Speculative tabloid journalists working for the Mirror have written an article claiming that current Doctor Who companion Clara Oswald is leaving the series at Christmas. The Mirror allege that
“The conversations about Jenna’s exit have started, and a plan is in place which is being ironed out.”
There are no named sources and the BBC have refused to comment or confirm the story which leads me to believe that it simply is just speculation and that there’s no truth to it. This is the same newspaper that claimed that Peter Capaldi was only staying for one season because the BBC only do year-long contracts. This probably fake story has gone viral online within the fandom and creates a lot of traffic to the newspaper’s website. Other newspapers mostly tabloids like the Daily Mail, Daily Express but also the Independent have duplicated the story.
I hope that the story is not true because I believe that Clara could be a good companion but hasn’t been developed well.
I was really impressed by Clara in her debut episodes. I thought it was really clever to include her in an episode before her duration as a companion even began. The twist that she was inside a dalek was really intriguing: how could she be a future companion if she was within the shell of the Doctor’s alien enemy? Again, the Christmas episode where we see the Victorian incarnation of Clara as a governess who bumps into the Doctor again and sacrifices her life to save both the children she cares for and the Doctor made me even more curious about her character. Who was she? Why did she save the Doctor who she seemingly didn’t know each time she met him? How could she be a companion if she kept dying? Other parts of the episode I liked included the subversion of what we expect from the introduction of a companion. On seeing the Tardis for the first time Clara states “It’s smaller on the outside” instead of the usual surprise of “It’s bigger on the inside”. I liked the different perspective that she had which allowed her character to be introduced the way all companions without it feeling repetitive.
Clara’s series began with the Doctor wondering the same as the viewers. Who was the enigmatic Clara? The Bells of St John introduced modern day Clara, the incarnation who we see throughout the rest of series 7. I liked the pace of the episode and how the Doctor and Clara interacted with each other, meeting each other for the first time in 2013. She was fiesty and I felt that she could potentially challenge the Doctor. The impossible girl arc was really exciting – how could she keep saving the Doctor and why?
However, as the series went on, Clara just faded into the background. In the first half of the series with Amy and Rory, the series was filled with two-parters which stretched the narratives but in Clara’s half of the series all episodes were single episodes. I felt that for series 7, with the exception of the first and last episode, Clara was resigned to be an observer and her character which seemed so promising was not explored due to how short the episodes were and how much they needed to focus on the narrative. In the final episode, the impossible girl arc was resolved. To me it seemed a bit rushed. The theme had been forgotten during the series as Clara became less of an active companion and then suddenly it’s all resolved. The intrigue, the enigma, the excitement of her character is all gone within the duration of that episode as we find out that Clara has travelled into the Doctor’s timestream and made copies of herself to save him at different points of time. I felt that by the 50th and the 2013 Christmas episode Clara, who had such potential as a companion, was just plain and had no distinguishing features. Her only character arc had been resolved and she had no discernable character traits to interest the viewers.
Reports and interviews from the World Tour and all the upcoming promotion for series 8 have hinted at a different dynamic between the companion and the Doctor. There will be less of a romantic, flirtatious relationship between the Doctor and Clara. The dynamics will have changed and we could see Clara adjusting to the new Doctor during this series. It’s more likely that they will have a friendship than a relationship which will be great to have as it will be different to the conventional relationships of post-2005 Doctor Who. If this is true, I really hope that Clara doesn’t leave this Christmas. Reviews (spoiler-free) from people who have been to the World Tour premieres have said that the first episode ‘Deep Breath’ focuses on Clara and allows her character to be explored. If the whole series follows suit it would be great for her character to develop because initially I thought she had such great potential as a companion. I hope the rumours are false – this could be Clara’s series.