Editorial Is Jenna-Louise Coleman the new Doctor Who Companion?

Published on April 2nd, 2012 | by Christian Cawley

When Fandom Shames

Do you know something? Doctor Who is massively intricate and multi-layered. Most of the time this is wonderful as it allows a show that has twisted and turned and revived itself in many ways over the years to be loved by so many.

However sometimes this sucks.

Casting tends to bring the worst out of Doctor Who fandom and its armchair producers, and the the casting of Jenna-Louise Coleman is such a time. Various online communities have found themselves littered – nay, soiled – by rather personal and sickening comments about the new companion, things that go way beyond getting slightly annoyed at her unimaginative use of the word “excited”.

Is Jenna-Louise Coleman the new Doctor Who Companion?In fact, much as it sickens me to say, I’m certain that some such people are reading this. So this is for them.

You people really should be ashamed of yourselves. Why? Well, here’s what David Tennant thinks of Jenna’s casting:

“The people behind the show wouldn’t have chosen her unless she’s the best girl for the job, so I’m excited to see her on the show.”

That’s a man who not only starred in Doctor Who, first and foremost he’s a Doctor Who fan, just like those so-called fans whose disgusting behaviour leads to present and future stars of the show being advised to avoid the Internet.

It’s a disgrace.

So I’m going to make this clear: if you – yes you, reading this now – have written anything on the web that disparages any Doctor Who star in such a way that they would be deeply offended, then frankly you can click the X in the corner of your browser and just get lost.

You’re not welcome here. You’re not a Doctor Who fan. You’re a bile-filled disgrace to fandom.

Oh sure, you can come back here whenever you like thanks to the World Wide Web, but you’ll know at the back of your mind that we’re no longer speaking to you. We’re looking through you.

Because if you’re so small minded that you cannot accept a piece of casting – a process of which you weren’t involved – then you clearly in the wrong place. There is no room in Doctor Who fandom for prejudice and hate, two of the very things that the Doctor stands against.

If you cannot emulate these most civil and moral of concepts, then you’re clearly in the wrong fandom.

Shame on you!


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About the Author


A long-term Doctor Who fan, Christian grew up watching the show and has early memories of the Graham Williams era. His favourite stories are Inferno, The Seeds of Doom and Human Nature (although The Empty Child, Blink and Utopia all come close). When he’s not bossing around the news team, Christian is a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology and domestic computing, and enjoys classic rock, cooking and spending time in the countryside with his wife and young children. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

40 Responses to When Fandom Shames

  1. avatar Mark says:

    Well said!!!

    • avatar Gavin Noble says:

      Does that apply to Bonnie Langford as well then?

      • avatar FrancoPabloDiablo says:

        I think Bonnie, as well as the much underrated Colin Baker, have more than vindicated themselves through the excellent audios produced by Big Finish. As for the new leading lady waiting in the wings, just look at the negative comments made about Billie Piper and Catherine Tate before their first appearances – both have proved to be two of the most popular companions to accompany the Doctor. Not only in the revived series but in it’s whole 49 year history. If you are reading this Jenna, i personally cannot wait to see what you bring to our beloved Sci-fi program!

        • avatar Gavin Noble says:

          My comment was made with my tongue very firmly planted in my cheek.

    • avatar Pete says:

      David Tennat is clearly giving a stock answer, not his actual opinion. The character of JLC is just annoying, taking the standard cocksure, wisecracking herion and hamming it up to the n’th degree. To be fair though, she was much more annoying the firs episode she was in compared to now.

  2. avatar Michael says:

    Well the biggest ‘crime’ I’ve seen held against her is that she looks like Selena Gomez…..whoever she is. Seriously though, it’s best just to ignore them, that’s what I do. They obviously have nothing better to do and this sort of thing doesn’t apply only to Doctor Who fandom.

  3. avatar Imp Teaser says:

    I haven’t been paying any attention to the comments, as I’m still trying to figure out exactly when the Time War fits in, as it’s listed separately from the rest of the series on Netflix, and I try to avoid spoilers as much as possible.
    I’ve seen pictures of the new companion, but other than that, I have no idea who she is or where she came from. I must admit that Dr. Who was my first exposure to Billie Piper as well.
    I can’t imagine why anyone would disparage anyone having anything to do with Dr. Who. Especially someone they haven’t even seen in the role yet.
    Jenna-Louise… I know you’ll do well with the part; one important thing to remember about it (and I’m sure you will… who wouldn’t?) is to have fun. It’s as much an adventure as it is a job.
    As the Doctor would say if I were playing him… “Welcome aboard!” :)

    • avatar Paddy says:

      @Imp Teaser – the Time War was never shown onscreen. It was never mentioned until the 9th Doctor’s era, so most people would agree in terms of canon it takes place somewhere between the 1996 TV movie starring Paul McGann and “Rose”, the first episode of the 2005 series.

  4. avatar Philip Bates says:

    Completely agree, Mr. Cawley; I’m alway horrified at all the negativity that ensues when a casting is announced.

  5. I wouldn’t count myself as a fan of Doctor Who, but I appreciate it whenever I get to watch it. Jenna Coleman is one of our better actresses, and an inspired choice.

  6. avatar john says:

    ive seen this actress in emmerdale and waterloo rd just seen her in titanic what an acress looking forward to seeing her in dr who.

  7. avatar Castellan Spandrel says:

    She certainly excites me!

  8. avatar Sighs4l says:

    Interesting backlash against the backlash against the unimaginative choice of Generic Pretty White Girl for next companion.

    Honestly, I’d feel better about the choice of GPWG if I weren’t 99% sure that when the casting call went out, NO consideration had been given to anything other than GPWG for next companion. Please re-read David Tennant’s comment a little closer – no I’m not saying he had anything to do with GPWG selection, just that that was the mindset of those who did have the say-so.

    That said, I skip the disparaging comments that you’re referencing; I’m afraid the Internet gives people the freedom of letting loose their hateful side without consequence. Sky is blue, grass is green, people are going to vent.

    And please don’t write off all who aren’t thrilled about the choice. A lot will come around. When I first saw that they’d cast this way-too-young, not-attractive-at-all, stick figure called Matt Smith as The Doctor, my NO EFFING WAY was heard for miles. But he had me at “Chin? Blimey!”

  9. avatar tBarn says:

    I agree Christian. I feel the crux of theses negative comments connect a general fear of change – which seems an odd feeling for a true WHO fan to harbour, particularly one that has watched with intrigue as the show has grown and evolved…
    There is one controversial topic I’d like to air here – and I’m completely ready for a passionate backlash! – but I feel It connects utterly to the theme of casting. Having worked in casting for a short period, but having lots of colleagues more heavily involved at present, I am increasingly aware of a slightly unnerving pattern – a kind of two-way BBC/ITV ‘character hijack’. This practice has a slightly less pleasant term behind the scenes but, for example, It came to no surprise to me that ‘The Dr’s Wife’ would be someone like Surrane Jones. Fantastic talent – I don’t dispute that, but one that would just happen to re-enter the public psyche as one half of big ITV investment ‘Scott and Bailey’ shortly after (revenge for kidnapping Lesley sharp?). If I was part of the casting for ‘Captain Avery’ and I had a choice of Hugh Bonneville and another leading British actor, how much would the ‘Downtown Factor’ feature in the decision? And then we have the brilliant Jenna-Louise. A very strong choice – I genuinely think she has all the credentials, but, am I a complete fiend for wondering whether her appearance in Julian Fellowes other big project ‘Titanic’ had any connection? Are there currently a sea of ITV viewers watching Titanic thinking ‘Oh, theres the new ‘who’ girl’ rather than ‘oh, this is good, I wonder when Downton’s back on…’ These hijacks occur both ways and I guess they’re slightly more sophisticated than just slagging off competitors (the regular ‘who’ jibes in Primeval made me cringe as much as the Dr’s X factor swipe in ‘closing time’). Perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps this is all just a conspiracy…whatever the truth is, what a great conspiracy to be embroiled in as an actor!! – with roles popping up all over the psychological ratings battlefield!!

    • avatar Charlie says:

      I think you’re too immersed in the industry to see outside of it. 99% of all TV viewers have no idea what you’re talking about.

  10. avatar Frank says:

    I thought the casting of Jenna was great. She’s young and beautiful. Just what all female Doctor Who companions traditionally have been. What is everyone’s problem? I only read a few Doctor Who articles and visit 2 or 3 specifice websites, but I haven’t come across any derogatory comments about here.

    • avatar Gavin Noble says:

      To be honest, I’d never heard of her until she was announced as the new companion (I’m not a soap watcher and have never watched Waterloo Road either) so she starts with a totally clean slate with me. I’ll judge her, as I have every other Who companion (and Doctor), by what she does on screen.

  11. avatar Brian Stultz says:

    I pretty much stopped going to a Who blog/site because of their constant bashing of Colin Baker. Luckily I have not read any poor comments on the new companion. How can there be complaints on something that hasn’t even happened yet. I’m pretty sure the man behind two of the most popular shows in the world is capable of casting an appropriate companion for our time traveling friend.

  12. avatar Mike Humphreys says:

    Personally I’ve been nothing but complimentary about Jenna Louise Coleman… she’s gorgeous and a talented actress to boot!

  13. avatar Starman says:

    Well worth saying, Christian. Life’s too short to carry all those negative thoughts around and even worse subject other people to them who can’t fight back. Like Gavin I’m no soap or Waterloo Rd watcher and hadn’t heard of Jenna before but I’m sure that she will do a great job along with all the others who (no pun intended!) have kept us greatly entertained over the past 50 years. And, hopefully, continue to do so for many years to come.

  14. avatar Simon Spencer says:

    I agree with everything you just said, Christian.

  15. avatar Bob James says:

    Well spoken, Christian, and I echo your sentiments exactly. I’m sure Jenna-Louise will shine just fine………

  16. avatar Ian says:

    Well said! I think you’re absolutely right here. I recall reading some of the comments on the Guardian’s page re. her announcement as the companion. All I could think was I hope she’s not reading this and getting the wrong idea about Dr Who fans. Personally I think she will be brilliant. Oh, and I didn’t mind Bonnie either. Great actress!

  17. avatar TonyS says:

    From the little I have seen of Jenna (in Emmerdale) she is a fine actress and I certainly will not be judgiung her until I have seen her on the screen. Fans can be very vicious at times. Look at the fuss over Fern Britton! Having said that, some the comments about the kind of character she will be playing leave me thinking “erm”. STill time will tell.

  18. avatar Castellan Spandrel says:

    Don’t know about anyone else, but I didn’t have any ideas or expectations regarding the next companion and therefore wasn’t disappointed at all.

    What were the haters expecting, exactly, for them to be so disappointed?

  19. avatar LordExo says:

    I’d just like to say well done with your stand against those ‘fans’ that contribute nothing but spite and bile to our Doctor Who Universe (Doctor Whoniverse?)

    Well Done

    Here Here

  20. avatar Doc Whom says:

    I haven’t the first idea what’s been said about her so I don’t know if your anger is justified but I’m afraid that I do just laugh off the David Tennant quote. Imagine that Tennant privately thought that this woman was the most immoral human being in history and the worst actress ever to have disgraced the stage or screen. Do you think that the quote he gave there would have changed even by a single word? The most tedious thing about the Doctor Who publicity machine is how they don’t even make an effort to disguise the fact that they’re so ridiculously and unswervingly on-message that you stop taking it seriously.

    The BBC could announce that the Series 7 TARDIS crew would consist of Pol Pot as the Doctor, Imelda Marcos as his feisty companion and Reinhard Heydrich as her awkward, put-upon boyfriend. And you just know what the press releases from BBC Wales would say:

    Steven Moffat declared himself delighted today at having secured Pol Pot as the Twelfth Doctor. Moffat (83) said: “I have always admired Pol’s work and it’s been a long standing ambition of mine to work with this talented artist.”

    On hearing the news of the new companion, Russell T Davies (19) told our reporter: “I’m so jealous that it was Steve and not me that came up with the brilliant idea of casting Imelda. The re-opening of the TARDIS bootroom will be a wonderfully innovative way of exploring backstory.”

    David Tennant told BBC Breakfast News: “The people behind the show wouldn’t have chosen Reinhard unless he’s the best guy for the job, so I’m excited to see him on the show.”

    Tom Baker (194) who played the fourth incarnation of the Time Lord told our reporter in a graveyard in Kent: “Doctor Who? I’m afraid I don’t remember. Was it the name of a pub? I could play the Master, you know.”

    And DWM would print every word unquestioningly together with an editorial hailing the casting of an entire TARDIS crew of megalomaniacal sociopaths as: “A masterstroke by Moffat. This is brilliant news for all Doctor Who fans and for Amnesty International fans everywhere.”

    The thing to bear in mind, Kasterborous, is that the truly bizarre behaviour here is that of looking at a clique of online sci-fi-antasy fans and expecting them to act like normal people. I myself shall follow the unusual route of waiting to see what she’s actually like when the show is broadcast. All I’ll say so far is that I have yet to see her described by the BBC as “feisty” so I have great hopes that Jenna may end up portraying a companion who isn’t a whiny, high-maintenance pain.

    • Not sure I entirely agree, given that Tennant is an actor quoted while promoting another film; he was probably more interested in talking about Pirates and wanted to get the question out of the way.

      However if you ever fancy a guest post on Kasterborous, Doc Whom, just drop me a line :)

  21. avatar Doc Whom says:

    OSHMG – what’s a guest post? Sounds deliciously kinky.

    • Well, it’s when you write for us once or occasionally, and have a link back to your own lovely blog at the end.

      It’s not *that* kinky, unless, perhaps, you’re a byte.

  22. avatar Doc Whom says:

    Oh, Okey Dokey.

  23. avatar Doc Whom says:

    BTW can’t see any indication of it on your home page but is there any way to contact you other than through an active thread like this?

    • You should find the email address here: http://www.kasterborous.com/connect/

  24. avatar Spiderpope says:

    One would have thought by now that Doctor Who “fans” (much like this article i am loathe to call those making such comments fans) would have learnt to wait until we actually see the actor/actress in action before judging them.

    I’m sure the young lady will do absolutely great in the role, the casting department for Doctor Who haven’t let me down once since 2005 and i can’t imagine it happening this time either.

    And even if she turns out to be terrible, we’ll have to put up with her for what? Half a series? Not exactly a terrible burden to bear.

  25. avatar Kristie Wilkes says:

    This Whovian loves soufflé girl! She’s awesome, what’s not to like? And you are right, they said terrible things about Matt Smith as well and he’s a fabulous Doctor! Gotta go now because I have an episode waiting on Tivo… loved your article! <3

  26. avatar Dan says:

    Actually, you can still be a Doctor Who fan and be critical of an actor’s performance. In fact, if you’re a fan then you should be consistently expecting good, quality stuff. If it’s not then I would say you’ve got a valid reason to make your criticisms known. Just blindly going by the idea of, “I’m a fan, therefore I shouldn’t criticise” is a pretty weak line of thinking.

    • avatar Christina says:

      I totally agree with this. Just because you’re a fan of something, it doesn’t mean you have to enjoy every aspect of it. The only companion I’ve truly enjoyed…other than Mickey and Jack…was Donna Noble, does that mean I’m not a ‘real’ Doctor Who fan, just because I don’t enjoy the companions and the fact that they usually seem to be romantically interested in the Doctor?

  27. avatar Rosey Smarks says:

    Jenna Coleman is the most irritating thing to happen to humanity since sand-filled wedgies. She has about as much acting talent as eczema.

    • Wow, you picked the right thread to spread your sickening bile.

  28. avatar Ranger says:

    Rosey, you may not like the character of Clara – fair enough, that’s your prerogative, and you have the right to say it. But you can’t say things like that about Jenna, you don’t know her and it makes you look small and petty-minded. I don’t like Matt Smith’s portrayal of the Doctor and have said so (perhaps going to extremes that I now regret), but I have never said anything about Matt himself, because I don’t have that right and neither does anyone else who does not know him.

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