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Jenna Coleman
Jenna Coleman 2016.jpg
Coleman at the MagicCity ComicCon (2016)
Jenna-Louise Coleman

(1986-04-27) 27 April 1986 (age 32)
Blackpool, Lancashire, England
EducationArnold School
Years active2005–present

Jenna-Louise Coleman (born 27 April 1986),[1] professionally known as Jenna Coleman,[2][3] is an English actress. Notable for her work in British television, she is best known for her roles as Jasmine Thomas in the soap opera Emmerdale (2005–2009), Clara Oswald, companion to the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors in the science fiction series Doctor Who (2012–2015, 2017), Queen Victoria in the ITV biographical drama series Victoria (2016–present), and for her leading role in The Cry.

Coleman was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, and began her acting career at an early age as a member of a theatre company called In Yer Space.[4] While auditioning for drama schools in 2005, she was chosen to play Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale. She received critical acclaim for her performance and was nominated for the Most Popular Newcomer award at the 2006 National Television Awards.[5]

Coleman went on to play "hard girl" Lindsay James in the BBC school-based drama series Waterloo Road (2009), Susan Brown in a BBC Four television adaptation of the John Braine novel Room at the Top (2012), Annie Desmond in Julian Fellowes' four part mini-series Titanic (2012) and Rosie in Stephen Poliakoff's original drama series Dancing on the Edge (2013).[6] She appeared as Lydia Wickham in the BBC drama miniseries Death Comes to Pemberley (2013) and as Katrina Clark in the romance film Me Before You (2016).


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
    • 2.1 Doctor Who
    • 2.2 Victoria
  • 3 Personal life
  • 4 Filmography
    • 4.1 Film
    • 4.2 Television
    • 4.3 Stage
    • 4.4 Video games
    • 4.5 Audio
  • 5 Awards and nominations
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Early life[edit]

Coleman was born in Blackpool, Lancashire,[7] the daughter of Karen and Keith Coleman. She has an older brother named Ben.[8] She attended Arnold School, where she was head girl.[9] She has stated that she regrets not having a conventional university experience. While at school, Coleman was a member of the theatre company In Yer Space, with which she performed in the play Crystal Clear at the Edinburgh Festival. She won an award for her performance, and the play was also received favourably.[10]

In an interview with The Radio Times in 2015, she revealed that her grandmother had named her Jenna after the character of Jenna Wade played by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley in the 80s American TV drama series Dallas.[11]


Coleman at the 72nd Annual Peabody Awards Luncheon (2013)

While auditioning for drama schools, Coleman landed the part of Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale in 2005. At the British Soap Awards 2007, she was nominated for the "Best Newcomer" award, and at the National Television Awards 2006, she was nominated for the "Most Popular Newcomer" award.[5] At the 2009 British Soap Awards, she was nominated for the "Best Actress", "Sexiest Female", and "Best Dramatic Performance" awards.[12] She received a nomination for the "Best Actress" award from the TV Choice Awards. In May 2009, it was announced that Coleman would be joining BBC school-based drama series, Waterloo Road, as "hard girl" Lindsay James.[6] As she was 23 at the time of her casting, Coleman found the experience of playing a schoolgirl "surreal".[13]

In December 2010, it was announced that Coleman would be playing Susan Brown in a BBC Four television adaptation of the John Braine novel Room at the Top.[14][15] The adaptation was originally intended to air in April 2011, but this was cancelled due to a rights dispute between the production company and Braine's estate. The dispute was resolved by 2012, and the show aired in two parts on 26 and 27 September 2012.[4] In 2011, she made her feature film debut in Captain America: The First Avenger. She also landed the part of Annie Desmond in Julian Fellowes' four part mini-series Titanic, describing her character as a "cheeky little Cockney" and "the Eliza Doolittle of the ship".[16]

Coleman provided the voice for the character Melia in the English dub of the 2011 video game Xenoblade Chronicles. In 2012, Coleman was cast as Rosie in Stephen Poliakoff's original drama series Dancing on the Edge, which follows the fortunes of a black jazz band in the 1930s. The show aired on BBC Two in February 2013. She starred as Lydia Wickham in the adaptation of Death Comes to Pemberley.[17] The three episodes were shown on BBC One during Christmas 2013.[18]

In April 2015, it was announced that Coleman would be playing the role of Katrina Clark in the film Me Before You, which was released on 3 June 2016. She made a guest appearance in the episode "Earthbreaker" of the animated science fiction show Thunderbirds are Go.

In December 2017, it was announced that Coleman would be the narrator for a Royal Caribbean UK advertising campaign.[19] On 8 January 2018, Coleman was confirmed to play Joanna in the four-part BBC drama The Cry, an adaptation of the 2013 novel by Helen FitzGerald.[20]

In September 2018, the Old Vic Theatre announced on their website that Coleman would star in a new production of All My Sons in 2019.[21][22]

Doctor Who[edit]

Coleman at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con

On 21 March 2012, Doctor Who producer Steven Moffat confirmed at a press conference that Coleman would play the companion of the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith).[23] Moffat chose her for the role because she worked the best alongside Smith and could talk faster than he could.[24] She auditioned for the role in secret, under the pretense of auditioning for Men on Waves (an anagram for "Woman Seven": she would first appear in the show's seventh series).[25]

Although originally announced as beginning her run as companion in the Christmas special in 2012, Coleman made a surprise appearance on 1 September 2012 in the first episode of the seventh series as Oswin Oswald, a guest character who dies at the conclusion of the episode.[26] Coleman subsequently debuted as a series regular in the Christmas special episode "The Snowmen" as Victorian governess and barmaid Clara Oswin Oswald; like Oswin Oswald, she died. At the end of that episode, Coleman is seen playing a third version of the character, a resident of contemporary London named simply Clara Oswald. Beginning in "The Bells of Saint John", this version begins her travels as the Doctor's regular companion,[27] including after his regeneration into the Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi, in the 2013 Christmas special episode "The Time of the Doctor."[28] In the 2014 Christmas special episode "Last Christmas", it was revealed that Coleman would remain in the role of Clara for Series 9.[29] However, the ninth series was her last, as Coleman had decided to leave the show to take on a role as Queen Victoria in an ITV production.[30][31] In "The Zygon Invasion" and "The Zygon Inversion", Coleman also played the role of Bonnie, the Zygon leader who took the form of Clara Oswald. She returned to the show for Twelfth Doctor's last episode "Twice Upon a Time" where she made a cameo appearance; that episode, Doctor Who's 2017 Christmas special, aired the same evening as the first Christmas special for Victoria.

She was first credited on screen as Jenna Coleman in Doctor Who Live: The Next Doctor, which aired on 4 August 2013.[32][2]


In 2016 Coleman starred in ITV's eight-part drama following the reign of the British monarch and Empress of India, Queen Victoria. The actress confessed that she was not totally informed about Victorian history, but researched the role. When interviewed for BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour, Coleman expressed her admiration for the monarch.[33]

She argues that this role meant she was able to break out of her supposed 'box' as a northern working-class character that Emmerdale put her in.[33] Victoria premiered on 28 August 2016 on ITV,[34] and in September 2016, ITV renewed Victoria for a second series.[35] A Christmas special for 2017 was also commissioned and a third series was announced in December 2017.[36]

Personal life[edit]

Coleman dated actor Richard Madden from 2011 to 2015.[37] In 2016, she began dating her Victoria co-star Tom Hughes.[38]



Year Title Role Notes
2011 Captain America: The First Avenger Connie
2016 Me Before You Katrina Clark


Year Title Role Notes
2005–2009 Emmerdale Jasmine Thomas 168 episodes
2009 Waterloo Road Lindsay James 9 episodes
2012 Titanic Annie Desmond 4 episodes
2012 Room at the Top Susan Brown 2 episodes
2012–2015, 2017 Doctor Who Clara Oswald Series 7, 8, 9, 2017 Special
2013 Dancing on the Edge Rosie Williams 5 episodes
2013 The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot Herself Doctor Who comedy spoof
2013 Death Comes to Pemberley Lydia Wickham 3 episodes[39]
2016–present Victoria Queen Victoria 25 episodes[40]
2016 Thunderbirds Are Go Baines (voice) 1 episode[41][42]
2018 The Cry Joanna Lindsay 4 episodes
2019 Inside No.9 TBA


Year Title Role Theatre
2009 Jack and the Beanstalk Princess Apricot Theatre Royal, Nottingham[43]
2019 All My Sons Ann Deever Old Vic Theatre[44]

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2010 Xenoblade Chronicles Princess Melia Antiqua English dub of Japanese game
2015 Lego Dimensions Clara Oswald


Year Title Role Notes
2013 The Secret Garden Mary Lennox/Martha Sowerby [45]
2016 The Time Machine Alice Watson [46]
2016 A Christmas Carol Belle [47]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result
2006 National Television Awards Most Popular Newcomer Emmerdale Nominated
The British Soap Awards Best Newcomer Nominated
2009 Best Dramatic Performance[48] Nominated
Sexiest Female[48] Nominated
Best Actress[48] Nominated
2013 Behind the Voice Actors Awards Best Female Vocal Performance in a Video Game Xenoblade Chronicles Nominated
Best Vocal Ensemble in a Video Game Nominated
NAVGTR Awards Supporting Performance in a Drama Nominated
Nickelodeon UK Kids' Choice Awards Favourite UK Actress Doctor Who Nominated
TV Choice Awards Best Actress Nominated
2014 Glamour Awards UK TV Actress Won
2015 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actress on Television[49] Nominated
TV Choice Awards Best Actress Nominated
BAFTA Cymru Best Actress[50] Doctor Who: "Kill the Moon" Nominated
2017 National Television Awards Best Drama Performance Victoria Nominated
Golden Nymph Awards Outstanding Actress in a Drama TV Series[51] Won
2018 Movieguide Awards Grace Award for Most Inspiring Performance for TV[52] Nominated
National Television Awards Best Drama Performance Nominated
Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year Awards TV Actress of the Year[53] The Cry Won
I Talk Telly Awards Best Dramatic Performance[54] Won