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
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.