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New Dr Who Companion announced…

(Quick note: I know this primarily an astronomy/stargazing blog, but one of the other great passions in my life is the TV series Dr Who. This post is about that show, so if you’re not a fan, or if you don’t ‘get’ Dr Who, or the people who follow it, this might be one to skip because it won’t mean much to you and it’s not really written for you anyway. And seriously, if you’re one of those people who feels moved to leave sarky or offensive comments on people’s blogs, don’t bother, I’ll just delete you, ok?)

Today was a big day – no, a huge day – for Dr Who fans, both in the UK and around the world. Ever since it was announced a couple of months ago that Karen Gillan was leaving the show during the next series, series 7 of the “New Who” era, the Big Question has been “Who will replace Amy Pond in the TARDIS?” Who would the new Companion be?

Speculation was, of course, rife, with lots of names flying around. “Sally Sparrow will come back!” some predicted (not likely mate, not when the actress who played her, carey Mulligan, is now a huge Hollywood-class star); “The Doctor’s Daughter will be the new Conpanion!” others declared (not likely mate, not when Georgia Moffat has just had a baby, she’ll be a bit busy don’t you think?). There was a quite a buzz for a while about BBC comedienne Miranda Hart replacing Karen Gillan (at first I thought dear god, no…having found her spectacularly unfunny in her own series “Miranda”, and shuddering with the memory of her part in the Beeb’s short-lived “sci fi comedy” Hyperdrive, I had visions of the new companion being Bonnie Langford all over again, then I saw her in that Midwife thing on BBBC1 and it turns out she’s a really good actress, but I still really, really didn’t want her coming up against Daleks and Weeping Angels) but that buzz had started to fade by the time today’s press announcement was scheduled, and yesterdayWho fans around the world were all very excited by the news to come…

I woke up this morning and, as ever, went on to Twitter to catch up with stuff, and there were lots of posts from people looking forward to the morning’s press event, scheduled for 10.30am, all wondering who the new Companion would turn out to be. “I bet the news is out already,” I thought, “someone’s bound to have broken the story somewhere…” so I did a quick Google search for ‘Dr Who+new companion” and yep, there it was, on The Sun’s website – the identity of the new Companion…

When Karen Gillan strides away from the Dr Who set on those long, long legs, red hair blowing around her head like a flaming aurora (ok, ok, I admit it, I’m a huge fan!!) her place in the TARDIS will be taken by… roll on the drums please… Jenna Louise Coleman.

WHO?

Jenna (and I’m going to call her JLC from now on, I’m not writing out her full name every time, that would take hours!!) is no stranger to popular TV. She has appeared on the long-running ITV soap “Emmerdale” (playing a glamourous young lesbian… boy, young Who fans looking for clips of her on YouTube are in for a surprise… some interesting questions for their parents there, I think!)…

…and on the Beeb’s ‘Grange Hill for Grown Ups’ school drama “Waterloo Road”, too…

…so she knows what to do in front of a camera. She’s actually on our screens this coming weekend, in ITV’s new “Titanic” series (or “Downton Abbey On Sea” as it’s been called in some quarters), but winning the role of The Doctor’s new Companion will catapult her into a different league. I wonder if the poor girl – who must be absolutely delighted – has any idea what she’s let herself in for, or how much her life will change?

What kind of a Companion will JLC’s character be? Well, showrunner Steven Moffatt has said already that the new Companion will be an alien, so it’ll be interesting to see if she’s a 100% human-looking alien, or if she’ll be just a little bit alien – like a Vulcan or a Klingon – or if she’ll be wearing rather more exotic prosphetics…

But that’s all for the future. Before then, we have the exit of Amy Pond to get through. I have to be honest, I’m dreading that. Not as much as I’m dreading the eventual farewell of Matt Smith, but almost as much. Amy has totally, totally captured me as a character, and Karen Gillan has really impressed me as an actress, too. Some of the scenes involving Amy have been among the very best ever seen in and writtten for Who: fiercely defending her baby in “A Good Man Goes To War”; meeting her older/alternate self in “The Girl Who Waited”, and many others too. Ok, she was let down badly in a few episodes by the script (yes, you at the back there, “Black Pearl”, I’m talking about you… even though she looked hot as a pirate, I thought…”) but in general she shone like a supernova seen through the TARDIS’ open door…

 

I’m going to miss Amy Pond SO much. But the key thing about Who is that it changes its line-up frequently, keeping the show fresh. Doctors regenerate, a “new man” every time, and their Companions come and go. Usually they “go” gently, after a touching farewell scene, but I get the distinct impression Amy will not go out like that. I think they’re actually going to kill her off, to make her exit as memorable as possible, to burn it and her character into the history of Who and leave the Doctor heartbroken, too. If Amy died, surely he’ll be so distraught he’ll want nothing to do with humans for a while. That would make taking an alien as his new Companion perfect sense, wouldn’t it..?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see how it all pans out. In the meantime, everyone, please welcome the new Companion to the Whoniverse… 🙂

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