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Birth Name: Jenna-Louise Coleman
Birthday: 27 April 1986
Height: 5′ 2″ (1,57 m)

Jenna Coleman was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, the daughter of Karen and Keith Coleman. She has an older brother named Ben. She attended Arnold School, where she was head girl. She has stated that she regrets not having a conventional university experience. While at school, she was a member of the theatre company In Yer Space, with which 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. In an interview with the Radio Times in 2015, she revealed that her Grand Mother had named her Jenna after the character of Jenna Wade played by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley in the 80’s hit American drama series Dallas.

Whilst auditioning for drama schools, Jenna 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 2006 National Television Awards, she was nominated for the Most Popular Newcomer award. At the 2009 British Soap Awards, she was nominated for the Best Actress, Sexiest Female, and Best Dramatic Performance awards. She received a nomination for the Best Actress award from the TV Choice Awards. In May 2009, it was announced that she would be joining BBC drama series Waterloo Road as “hard girl” Lindsay James. As she was 23 at the time of her casting, Jenna found the experience of playing a schoolgirl “surreal”.

In December 2010, it was announced that Jenna would be playing Susan Brown in a BBC Four television adaptation of the John Braine novel Room at the Top. 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. 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”.

Jenna Coleman provided the voice for the character Melia in the English dub of the 2011 video game Xenoblade Chronicles. In 2012, she was cast as Rosie in Stephen Poliakoff’s original drama series Dancing on the Edge, which follows the fortunes of a black jazz band in the 1930s. The show aired on BBC Two in February 2013. She starred as Lydia Wickham in the adaptation of Death Comes to Pemberley. The three episodes were shown on BBC One during Christmas 2013.

On 21 March 2012, Doctor Who producer Steven Moffat confirmed at a press conference that Jenna Coleman would play the companion of the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith). Moffat chose her for the role because she worked the best alongside Smith and could talk faster than he could. She auditioned for the role in secret, under the pretense of auditioning for Men on Waves (an anagram for “Woman Seven”: she would first appear in the show’s seventh series).

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 as Oswin Oswald, a guest character who dies at the conclusion of the episode. She subsequently debuted as a series regular in the Christmas special episode “The Snowmen” as Victorian governess and barmaid Clara Oswin Oswald; like Oswin Oswald, she died. At the end of that episode, Jenna is seen playing a third version of the character, a resident of contemporary London named simply Clara Oswald. Beginning in “The Bells of Saint John”, this version begins her travels as the Doctor’s regular companion, including after his regeneration into the Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, in the 2013 Christmas special episode “The Time of the Doctor.” In the 2014 Christmas special episode “Last Christmas”, it was revealed that Jenna would remain in the role of Clara for Series 9. However, the ninth series was her last, as she had decided to leave the show to take on a role as Queen Victoria in an ITV production.

As of 12 May 2013, she began using the name Jenna Coleman professionally, with the shorter credit being first used when she appeared as a presenter for the 2013 BAFTA Television Awards, and it was made official on 7 June 2013 when she was introduced with the shorter name during a visit to BBC Broadcasting House by Queen Elizabeth II. She was first credited on screen as Jenna Coleman in Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, which aired on 4 August 2013.

In 2016, Jenna Coleman starred in ITV’s eight-part drama Victoria, following the reign of the British monarch and Empress of India, Queen Victoria. She confessed that she was not totally informed about Victorian history, but researched the role. When interviewed for BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, she expressed her admiration for the monarch.

She argues that this role meant she was able to breakout of her supposed ‘box’ as a northern working class character that Emmerdale put her in. Victoria premiered on 28 August 2016 on ITV, and in September 2016, ITV renewed Victoria for a second series.

Trivia

In a relationship with actor Richard Madden since late 2011.
Close friends with her former Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi.
Close friends with her former Emmerdale Farm co-star Sammy Winward and Titanic mini series co-star Perdita Weeks.

Quotes

There’s not much TV these days where you really get that element of surprise. There are so many spoilers all the time.

I’d love to work across all three fields – theatre, film and TV.

I’d love to be a Bond Girl.

I like period drama because everyone is so restrained, but they have all these emotions raging underneath.

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