...Time Lord's new assistant makes screen debut months early!!!
It's par for the course in Doctor Who for the hero himself to appear at unexpected times, but his latest companion seems to be making an attempt to upstage the Time Lord.
Jenna-Louise Coleman surprised fans of the BBC1 drama by popping up in the first episode of the new series – four months before her expected debut as the Doctor’s latest sidekick.
The former Emmerdale and Waterloo Road actress stunned fans as a woman who had been turned into one of the Doctor’s enemies, the Daleks.
This came as the show boasted a ratings boost for the series opener with Asylum Of The Daleks getting more viewers – 6.4million - than the opening episode of the last series.
The 26-year-old will replace Amy Pond and her husband Rory, played by Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, as the Timelord’s companion during this series.
But questions remain about the link between the character she played on Saturday night and the part she will play as the doctor’s assistant.
At the weekend Miss Coleman was playing the part of Oswin Oswald, a woman had been captured and ‘converted’ inside a dalek, on the series opener.
But it is believed when she appears as the new assistant in the Christmas episode she will be called Clara Oswin.
Keeping it quiet: The new addition to the show thanked fans who had seen advanced screenings for keeping her debut a secret
Sidekick: The actress will replace Amy Pond and her husband Rory, played by Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill, as the Time Lord's companion during this series
There is already speculation about whether the two characters will be linked or are versions of the same person.
The actress sent a message to fans yesterday saying: ‘Boo! Hello! Hope we gave you a good surprise! Thanks to all the fans who kept it quiet and made it so! More to come...watch this space!”
Dalek-table: Fans saw the character played by glamorous Coleman trapped inside the skeleton of a dalek - and seemingly doomed - in the episode
She will star alongside the current Doctor, Matt Smith, and follows in the footsteps of Miss Gillan, Catherine Tate and Billie Piper as the time traveller’s assistant.
The show was watched by 6.4million viewers on Saturday up by 200,000 from the opening episode of the last series which got 6.2million viewers.
She was met with praise from fans of the show, which peaked at almost seven million viewers.
The old team: The Doctor, played by Matt Smith, with his former assistant Karen Gillan, played by Amy Pond
The new girl on the block: Jenna-Louise Coleman, who made her name in Waterloo Road and Emmerdale
One said: ‘Everyone (deservedly) raving about Jenna Louise Coleman - none of the usual “argh a soap actor” negativity.’ One added: ‘That episode last night was amazing & Jenna Louise Coleman’s appearance made my jaw drop!! had to do a double take.’
The appearance has already won her a legion of male fans, undoubtedly helped by some flirtatious lines from the scriptwriters.
She carries on the tradition of glamorous sidekicks, having been twice nominated for ‘Sexiest Female’ at the British Soap Awards.
Show supremo Steven Moffat thanked fans who had already seen the episode for keeping the secret.
The programme was premiered at BFI Southbank in London last month and has also been shown at the Edinburgh Television Festival.
He said: ‘I hope you all got a nice surprise when Jenna popped up in Doctor Who several months early. If so, that surprise came to you courtesy of the frankly magnificent ladies and gentlemen of the press, and of the many Doctor Who forums and blogs too.
‘This show has been seen at four separate screenings, across four different countries and yet not one person gave one spoiler.
‘From all of us on Doctor Who, a heartfelt thank you for helping us tell our story.’ Miss Coleman will not appear in the series again until Christmas.
Earlier this year Miss Coleman was seen in ITV’s Titanic mini-series, written by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes. She had also had a Hollywood role in Captain America: The First Avenger.
Next week’s episode Dinosaurs On A Spaceship is set to herald a ratings skirmish with X Factor as the two shows are expected to overlap for ten minutes.