Doc­tor Who

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Why keep­ing Clara was a smart move for sea­son nine

As soon as we hit the old

Clara scene in “Last Christ­mas”, my heart sank. Not be­cause of the “Ooh Doc­tor, I’m so very old” make- up, but be­cause I thought I knew what was com­ing next… One ru­mour had been do­ing the rounds: Clara would die of old age with the Doc­tor at her side. And I didn’t want her to go.

That turned out to be mis­in­for­ma­tion, of course. But car­ing about Clara? What a turn up! By the end of Matt Smith’s fi­nal sea­son, I was con­vinced that New Who had cast its first Dodo – a com­pan­ion so un­mem­o­rable she didn’t even get a good­bye scene. Jenna Cole­man was charm­ing, but the char­ac­ter was generic, her only in­ter­est­ing fea­ture be­ing the mys­tery around her nu­mer­ous deaths.

It wasn’t un­til the ar­rival of Peter Ca­paldi’s Doc­tor that Clara fi­nally ar­rived for me. We fi­nally got to see the char­ac­ter’s per­son­al­ity. She’s clever, spiky, lov­ing and oc­ca­sion­ally ex­as­per­ated with the Doc­tor. She likes to have things her own way, which has an­noyed a few fans – but don’t we all? Cru­cially, Clara isn’t an enigma any more. She feels like a hu­man be­ing.

Her re­la­tion­ship with the Doc­tor has changed for the bet­ter too. The arc of sea­son eight served as a way to dis­man­tle and re­con­fig­ure their friend­ship. But by the end of “Last Christ­mas” there’s a sense of a re­newed trust and the prom­ise of ad­ven­tures to come. The Ca­paldi/ Cole­man combo re­ally does feel like an up­dated twist on the fa­mously strong Baker/ Sladen dou­ble- act of the ’ 70s and I’m de­lighted that we’re go­ing to have that for at least a lit­tle longer. Will Salmon

bonus fea­tures

It’s Wot­sis­name! Michael Troughton’s cast­ing in “Last Christ­mas” fol­lows his brother David’s ap­pear­ance in sea­son four clas­sic “Mid­night”. And, er, his dad be­ing the Sec­ond Doc­tor, ob­vi­ously. Deja Vu: That won­der­fully touch­ing scene of the Doc­tor help­ing old Clara pull a cracker is a mir­ror of a sim­i­lar scene in last year’s “Time Of The Doc­tor”. Per­haps we’ll get Missy as an OAP in next year’s Christ­mas spe­cial. Com­pan­ion po­ten­tial: If Jenna Cole­man does move on af­ter sea­son nine, the show ap­pears to have al­ready found a per­fect po­ten­tial re­place­ment. Faye Marsay as Shona was bril­liant. More of her, please!

A Christ­mas to re­mem­ber for Clara.

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