The BBC have confirmed that Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald) will be leaving Doctor Who at some point during Series 9. At this stage, do we know whether the character will:

  • die (for the first time in new Who)?
  • be forced to part with the Doctor?
  • choose to part with the Doctor?

Canonical evidence (e.g. quotes from Moffat, Coleman, etc.) preferred; please, no speculation without hard evidence.

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    I don't think "quotes from Moffat" and "hard evidence" belong in the same sentence; that seems like a bit of a contradiction in terms to me – Jason Baker Oct 14 '15 at 0:22
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    I feel this question is too opinion-based. – Rogue Jedi Oct 14 '15 at 0:42
  • @RogueJedi Wait for it ... I'm typing up an answer ... – Rand al'Thor Oct 14 '15 at 0:45
  • I wish the Doctor had killed her when she was inside the dalek. It could have been truly tragic and terrible, and could probably have made me hate her less. Based on Clara's character, I think she will leave him (see: her speech in Kill the Moon) but since it's just my opinion, I won't write an actual answer. – Lord Voldemort Oct 14 '15 at 0:49

As of Hell Bent, the series 9 finale, we officially know.

Clara stole a TARDIS with Ashildir/Me, and embarked on a roundabout trip through time and space. Sound familiar?

At the time the question was asked, we did not. In her official announcement on the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show, Coleman said that no details would be released:

"Obviously we're not going to give any details but it will happen at some point this season."

And in a late September interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jenna Coleman was asked and declined to comment:

Can you say anything specific about when we will see your character leave the show, assuming we haven’t already ["Magician's Apprentice" spoilers redacted -- JB]?

I can’t. But I'm hoping it will be a surprise, and I'm hoping it will stay a surprise. Yeah. [Laughs]

Knowing Moffat's legendary commitment to keeping things under wraps, that's probably all we're going to find out until it actually happens.

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  • I've accepted this answer, but could you edit that top spoilertag to say that she's stuck in the final heartbeat of her life and she will end up dying in Trap Street in the end? I think that's important, as it means the bottom line is she DOES die, even though she also sort of lives forever. (God, this show, eh?) – Rand al'Thor Dec 9 '15 at 21:39
  • @randal'thor I'm not convinced we actually know that for sure. I mean, the Doctor was supposed to die (we saw his "corpse" in "Day of the Doctor"), but he got over that. Who's to say Clara couldn't do the same, somehow? – Jason Baker Dec 9 '15 at 21:48
  • Sorry, meant "Name of the Doctor" there – Jason Baker Dec 9 '15 at 22:14
  • Well, she says in the very final scene that she's going back to Gallifrey; intent must count for something. Plus we actually saw her dead in Face the Raven. – Rand al'Thor Dec 10 '15 at 0:32

The boring answer is:

Clara will die in episode 10,

referenced here with quotes from Steven Moffat and an unidentified "insider". Here we learn that episode 11 will be Doctor Who's first ever single-actor episode, as the Doctor tries to come to terms with

Clara's death.

But stay tuned ... for the most brilliant fanbait theory ever!

(warning: no spoilertagging from here on)

The BBC have published the following photograph:

Clara, Daleks, and Doctor

It's a tribute to the Beatles, referencing the following photo from 1969:


First off, let's just confirm:

This is a very carefully done reference.

Both photographs are taken at the same crossing on Abbey Road, with a white VW Beetle as the first visible vehicle on the left side of the road and a black taxi cab as the first one on the right. The Doctor is smartly dressed like John Lennon and imitating Lennon's pose and gait. Clara is barefoot like Paul McCartney and pointing her finger to imitate McCartney's cigarette. There's no denying the clarity of the parallels and the care that must have been taken in staging this photo.

Now on to the conspiracy theory!

The Beatles picture has been famously used as evidence for 'Paul is Dead'.

There is a well-known conspiracy theory 'Paul is Dead', which asserts that Paul McCartney actually died in a car crash in 1966 and was replaced by a body double for Beatles appearances thereafter. This photo, from the cover of the Abbey Road album, was used as evidence for the theory:

The cover, which shows a photograph of the Beatles walking in step across the street away from Abbey Road Studios, resembles a funeral procession. Leading the procession is John wearing white, symbolizing the clergy. Ringo, dressed in black, is a pallbearer or an the undertaker. George, dressed in work clothes, is the gravedigger. Paul, the corpse, is out of step with the other Beatles, leading with his right foot instead of with his left. Also, Paul’s eyes are closed and he is barefoot. Asserting that because people in many areas of the world are buried barefoot, Paul McCartney Dead: The Great Hoax stated that this was “a strong death symbol.” Also, Paul is smoking a cigarette, also known as a “coffin nail“. He is holding the cigarette in his right hand, even though the real Paul McCartney was left handed.

Beetle reg

Behind the Beatles on the left side of the street is a Volkswagen Beetle with a license plate reading “28IF”, suggesting the Paul would have been 28 if he were still alive. Actually Paul would have been 27 when Abbey Road was released. For those who thought that this was just too tantalizing to let pass, Paul Is Dead: The Great Hoax explained, “To the believer, 28 IF does symbolically state Paul’s age—since people (especially in the Near East where Paul learned mysticism) believe we are all one year old at birth (counting the nine months of pregnancy). True, in this light, Paul would have been 28 IF he had lived!.” The first three letters on the license place, “LMW,” has been interpreted as “Linda McCartney Weeps”.

OK, OK, this seems pretty crazy. But regardless of whether or not you believe this theory, there's no doubt it exists as a theory. And the Doctor Who team must have known about this, because...

The parallel to 'Paul is Dead' is 'Clara is Dead'!

I've already mentioned the parallels between the Doctor's garb and John Lennon's, and between Clara's bare feet and finger and Paul McCartney's bare feet and cigarette. That's not much on its own, but let's take a close look at that Beetle reg:

Beetle reg again

Jenna Coleman (born 27 April 1986) is 29, and so will Clara Oswald (born 23 November 1986) be by the time Series 9 finishes later on this year. So it looks as though Clara will die in one of the episodes due to air before 23 November, so that she would on that date be 29 IF she had lived! And DWW, interpreted like LMW in the original, obviously means "Doctor Who Weeps".


Surely all this evidence, the number plates included, is far too much for coincidence. The suggestion is clearly that Clara will die in or before episode 10 (airdate 21 November) of series 9. This must be one of the cleverest pieces of fanbait ever made!

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  • Well don't I feel silly now – Jason Baker Oct 14 '15 at 0:53
  • Did you see this online or figure it all out yourself from the photo? This is such a genius and brilliant answer! – Lord Voldemort Oct 14 '15 at 0:54
  • @LordVoldemort I found it online and couldn't resist sharing it here. I hope people will like the answer, and perhaps the question too! – Rand al'Thor Oct 14 '15 at 0:57
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    Your answer is a combination of two of my favorite things: Doctor Who and the 'Paul is Dead' theory. You just made my day! :) – Lord Voldemort Oct 14 '15 at 1:01
  • Is it possible that the Daleks are part of the symbolism? As in, Clara will be killed by Daleks or something? – Adamant Oct 14 '15 at 6:31

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