The actor might be best known for portraying one of England’s most famous queens, but she has plenty of other must-watch roles on her CV.
Sometimes, Jenna Coleman fibs when asked what she does for a living.
In a recent issue of Stylist, Coleman admitted that the last time she lied was “to a taxi driver when he asked what my job was as I wrote this”.
We understand the desire for anonymity – Coleman’s career has never been bigger, with starring roles in the Queen Victoria television series Victoria, a turn on the West End Stage alongside Sally Field and Bill Pullman in All My Sons, and fresh from her devastating performance in The Cry.
But all this is only the beginning when it comes to fantastic Coleman performances. Here are some of her best roles to binge once you’ve finished watching Victoria.
If you didn’t manage to catch Coleman in the 2018 miniseries The Cry, now is your chance. The television show followed young mum Joanna, played by Coleman, after her baby goes missing on a holiday in rural Australia. As Joanna’s inscrutable husband Alistair, Top Of The Lake’s Ewen Leslie was terrifyingly good, and the supporting performance from Australian actress Asher Keddie as Alistair’s first wife Alexandra was also stellar.
You’ll be riveted in your seat by this twisted, suspenseful thriller.
This is the role that made Coleman famous. As Clara, the clever and enterprising companion to both the 11th and 12th Doctors played by Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi respectively, Coleman was one of the most popular characters to appear in the Who-niverse.
Speaking to the Radio Times, Coleman admitted that Clara is the character she most resembles. “Clara is probably the closest to me that I’ve ever played – especially over the last few years – and I find that hard,” she said.
She didn’t grow up with Doctor Who on in the background, like many kids, but she was a fan of the BBC’s rebooted iteration, starring Billie Piper and Christopher Ecclestone. “I was about 18 when it came back with Billie and Chris,” Coleman told The Independent. “It was something that I was very aware of because it was kind of everywhere, but it simply wasn’t on during my childhood.”
Death Comes to Pemberley
This 2013 miniseries based on the bestselling PD James novel of the same name doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Sure, for Jane Austen purists it might be a bit beyond the pale, but this murder mystery set six years after the events of Pride and Prejudice is a lot of fun, especially if you’re a fan of Austen’s work.
Coleman plays the flighty, irrepressible Lydia Bennett who always on the hunt for a good time. She turns up at Pemberley with her husband George Wickham (Matthew Goode in a masterstroke of perfect casting) and his colleague Denny. When Denny is found dead, Wickham is blamed for his murder, and it’s up to Lizzy (Line of Duty’s Anna Maxwell-Martin) to clear his name. Matthew Rhys does his smouldering best as Mr Darcy, while a pre-Poldark Eleanor Tomlinson starred as Georgiana Darcy.
Me Before You
The 2016 tearjerker Me Before You, based on the book of the same name by Jojo Moyes, is ostensibly a movie about what happens when you have to say goodbye to someone that you love. But it’s also a movie about sisterhood, as seen by the relationship between Lou (Emilia Clarke) and Treena (Coleman) on screen. The pair are support networks for each other, with Treena helping Lou process her feelings for her disabled employer Will (Sam Claflin).
Coleman’s performance is a smaller, more subtle one in this big, hyper-emotional film, but it’s one not to miss.
Dancing on the Edge
When it comes to casts, it doesn’t get much better than this. Coleman starred in the 2013 Steven Poliakoff miniseries Dancing on the Edge with Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthew Goode, Joanna Vanderham, Laura Haddock, Jacqueline Bissett and Tom Hughes, the man who would go on to play Albert opposite her Queen in Victoria. (And with whom she has been in a relationship since 2016.)
The miniseries, set in the Thirties and delving deep into the rise of the jazz music scene in London’s elite society, is for anyone who loves The Great Gatsby and Bugsy Malone.