With the true identity of Doctor Who’s new companion, Clara Oswald, having been a complete mystery so far, viewers will be treated to the truth, if reports are to be believed, this Saturday in the series 7 finale The Name of the Doctor.
However, if writer Neil Gaiman had his way then Cara wouldn’t be half as complex as she is – in fact she would still be a Victorian Governess!
Fans of the hit BBC family sci-fi entertainment show were first introduced to Clara in the first episode of the seventh series, “Asylum of the Daleks” as the sole survivor of the Starship Alaska, which crashed on the Asylum, a prison planet for insane Daleks, during which character died.
Since then she has appeared over the course of 2012 and 2013 as two more characters, with slightly different names.
The second character, a young barmaid and governess in 1892 introduced in last year’s Christmas special, also met her maker, with her headstone at the end revealing her full name to be Clara Oswin Oswald.
Now, in her third characterisation, Clara Oswald is the companion of the current Time Lord (Matt Smith), but her complicated past is set to be revealed this Saturday in the much anticipated series 7 finale, The Name of the Doctor.
But the episode might have been very different if, like Gaiman had wanted, Clara had remained as her second character the Victorian Governess.
Speaking in a recent interview with Radio Times, the writer explained:
“The original companion was going to be very much the Victorian governess we saw at Christmas,
“Doctor Who has its own peculiar way of being written, so I started writing it about 14 months ago. I wrote about the first ten pages and then they said they’d changed the companion from what I was expecting to something else.
“We decided they can do more weird stuff if it’s now the contemporary third incarnation so I had to reshape it so it wasn’t the governess.”
Gaiman went on to explain how his original concept for Clara had been devised from a mock script that show runner Steven Moffat had written which all actresses, including Coleman, had been asked to read:
“What I got was the scene that Steven Moffat wrote as the Clara character audition piece. He sent me that and said ‘This is what she sounds like’. But from that you just make her up as you go along.”
However, despite being such an instrumental part of the hugely popular show, Gaiman went on to explain how he prefers writing for American shows:
“On the one hand I don’t have time to write Doctor Who. It doesn’t pay very well, but you also have to rewrite it and rewrite it and rewrite it and never get paid, whereas in America you get paid for every rewrite… And there are lots of things including movies, novels, an HBO series that I should be doing…
“On the other hand, I haven’t done [a Doctor Who] episode set on Earth yet, and I haven’t created a new monster. And there’s part of me that feels… I haven’t scared anybody yet… The Cybermen has a few little scary bits but it’s running at about a 5 of 6. I’d love to a 9.
“I’d love to do something that sends adults behind the sofa too and makes them wee. Pools of wee.”
The Name of the Doctor is set to screen this Saturday at 7pm on BBC1/BBC1 HD, watch a trailer for it in the clip below: