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The World Doesn't End Because the Doctor Dances

How Will The New Companion Change The Doctor? Steven Moffat Explains.

While a lot of us are trying to put off the departure of The Ponds as long as possible, many of us are excited to see how Doctor Who’s newest edition, Jenna-Louise Coleman, will interact with Matt Smith. Well, show runner Steven Moffat recently talked about just that. 

The creator spoke with SFX, not just about Coleman’s character, but also what the Ponds leaving will do to our dear old Doctor. “We are going to do the story properly of the Doctor having lost a friend and making a new one. We’re not taking that lightly,” he said. “It’s not in one door out the other. It’s the story of how all that affects him, why he engages with somebody else and what’s going on with that — that’s all important.”

And that’s the perpetual story of the Doctor, loss and depression turns into newfound friendship and joy. So what does Coleman bring to the table?

It’s surprising just how much the show changes with a new co-star. The Doctor is quite different with her, and the way you watch them is quite different. You watched the Eleventh Doctor and Amy arrive together. It’s like they grew up in the same sandpit, playing. They felt not quite like equals — the Doctor never feels like an equal to his companion — but you knew them equally well and they were equally important to each other. They formed around each other. And one of the interesting things about writing the Doctor is that he’s so responsive to the people around him. It’s almost like left on his own his personality would slowly disintegrate. He becomes what people want him to be, a little bit. So he’s Amy’s Raggedy Doctor.

Because the Doctor and Amy were “new” together, they grew together and, Moffat adds, she and Rory are almost like his parents.

With a different companion he becomes a slightly different man. He dresses differently. The mere fact that he’s so much taller than her suddenly reveals that Matt Smith is very tall, not, as people assume, about average height, because he was about the same height as Karen. He’s the senior man, not in the sense that he’s more important but he’s the one you know already, and he’s training up a new one, as it were. In these five episodes the Doctor is practically the adopted son of Amy and Rory. He’s gone from being the wonderful man from space — Space Gandalf, as he wants to be — to being that troublesome kid that they try and keep under control. They even talked about getting babysitters for him in one unfortunately cut scene. They love him, but they know he’s a big kid, they know they have to look out for him, check he eats and all that. Whereas with the new companion he’s back to being the mysterious spacefarer.

Space Gandalf. Thank you for putting a new, wonderful phrase in my vocabulary Moffat.

For those who have yet to watch the Season 7 premiere, “Asylum of the Daleks,” I’ll put this next bit under the spoiler cut. We know Coleman arrived earlier than expected. It was previously discussed the new Companion would make her first appearance in this year’s Christmas Special and that may still be the case. At the Season 7 premiere I attended in NYC, Executive Producer Caroline Skinner said casting Coleman as Oswin in the episode was just a last minute genius idea by Moffat. It was certainly a pleasant surprise but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Oswin and the new Companion are one in the same. We’ve seen actors utilized on the show (and Torchwood) more than once.

With all that said, I’ll leave it to you all to discuss how different you think Coleman’s character will make the Doctor. Please put the word SPOILER in front of your comment if you’re going to discuss the Season 7 premiere for the sake of those who haven’t gotten to watch yet.

(via Blastr)

Previously in Doctor Who

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  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I can’t partake! I’m only just beginning Season Six! This is maddening.

  • Wulfy

    I’m glad that they’re making the Doctor transition with the character. This is why I love Moffat running the show, he really gets how the Doctor works. The Doctor needs people with him to make him the Doctor, otherwise he reverts to being a lonely boy mixed with a monster. I fully expect to see that done better than RTD’s “oh I’m emo now” version of a companionless Doctor.

    As for *ZOMG SPOILER*…..

    … the Oswin thing, I loved her and hope that the companion will be a continuation in some way of her character. Of course the best thing imaginable would be for the Doctor to have a mad Dalek companion, with occasional windows into her mind, but I doubt it somehow. Still, I’d love to see Oswin cloned, or saved somehow so she can be a regular, partly because she’s awesome, and partly because the same-actress-different-character thing never works well.

  • Anonymous


    How I’d like it to happen: Oswins room at the end of Asylum of the Daleks was notably different from the rest of the facility. It would make sense that if the Daleks valued her genius they would have an emergency failsafe that evacuated Oswin in the event of imminent destruction. The Doctor would simply pick her up after those events and continue on with his new Human but Dalek-bodied companion. This would be completely different to any companion before her. It could open up all kinds of new storylines. How does the Doctor cope with a companion that physically embodies everything he hates and fears? How does Oswin cope potentially being hated everywhere she goes. How quickly do different societies take to look beyond appearances. It would of course present problems for the show. The two main ones being that The Doctor and Oswin could never interact together in quite the same way, AND that there would have to be less running, because Oswin is somewhat limited in that regard. It would certainly force a new kind of creativity on the showrunners in how they deal with those issues.

    How it will probably happen: The doctor goes back in time and picks up one of Oswin’s ancestors.

  • Anonymous

    *** Spoilers *** because I feel like there’s no way to talk about this without revealing some information.

    I don’t know if I’m alone in this but I’m not really a fan of her from what I’ve seen. I’m actually starting to get weary of Moffat and him writing female characters since they’re all, at the core, the same person (hyper sexual, overly confident, smart mouthed, quick witted), and the new girl doesn’t seem any different. I actually felt like I was watching Amy’s introduction all over again. The only difference is that she’s also, apparently, a genius and also, somewhat out of no where, a Dalek. RDJ wasn’t the best, either, but at least there was variation in the kinds of characters you were meeting and the personality types.

    Though, truth be told, I honestly feel like I don’t really know 11 particularly well because the show is so insanely focused on the companions. I only know him in relationship to the companions and other secondary characters which… I don’t know. It’s called Doctor Who, and I feel like I should have a much more firm grasp on the kind of person 11 is other than someone who feels very strongly that it’s his responsibility to keep Amy and Rory’s relationship going.

  • Katharine Tapley

    Thank you for posting this. Watching the S7P, I saw Oswin and said “Oh, cool! Okay. That girl looks just like…wait. Is it the same girl?”

    My husband said I was nuts. HAHA!

  • Anonymous

    I’m so tired of everything Moffat writes requiring a Moffat explanation so I understand it “correctly”. Another smug girl. Got it.

  • Avalyn

    Here’s what I think… **SPOILERS** The Oswin we met is the future Oswin whose genius could have grown as a result of association with the Doctor in the first place. She doesn’t remember him of course, because her memory was wiped by the Daleks in the process of converting her into a Dalek. So the Doctor will meet the younger Oswin, knowing her eventual fate, and this is what makes him want to pick her up as his new companion.

  • Kim Krzebiot

    *SPOILERS* …? Just in case.
    From what I’ve seen of JLC’s performance, I’m impressed. Moffat said that she would give the Doctor a run for his money in the fast-talking department, and she delivered. Though I think it’s worth noting that the character of Oswin is not the same as the new companion; her name is Clara (or so IMDb states). And it was revealed that her casting was a last minute decision by Moffat. Also my theory as to her “resemblance” will probably have something to do with an ancestor or relative (like Martha and Adeola), though it’s Moffat so it’s probably not as simple as that. And it’s also worth noting that the Doctor didn’t actually see what Oswin looked like, so even when he encounters JLC in the Christmas special, it’s not like he’ll recognize her.

  • Sarakenobi

    I liked her a lot and I felt she was adorably witty and clever and whatnot, but what i don’t want to see is ANOTHER River scenario. and honestly, are there NO actresses in GB willing to play parts in Doctor Who? I mean, why continually recycle. I GET when they cast Eve as Gwen even though she’d been in an earlier episode and I liked the explanation. I even was ok with Adeola because I’d assumed that they liked Martha’s part enough to explain her away, and you never recognize KG in the Pompeii …but to do it again? really? and come on, we waited forEVER to learn about River and if this is another weirdo thing like that…. I am not at all giving up the show but I will be irritated. someone needs to smack S.M. and have him stop all this BS.

  • Casey Sullivan

    Just a thought – are we going to never again address the ability to create instaclones out of the superflesh goop now that we don’t need a magical exploding decoy-Amy or a magical exploding decoy-baby? New body for Oswin? New body for River? Anybody? Anybody?

  • kayla sullivan

    I have nothing relevant to add, I just had to tell you that you basically summed up all the negative feelings I’ve been having about Who for the past few seasons.

  • Anonymous

    Oh man. I am so glad I’m not alone in this. I keep talking to people (though it seems as though it’s all been very new fans) who are in love with the new Who. I actually started to feel like I was going crazy for a minute.

  • Anonymous

    No offense, but this isn’t even remotely a new thing for Doctor Who. Just off the top of my head, Nick Courtney, Lalla Ward and Colin Baker were all cast as unrelated characters before they became Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, Romana II and the Sixth Doctor. Which is why I’m kind of hoping the reintroduction of Jenna-Louise doesn’t have one of those too-clever-by-half explanations, because it really doesn’t need it.

  • Anonymous

    Nope. Not alone. I’m sick to death of Moffatt’s “strong female characters.” Everything that came out of Oswin’s (Amy’s, or River’s, or Adlers’…) is sexually charged or an insult. I am not, nor have I ever met a girl who talks like that. I miss the Doctor Who that actually tried to incorporate science and, I don’t know, logical flow and coherency in its stories. I pretty much rage text after each new episode.

  • Anonymous

    I know, right? Admittedly, though, I do love Irene Adler. She was quite the fierce character. But I feel like a lot of that has to do with the context that the character is written in. It’s not exactly like there’s 3 other versions of her walking around in Sherlock-land. But yes, he seems to be under the singular minded impression that a woman’s power comes from her sexuality and her sexuality alone. It’s not to see that no power comes from there (as I also do not think it’s restrictive to just women) but it’s getting to the point where it’s becoming borderline offensive. That what defines a strong female character, now, is her want/need of sex, and apparently that alone.

  • Wulfy

    *more spoilerage, just in case*

    I feel like somehow we were watching different shows (in fact I now may use this as an excuse to watch the episode again). Where were the insults and high sexual content that Oswin was apparently spewing? I don’t remember her throwing a single insult and the only thing that with her being mildly flirty to break the tension with Rory walking through a corridor of Daleks. I may be wrong, but I feel this stuff needs clarifying, or it’s hard to understand the criticisms other than “I don’t like Moffat’s take on Doctor Who”.

    While they’re not my ideal, I generally like Moffat’s female characters. Confident, aggressive and flirty seems far preferable to me than the RTD era, where all women were soppy and in love with the Doctor or portrayed as naggy and bossy. Or worse the original series, where apart from a few like Ace, all female companions were reduced to being captured and/or screaming. I’d certainly take Oswin or Amy over Martha any day.

  • changed the login again i see

    Yeah, I gave up watching the series because of Amy, and I’m not thrilled about the new one, she looks like more of the same. Glad I’m not the only one feeling this way! And Moffat wouldn’t know a good female character if he saw one, frankly. Oh well. At least Matt Smith is fun.

  • Sarakenobi

    oh I know, but it’s still irritating to me in this particular instance (not so much in the older ones because i watched them all jumbled up.)

  • Eric Knight

    In the first sentence: addition, not edition.

  • Erin Carr

    I was thinking that too. But she may remember parts of him, because even after he tells her he’s the Doctor, she only ever refers to him as “Chin Man”.

  • Anonymous

    I did think that. Especially since Asylum of the Daleks seemed to re-use some of that nano machine tech from the Empty Child. Moffat seems okay to re-use ideas that worked well in the past.

    My problem with it is that I’m not entirely sure how the flesh thing works. It appears to create an exact copy of the person at the time. Which would not work so well for Oswin. Even if it could create a replica body it raises a few too many ‘well, why doesn’t the Doctor do this every time?’ type questions. It seems like it would be far too easy to fall back on this time and time again. Would that be better than never mentioning the instaclones again? I’m not sure…

  • Anonymous

    No one said that there was high sexual content, people are saying that, yet again, we have another female character who has a primary focus on her sexuality (say what you will about her ‘flirting to relieve tension’, it’s still something sexual when you’re telling someone to undress -just because-). Also, did you miss her tossing out the chin boy and the nose comments to The Doctor and Rory? Because they made me cringe. Sounds quite a lot like both Amy and River talking.

    Moffat’s idea of a Strong Female Character in the Whoverse is a woman who’s defined by her sexuality, her capacity to be clever, quick witted and smart mouthed (but mostly clever enough to belittle her male counter part). None of the major female characters so far have shown any variation from that core structure what so ever. I’m not saying that RTD wrote better women by any means, but he had a much greater variation of them.

    Say what you will about Donna, but I loved her. She was certainly head strong, but she grew. She grew A LOT. She learned A LOT. She became a very great person, even if they ended up completely undoing that change. The same goes for Martha. I didn’t care for her at first because I don’t care for overly piney and self-pitying characters, but she became INSANELY bad ass once she got over the Doctor. She became incredibly self-confident, and I will even say that I liked that there was a certain level of spite in her after The Doctor left and came back.

    What kind of growth can be said for Amy? Because she hasn’t changed at all. She’s still bullheaded, emotionally insecure and defensive. The only person out of her, The Doctor and Rory who changed was Rory! And he’s not even the primary companion!

  • Wulfy

    Ah yeah, I did forget about the ‘chin boy’ stuff, although mostly because I didn’t see that as actual insults, more like playful teasing. By sexual content, I was responding to the idea that everything Oswin said was ‘sexually charged’.

    I really disagree with this idea that these strong female characters are “defined by their sexuality” or that their sexuality is a primary focus, apart from River. Making occasional dirty jokes does not make Oswin overtly sexual, nor is she deriving power from it in a particular way. As I saw it Oswin’s defining characteristics were being confident, clever and cheeky. This did come across in some teasing and flirtatious comments, but that was hardly the only way. She seemed far more focused on the fact she was a genius than that she was sexy.

    By contrast, I would completely agree that River’s character is quite focused on her sexuality, because it’s something that comes up repeatedly and which she consciously uses both as a weapon and as a personal attribute. However I would say the two characters came across as very different, so I don’t buy the idea that all ‘Moffat women’ are the same.

    I *do* think he gives all of his characters a sexual edge. This is after all, the man who invented Captain Jack and has the most responsibility for giving us a more romantic Doctor. However thinking across the various Moffat shows I see only River and Adler as focused on deriving power from sexuality. There’s a hint of it with Katherine Reimer in Jekyll but I’m hesitant with that one since her attempt to control Jekyll that way falls flat in the first episode.

    This hardly means I think Moffat’s characters are without fault, but I can’t agree that these characters are particularly alike or overly based on sexuality. I’d say a focus on a confident form of sexuality is a common denominator you see in his characters of all genders to vary degrees.

  • Anonymous

    No matter how you see the commentary, it’s something that all three of those female characters do – Making quick witted commentary at the expense of the male characters. Also, yes, Oswin is a sexually charged character. To make comments requesting a character to undress makes a very strong implication that sexuality is a focus. Introductory episodes are done to give you a good idea of the kind of person the character is. What else am I to deduce from these kinds of jokes? That she’s completely and totally chaste? That she has no interest in sex at all? That she is not a sexual being? Contrary to what you may want to believe – people are going to judge you by what comes out of your mouth.

    Also yes, Amy, too, is a hyper sexually charged character (or at least was upon her introduction). Does everyone forget how hard she tried to bone the doctor? Even though she was getting married? Anyone? anyone?

    Regardless, those three words you used to describe Oswin are also three words that you can use to describe Amy and River. There’s no variation what so ever. They are, at the core, the same character. There are slight difference but that doesn’t exactly change that their building blocks are essentially the same.

    I’m not saying that they’re all the same. I’m saying that there’s very little variation between them. There’s a difference.

    But you also seem far too focused on sexuality from the list that I provided.

    “Moffat’s idea of a Strong Female Character in the Whoverse is a woman who’s defined by her sexuality, her capacity to be clever, quick witted and smart mouthed (but mostly clever enough to belittle her male counter part).”

    All of these women (with the ironic exception of River Song) were introduced and had their sexuality pretty much up front and out there. With Amy’s sexy kiss-o-gram, and, yes, Oswin’s flirtatious behavior. The only difference is that River’s sexuality is now constantly being shoved down your throat. All three of these women are clever, quick witted and smart mouthed. The differences?

    Amy is Hot headed and Stubborn
    River is Mysterious
    Oswin is a Genius

    Man. I’m so glad there’s such a huge difference in their personalities, now.

  • Wulfy

    My focus on sexuality in your list is simply that I don’t see how any of the other things you mentioned could be viewed as a criticism. The other traits you listed are that they’re clever and assertive. Surely we should be encouraging these traits in female characters, not objecting to them?

    Which just leaves the sexuality part, which of course can be highly problematic. But other than a few small points I don’t have any complaints in this area for Doctor Who. I think the root of our disagreement stems from differing views on sexuality. What you call “hyper-sexual” and “sexually charged” I would call pretty mild. Flirtation and dirty jokes do not strike as me as abnormally over-sexed behaviour. Similarly, acknowledging that characters have sexuality doesn’t equate to them being highly sexual.

    As for them being too similar, it’s very easy to stick on a couple of broad labels and ignore all their other attributes. You could just as easily make a list like:
    - Rose is smart and loves the Doctor.
    - Martha is smart and loves the Doctor.
    - Donna is smart and loves the Doctor as a friend.

    But just because there are some very broad common elements it hardly means that those characters are clones of each other.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, no.

    Rose wasn’t particularly smart. She was an incredibly empathetic and sympathetic character. She was incredibly naive, quick to act on emotional impulse despite being told not to (speaking specifically of the episode where she goes to save her father even when told not to). She can be incredibly petulant and whiny. She has passion, which is something that the other two didn’t quite boast so much of and a kind of determination that had her travelling between dimensions -just- for the person she loved so dearly.

    Martha was the smartest of the three (being a doctor and all). She wasn’t, however, overwhelmingly clever. She, too, was sympathetic, but was filled with the kind of affection for the doctor that was more idealistic then founded on the kind of sturdy history that Rose and The Doctor had. She was self-pitying, though often times she tried to act more confident then she was actually was. EVENTUALLY she became a truly strong female character, becoming independent and not expecting or wanting to receive gratification and identification from The Doctor. She started to become a lot more true to -herself-.

    Donna was bullheaded and ignorant. Bossy, nagging, judgmental and very set in her ways. She was the most insecure out of all of them, only knowing how to channel said insecure through anger and frustration – very similar to Amy. The only thing is that the adventures with the Doctor made her go through a bigger transformation. She became more open minded, more aware of the fact that the world, the universe and everything were bigger and more complex than she had initially realized which, in a lot of ways, caused her insecurity to deepen even more (after all, if you don’t hold yourself to high esteem and are suddenly being told that YOU are the key, YOU are the solution to the problem when YOU have witnessed and seen things so much bigger than you).

    The cores of their personality are the same – They all are compassionate. Aside from that, things get FAR more complex from there. To even try to insinuate that they hold any similarity to the new Three is kind of laughable.

    Amy hasn’t changed a bit. River is progressively becoming a more poorly written character. And Oswin? Well, she doesn’t seem to be showing much hope.

    The issue is that Moffat is NOT focused on Character Development. He is focused on complex story telling, and making complex ideas for these characters to go about in. This is part of the reason why he’s so bloody amazing with Sherlock because it’s ALL about complex story telling and it’s completely okay for character growth to be secondary. Doctor Who is NOT like that. There are complex stories and always have been, there’s no doubt in that. But there’s also been extreme levels of character development, not only in The doctor but the companions as well. The last few seasons have NOT had any major character developments, THAT is why he’s running into this problem of characters being repetitive.

    The issue is that these characters are NOT more than these adjectives. We are constantly being forced to care about characters without given due reason TO care about them. It’s a facade of character depth and development that he’s fallen into. By making an episode centrally focused on a character, it does NOT mean that change occurs, nor does it mean that character building happens.

  • Wulfy

    Well yes, my point was it would be silly to say Rose, Martha and Donna were the same. It’s just as silly to say that about Amy, River and Oswin. Whether you like them are not, you can’t say having a couple of elements in common makes them boring or identical.

    Amy started off as cynical and a bit childish, grew from interacting with the Doctor and Rory into someone more confident, heroic and a bit aggressive, and resolved some of her trust issues. Then she seems to have been coming apart slowly since Demon’s Run, putting up walls.

    River we’re seeing a kind of degradation of character as we go backwards. She started off as knowledgeable, far too cocky, and very capable, but going into her past we see her as more vulnerable and conflicted. Then there was the issue of her artificial personality before it merged with the ‘true’ one.

    Oswin we haven’t seen much of, but it was a hell of a start. Egotistical, survivalist, but clearly very desiring of human interaction. Rather like the Doctor in fact, who has grown considerably since the Eleventh Hour. He’s more emotionally capable, and yet seems more alone than ever. In this incarnation he’s tried more than ever before to connect because of the influence of Amy in his life. She keeps him feeling young and important, when without her he seems old and brooding.

    These things are all there, even if they don’t mean as much to you as they do to me. As you’ve pointed out, the original three had an empathetic core in common, these new three have an intelligence vibe going on instead. Maybe it’s just that you favour one over the other, but there’s plenty going on even if it doesn’t appeal to you.

    Anyway, I feel I’ve very much reached the point of rambling.

  • Anonymous

    Amy is still childish, cynical, and emotionally stunted. She’s still the same person we saw the first episode we met her. This is evident in and of itself on the season premiere of season 7. **Spoilers** The fact that she would rather divorce someone that she apparently loves rather than TALK to them about the issue is no different than how she’s always handled conflicts – by running away. There’s nothing about her that’s changed, she’s still the same person. The only thing that’s changed is that now Rory has to deal with her bullshit instead of The Doctor.

    River is progressively becoming nothing more than a carbon copy of Amy. And again, from what’s being presented so far of Oswin, she seems no different.

    so yeah, I do not see much of a variation between those three characters.

    And for the record, I don’t hate them. I’m simply BORED of them.

  • J Ascher

    I think the new companion is something of a smart-alec who’ll burst the Doctor’s bubble a la Donna, but in more relevant, if unexpected, ways.

  • Michi Ligaya

    “Space Gandalf” — how could i have forgotten that phrase?!

  • Anonymous

    SPOILERS:::: what if it’s a similar situation to Freema Agyeman’s? Where we saw her ‘cousin’ first? Perhaps Oswin Osgood is a descendant of Clara Oswin. I like the idea of her being from historical or contemporary times. I’ve already become a fan of the idea that she will be like a ‘little sister’ to Matt’s Doctor. Osgood was more of a sassy cousin. So! *fingers crossed* :D

  • Amber Barnes

    You and me both. I hate to disagree with the author, but I’m ready to see the end of the Ponds and their unhealthy relationship. Less family time, more shenanigans in time, please.

    You know, if Moffat (god, why couldn’t Conell have become show runner?) ever remembers that the TARDIS is a time machine.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly. it feels like Doctor Who has become a weekly hour long saga of Ponds Marriage Therapy which, IDK, the show is called Doctor Who. Not Rory and Amy can’t get their shit together.

  • Amber Barnes

    And yet, they’re idolized as the perfect married couple. IDGI, especially after Rory pulled that “But I love you more!” and held the 2000 years he babysat the Pandorica (something that she did not ask him to do, did not know he was doing, and something he didn’t even have to do) over her head in a guilt trip so blatant that National Geographic wants to cover it. Because everything is about Rory in this story and Amy is there as a convenient uterus to traumatize over and over again.