Back in 2014, with Doctor Who series 8 coming to an end in November of that year, it looked increasingly as though Jenna Coleman would be quitting the role of the Doctor’s companion, Clara. In fact, she was all set to leave following that year’s Christmas special, Last Christmas, before Coleman reversed her decision and stayed on for series nine of the show.
Steven Moffat, in a new chat with the Radio Times, has been talking about that time. He said that had Coleman departed at that point, “I vaguely had a set of thoughts about what the new companion would be like”.
But then he added that “I didn’t feel as though we were quite finished with Jenna and Clara, and I wasn’t convinced looking in Jenna’s eye that she was really ready to leave. And I don’t think anyone should leave Doctor Who until they’re really ready to leave”.
As such, “it wasn’t a massive surprise to me that she stayed. It was a bit of a surprise. We went for the Christmas special read-through, Last Christmas, with her leaving near the end. And it was in the conversation after the read-through that she said”.
Moffat, therefore, reworked things slightly to accommodate Clara staying on, noting that “if you’ve got a star like that, you keep a star like that! Of course you do!”.
As for the vague thoughts of who the companion would have been had Coleman left when originally planned, they would have been different from Pearl Mackie’s Bill, who ultimately joined the TARDIS crew in series 10. But maybe have had one or two things in common…