It’s a double whammy today as we celebrate the birthday of not one, but two of the most influential people in recent Doctor Who history. The lovely Jenna Coleman and the legendary Russell T Davies!
Previously Jasmine Thomas in ITV soap Emmerdale, Jenna Coleman – who turns 31 today – had an unconventional introduction to Doctor Who. She was announced in early 2012 as Karen Gillan’s successor with her debut due in that year’s Christmas special. But, in Asylum of the Daleks, she made a surprise appearance as Oswin Oswald, affectionately known as “soufflé girl”. Despite The Doctor’s best efforts, however, she turned out to be a Dalek – and died. She then reappeared as Clara Oswin Oswald in The Snowmen, bringing The Doctor out of retirement to fend off the Great Intelligence. But, again, she died. It was not until The Bells of Saint John that she (now just Clara Oswald) became a full-time companion. Eventually we discovered that she was born to save The Doctor by splintering herself throughout his time stream.
Since then, Jenna’s character has played a significant role in the Doctor Who mythos. In addition to fragmenting herself in The Name of the Doctor, she persuaded The Doctor to save Gallifrey in The Day of the Doctor. She also convinced the Time Lords to grant him a new regeneration cycle in The Time of the Doctor. After The Eleventh Doctor regenerated into the Twelfth, Clara took some time to adjust. But they soon rekindled their friendship and recklessly flew off on a whole new set of adventures. This would become a toxic relationship that led to them becoming the prophesised “Hybrid”.
“Let me be brave…”
In fact, Jenna had just as many exits from the show as she had entrances. At first, Clara seemingly left after a bust-up with The Doctor in Kill the Moon. She was then due to leave in both Death in Heaven and Last Christmas. But, against all expectations, Jenna decided to stay on for another year. Clara finally met her end in Face the Raven… only to be rescued in Series 9 finale Hell Bent. This was a bittersweet tale that concluded with her flying off in her own TARDIS with Ashildr/Me.
As the longest serving modern companion, Jenna became a fan favourite and is sorely missed now she has left the show. Like Clara though, she’s already moved on to new horizons. Currently she plays the title role in ITV’s hit period drama Victoria. She also starred in the 2016 film Me Before You. We wish her all the best for her future projects – run you clever fans, and remember her!
Russell T Davies
From the woman born to save The Doctor to the man who saved Doctor Who. Russell T Davies celebrates his 54th birthday today! An acclaimed writer, Davies made his name with Queer as Folk and Casanova (starring Tenth Doctor David Tennant). Eventually he spearheaded the revival of Doctor Who in 2005 with Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston! Now over a decade into its modern era, Doctor Who has grown into a global phenomenon. This would never have happened without the hard work of this dedicated showrunner. Fittingly, he was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to drama, just before announcing his decision to leave the series in the hands of Steven Moffat.
During his 2005-2010 tenure as, Davies was a busy man indeed. Not only did he produce four series of Doctor Who (plus Specials!), he was the mastermind behind two of its spin-offs – Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. Both of these would eventually cross over into the main show in 2008 finale The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End. He also wrote some of the most memorable stories from the modern era. Rose, Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways, Doomsday, and The End of Time were some big-hitting episodes. But Davies also excelled on a smaller scale with effective episodes like Turn Left and Midnight. We’re sure fans would love to see Riussell come back to write again in the future.
Since leaving Doctor Who, Russell produced sci-fi series Wizards v Aliens and the three-pronged Cucumber, Banana, and Tofu. His legacy in the Whoniverse can be enjoyed in The Writer’s Tale, a fascinating and highly recommended book for Doctor Who fans and budding writers alike. What else can be said, other than we hope his birthday is as great as the impact he made on the world of Doctor Who!