Jenna Coleman - things you didn't know about the TV star

The Serpent star, Jenna Coleman.
The Serpent star, Jenna Coleman. (Image credit: Getty)

Jenna Coleman became a household name in the UK when she joined ITV soap Emmerdale in 2005. During her four years as well-loved character Jasmine Thomas she enjoyed some huge storylines before leaving to spread her wings. 

After leaving the soap she went on to appear in Waterloo Road, Titanic, and Room at the Top before landing the role as Clara Oswald in Doctor Who. Since then Jenna has landed some huge TV roles including playing Joanna Lyndsay in The Cry, Queen Victoria in ITV period drama Victoria and most recently starring in The Serpent as Marie Andree Leclerc.

1. She turned down a place at university to be in 'Emmerdale' 

Jenna Coleman was offered a place to study English at the University of York but turned it down to join the cast of Emmerdale in 2005, where she learned her trade by woking hard and proving she has got what it takes to be a successful actress. Unbelievably Jenna didn't get into drama school when she applied - however she soon proved them wrong with with her now hugely impressive acting CV.  

Jenna Coleman

Jenna, seen here with her Emmerdale co-star Charle Webb, joined the soap in 2005.  (Image credit: Getty)

2. She was once rumoured to be dating Prince Harry

Jenna got tongues wagging back in 2015 when she was spotted looking friendly with Prince Harry at a polo match. Of course, the nation got itself into a frenzy, however it turns out the pair are just good friends. 

3. She was buying avocados when she heard she'd got the 'Doctor Who' job

Jenna has often been quoted declaring her love for avocados, but it turns out they are also part of a very important moment in her life. She was apparently shopping for her favourite food when she got the call from her agent revealing that she had landed the role as the next Doctor Who companion. 

4. She stole a very impressive memento when she left 'Doctor Who'

Not wanting to forget her time spent as the time travelling Doctor's companion, Jenna managed to sneak out lots of souvenirs from the set. During an appearance on The Johnathan Ross Show she admitted: "I stole quite a lot actually. I stole a bit of the TARDIS but somebody helped me from the props department. I took a proper gallifreyan full-on piece under my jumper, but it was in conjunction with the props team, they gave me the wink. I've also got the neon sign of the police box sign in my dining room and it lights up."

5. She had to fight off stiff competition for her role in 'Victoria'

While Jenna was clearly made for the title role in Victoria and it is hard to imagine anyone else playing the historical figure, there were some other very fine actresses on the shortlist when casting was being made. Lily James, Cara Delevingne, Emilia Clarke and Chloe Moretz were all in the running, but Jenna pipped them to the post. 

6. She changed her name after leaving 'Emmerdale' 

When Jenna was first thrown into the limelight after joining Emmerdale, she went by her full name, Jenna-Louise Coleman. However, the actress said that she found it odd when she became more well-known and strangers would call her by her full name. She dropped the Louise part of her name, and is now called Jenna Coleman. Apparently it is only her mum who still calls her Jenna Louise! 

7. She has a hilarious most embarrassing moment

When asked what her most embarrassing moment was during an interview with The Guardian, Jenna revealed happened when buying a sandwich at Leeds train station: "The man said to me: 'Do you want to go for a drink?' and I said, "I am so sorry, but I have got a boyfriend.' and he replied, 'No, it's a meal deal, if you take a sandwich you can get a drink as well.'"

Jenna Coleman's Fact File 

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about the actress....

How old is she?

Jenna Coleman's age is 34. She was born on April 27th 1986. 

Is she married? 

Jenna Coleman isn't married. 

Does she have children?

Jenna Coleman doesn't have any children.  

Where was she born?

Jenna Coleman was born in Blackpool, England.

How tall is she?

Jenna Coleman is 1.57 metres. 

Twitter: @Jenna_Coleman_

Instagram: @jenna_coleman_

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.