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Doctor Who Companion Profile: Clara Oswald

Doctor Who Companion Profile: Clara Oswald

Jenna Coleman as Doctor Who Companion Clara Oswald

Clara Oswald

Portrayed by: Jenna Coleman

Doctor(s): Eleventh Doctor

Tenure: 11+ stories, first “Asylum of the Daleks” (Sept, 2012), then from “The Snowmen” (Dec, 2012) to present

Background: Many versions of Clara have existed in the Doctor’s timeline. The first incarnation that we meet is Oswin Oswald (“The Asylum of the Daleks”), the Junior Entertainment Manager of a spaceship that crashed onto the Asylum of the Daleks who has been turned into a Dalek herself, but has created a fantasy/coping mechanism that she is hidden in her ship making souffles. Next is Clara Oswin Oswald (“The Snowmen”), a governess in nineteenth century London who moonlights as a barmaid. The final version we meet is Clara Oswald (“The Bells of Saint John” onward), the original and a babysitter in 21st century London. All three have had adventures with the Doctor, during which the first two both died. The Doctor brings Clara with him onto the TARDIS in the 21st century in the hopes of discovering more about who she is and how and why she keeps showing up in other times.

Family/Friends: The only people from Clara’s life that have appeared on the show are the two children she babysits for, Angie and Artie. Her mother Ellie and father Dave’s first meeting has been shown several times, as have a few shots of them cradling her as a baby, but very little is known about either of them, other than that her mother died when she was 16.

Personality: Clara is, as the Doctor puts it, “Short, bossy, and your nose is all funny”.  Beyond that, Clara is empathetic, intuitive, and often times belligerent, willing to tell off the Doctor one moment and trust him implicitly the next. Despite which version appears on the Doctor’s path, Clara herself remains the same.

Special Skills: Very talented with computers, bordering into hacking.

Best Story (so far): With Clara’s run ongoing, it’s a tad bit silly picking a best or worst story, but that being said, “Nightmare in Silver” is perhaps the best. Clara and her chemistry with the Doctor is really established at this point and the groove of the season is clearly felt. It also shows Clara independent of the Doctor for a good section of the story and we get to see her shine as a strong, confident woman who’s more than capable of bossing others around.

Worst Story (so far): This is a tough one, but “The Bells of Saint John” is the worst for the sole fact that it is still coming off of the loss of Amy and Rory and the villain in the shape of WiFi is a particularly weak one. Through no fault of Clara’s, the story’s just not very good and there’s no fixing that.

Highlights of Tenure: Clara’s speech to the Old God in “Rings of Akhaten” is moving and a great moment for her. Also, The TARDIS refusing to cooperate with Clara is always humorous.

Lowlights of Tenure: The mystery surrounding Clara’s different personas is a major wrinkle in the character and problematic since that mystery makes up so much of who she is.

Memorable Quotes:

Clara: “I don’t know where I am. I just know I’m running. Sometimes it’s like I’ve lived a thousand lives in a thousand places. I’m born, I live, I die. And always there’s the Doctor. Always I’m running to save the Doctor again and again and again. And he hardly ever hears me. But I’ve always been there… Right from the day he started running.”  “The Name of the Doctor”

Artie: “How can it be your mum’s soufflé if you’re making it?”
Clara: “Because, Artie, it’s like my mum always said: The soufflé isn’t the soufflé. The soufflé is the recipe.”  “The Name of the Doctor”

Other Notes: Clara is the current Companion and will soon be traveling with Twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi. Hopefully we’ll see more characterization of her now that her overarching mystery is resolved and once Capaldi officially comes on board.