Louise Coleman will officially be leaving the role of companion Clara behind.
In an interview with the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show, Coleman confirmed rumors and spoke of her forthcoming exit from Doctor Who:
I have left the Tardis. It’s happened. I’ve filmed my last scenes…It was emotional. It’s been in the works for a very long time. Steven [Moffat] and I sat down a long time ago – a year ago, a year and a half ago – and tried to work out the best place to do it and the best place in which to tell a good story.
Clara has been one of the most notable companions of Nu Who. After Rose Tyler with Nine and Ten, Clara is the only companion to have spent a significant chunk of time with two incarnations of the Doctor, meeting both Eleven and Twelve.
Clara has also been the longest-running companion of the reboot. Companions have stuck around longer under Steven Moffat’s regime as showrunner than under Russell T. Davies from Seasons 1 – 4, but Jenna-Louise Coleman effectively outpaced Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvil’s Amy and Rory with the most episodes under her belt.
Even diehard Who and Clara fans won't be able to begrudge Coleman for her decision to leave, however. She has landed the role as a young Queen Victoria in an ITV series that promises to lead her to bigger and brighter things in the future.
No details have yet been officially released about the circumstances of Clara’s departure, but the odds are not in her favor of her getting a wholly happily-ever-after. With the exception of Martha Jones back in Season 3, no regular companion has left the Doctor without a sequence designed to have audiences sniffling.
Who can forget Rose being trapped in a parallel world? Or Donna having her memories of her time with the Doctor wiped? Or Amy and Rory being swept back in time to live in the first half of the 20th century, unable to have children or communicate with their loved ones in the 21st? A consistent trend that is surprisingly tragic for such a fun show is that being a companion takes a toll, and we can only hope that Clara makes her exit without too much trauma so we can enjoy our time left with her in Season 9.
Doctor Who is set to premiere on Saturday, September 19 at 9 p.m. ET on BBC America.