Jenna-Louise Coleman (born 27 April 1986),[1] known as Jenna Coleman,[2][3] is an English actress. She is best known for her role as Clara Oswald in the British television series Doctor Who and Jasmine Thomas in the British soap opera Emmerdale.

Coleman was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, and began her acting career at a young age as a member of a theatre company called "In Yer Space."[4]

While auditioning for drama schools in 2005, Coleman was chosen to play Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale in 2005. She received critical acclaim for performance and was nominated for the Most Popular Newcomer award at the 2007 National Television Awards.[5] She went on to play "hard girl" Lindsay James in the BBC school-based drama series Waterloo Road, Susan Brown in a BBC Four television adaptation of the John Braine novel Room at the Top, Annie Desmond in Julian Fellowes' four part mini-series Titanic, and Rosie in Stephen Poliakoff's original drama series Dancing on the Edge.[6] Coleman made her feature film debut in 2011 as the character Connie in Captain America: The First Avenger.[7]

Since 2012, the actress has portrayed Clara Oswald, companion to the Eleventh[8] and later Twelfth Doctor in the science fiction series Doctor Who. Between filming series of Doctor Who she appeared as Lydia Wickham in the BBC drama Death Comes to Pemberley.


 [hide*1 Early life

Early life[edit]Edit

Coleman was born in Blackpool, Lancashire to Karen and Keith Coleman. She has an older brother, Ben.[9] She attended Arnold School, where she was head girl. Discussing her role on Emmerdale, Coleman said that she regrets not having a conventional university experience. While at school, Coleman was a member of a theatre company called "In Yer Space", 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.[10]


Whilst auditioning for drama schools, Coleman landed the part of Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale in 2005. At the 2007 British Soap Awards, she was nominated for the Best Newcomer award, and at the 2007 National Television Awards, she was nominated for the Most Popular Newcomer award.[5] At the 2009 British Soap Awards, she was nominated for the Best Actress, Sexiest Female, and Best Dramatic Performance awards.[11] 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 drama seriesWaterloo Road as "hard girl" Lindsay James.[6] As she was 23 at the time of her casting, Coleman found the experience of playing a schoolgirl "surreal".[12]

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.[13][14] 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.[4] In 2011, she made her feature film debut in Captain America: The First Avenger. She also landed the part 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".[15]

Coleman provided the voice for the character Melia in the English dub of the 2011 video game Xenoblade Chronicles. In 2012, Coleman was cast as Rosie in Stephen Poliakoff's original drama seriesDancing on the Edge, which follows the fortunes of a black jazz band in the 1930s. The show aired on BBC Two in February 2013. 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).[8] Moffat chose her for the role because she worked the best alongside Smith and could talk faster than him.[16]She auditioned for the role in secrecy, pretending it was for something called Men on Waves (an anagram for "Woman Seven", as she would first appear in the show's seventh series).[17]

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, playing Oswin Oswald, who dies at the end of the episode.[18] She subsequently debuted as a series regular in the Christmas special episode "The Snowmen", playing the Victorian governess and barmaidClara Oswin Oswald; like her previous incarnation, the character dies. At the end of that episode, Coleman is seen playing a third version of the character, this time from contemporary London and named simply Clara Oswald. The Doctor finds the third version of her, and from the episode "The Bells of Saint John", this version begins her travels as the Doctor's regular companion,[19] including after his regeneration into the Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, in the 2013 Christmas special episode "The Time of the Doctor."[20]

As of 20 June 2013, she began using the name Jenna Coleman for stage credits, having previously used Jenna-Louise Coleman. She was first credited as Jenna Coleman in Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, which aired on 4 August 2013.[21][2]

She starred as Lydia Wickham in the adaptation of Death Comes to Pemberley[22] The three episodes were shown on BBC One during Christmas 2013.[23]

Personal life[edit]Edit

Coleman has been in a relationship with Richard Madden since late 2011.[24]



Year Title Role Notes
2005–2009 Emmerdale Jasmine Thomas 168 episodes
2009 Waterloo Road Lindsay James 9 episodes
2012 Titanic Annie Desmond 4 episodes
Room at the Top Susan Brown 2 episodes
Doctor Who Oswin Oswald 1 episode, "Asylum of the Daleks"
Clara Oswin Oswald Christmas Special, "The Snowmen"
2013–present Clara Oswald Series 72013 specialsSeries 8
2013 Dancing on the Edge Rosie Williams 5 episodes
Doctor Who Prom Clara Oswald/Herself Featuring music from Doctor Who
Doctor Who: The Ultimate Guide Clara Oswald/Herself Celebration of Doctor Who
The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot Herself 1 episode
Death Comes to Pemberley[25] Lydia Wickham 3 episodes


Year Title Role Notes
2011 Captain America: The First Avenger Connie
2012 Imaginary Forces Ellen Short film

Video games[edit]Edit

Year Title Role Notes
2010 Xenoblade Chronicles Princess Melia Antiqua English dub of Japanese game
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