Jenna Coleman is one of the most celebrated actors in Britain today. After cutting her teeth on Emmerdale as Jasmine Thomas, she moved from soap to science fiction when she went on to become the companion Clara Oswald in Doctor Who, first playing opposite Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor and later appearing with Peter Capaldi, the Twelfth Doctor.
And although Doctor Who catapulted Jenna Coleman to international stardom, the BBC’s long-running science fiction show is far from the only television programme that she has appeared in – indeed since leaving the TARDIS Coleman’s career has continued to go from strength to strength.
Here we will countdown some of Jenna Coleman’s best performances, from early television roles all the way through to some of her most recent work.
So, if you love drama, science fiction and are ready to be entertained – you are tuned into the right article.
Let us begin…
Room at the Top (2013)
Coleman received praise for her portrayal of Susan Brown in this adaptation of John Baine’s novel set in Yorkshire in the 1940s. This gritty tale that revolves around a love triangle sees Coleman acting opposite some seriously great talent in the shape of Maxine Peake and Matthew McNulty, but she more than rises to the challenge in a very engaging drama.
Waterloo Road (2009)
Being in Waterloo Road, a school-set drama from the UK, is a right of passage for many actors of a certain generation, and Coleman is no exception. The popular drama saw Coleman play pupil Lindsay James who goes from being a star student to murdering her abusive father to keep her little sister safe. A role for Coleman that showed just how talented she was, taking on such a dark and deep storyline so early in her career.
Death Comes to Pemberley (2013)
This show is a prequel to Pride and Prejudice and see Jenna Coleman play Lydia Wickham, the sister of Elizabeth, played by Anna Maxwell-Martin. Mathew Rhys plays Darcy in this dark and moody adaptation where Coleman gives a fantastic performance as a character who can offer light within an at times rather gloomy outlook on screen.
The Cry (2018)
This moving and gripping drama saw Jenna Coleman take on the complex and challenging role of Joanna, a mother in Australia who must attempt to deal with the disappearance of her baby. A masterclass in dramatic acting, this performance quite rightly won critical and popular acclaim as Coleman takes the audience on a journey through grief, suspicion, panic and turmoil.
The Serpent (2021)
Based on the life of Charles Sobhraj, played in this mini-series by Tahar Rahim, The Serpent reveals the dark truth behind the story of a man in 1970s Bangkok who people believe is a gem dealer, but actually turns out to be a criminal. Coleman plays Marie-Andrée Leclerc, his girlfriend, and takes the viewer on a rollercoaster journey as the events and actions of him and them start to become clear to us all.
Taking on the role of a Queen is never easy, but Jenna Coleman delivers the story of a young Queen Victoria, her meeting and falling in live with Prince Albert and the struggles of a woman to lead a country dominated by men with aplomb. This excellent story from Daisy Goodwin allows Coleman to be both strong and at the same time vulnerable as she grows into a position that will become remembered as one of the great reigns in the British crown’s history.
The Sandman (2022)
Coleman delighted audiences more recently on Netflix as she appeared as Johanna Constantine in the Netflix adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s beloved story. great-great-great-grandmother of John Constantine, fans enjoyed seeing Jenna Coleman in a fantasy role, which still a long way from Doctor Who, perhaps was more of a nod to the show that made her into an international star.
Doctor Who (2012-2017)
Travelling through space and time with not one, but two Doctors, Jenna Coleman’s Clara Oswald is one of the most interesting of the modern era as she has to develop a bond with a changing Timelord while continuing to stay alive when the baddies are on the scene. As with all Doctor Who characters, Clara divides opinions with some fans – but overall, this role from Jenna Coleman is delivered with style and versatility – quite rightfully elevating her onto the world stage.