How Doctor Who's latest companion lied to keep her new role secret

Contributed by
Dec 16, 2012

Getting the gig as the next companion on Doctor Who often implies having some mad James Bond-type skills that mostly include secret-keeping and having to lie to everybody you know. That's what Jenna-Louise Coleman had to do to keep secret the fact that she'd been chosen as the Doctor's new companion.

To keep up the lie, Coleman was told to pretend she'd auditioned for a show called ... Men on Waves.

Speaking to Radio Times in her first interview since she was revealed as the Time Lord's (Matt Smith) new companion, Coleman spoke of her six-week ordeal:

"I wasn't allowed to say that it was Doctor Who at any point. Not talking to my agent, not when I arrived at the audition, and I certainly couldn't tell anyone at all what I was up to next.

"When you keep a secret this big, the temptation to tell is all the more irresistible, especially as I live with three schoolfriends. With girl politics the way they are, I couldn't tell just one friend. I had to phone one of them on the way to the press conference to tell her that I'd borrowed her shoes, in case she saw them in photos."

Coleman adds—proving herself to be as clever as the Doctor himself (he would be proud):

"When she was auditioning, Karen Gillan had been given a codename—Panic Moon, which is an anagram of Companion—so I worked out that Men on Waves is an anagram of Woman Seven, because this is the seventh series.

"Weirdly, seven is my lucky number and this is my seventh job."

The 25-year-old actress also revealed that she, too, was pretty much in the dark as to even her character's name, and she wants to keep it that way until she starts filming in May:

"I have an idea of the story, of the character and of a few surprises, but I don't know her name or where she's from. I just told Steven [Moffat] and [producer] Caroline Skinner 'Don't tell me anything until I need to know it'."

What do you guys think about Coleman's crazy skills as a secret-keeper? Would you have been able to keep such an awesome secret from friends and family, or would you have spilled the whole thing to someone?

(Radio Times via Doctor Who TV)