'Doctor Who' Star Jenna Coleman To Play Queen Victoria in New ITV Drama

The BBC confirmed Coleman is leaving 'Doctor Who' after the next season, which kicks off in the U.K. on Saturday.

Doctor Who is losing his companion.

After months of speculation, Jenna Coleman – who plays Clara Oswald in the BBC's long-running sci-fi series – has been confirmed for the lead role in ITV's upcoming new drama Victoria, with the BBC now stating that the new season of Doctor Who will be Coleman's last. 

The eight-part series Victoria will chronicle the early life of the British monarch, who at age 18 took the throne in 1837, and ruled for 63 years until her death in 1901. She was the longest-serving British month until just this month, when Queen Elizabeth overtook her record-breaking reign.

"I am delighted to be cast as Queen Victoria in this ambitious drama of her life," said Coleman in a statement. "She is a vivid, strong, inspirational and utterly fascinating woman in British history, and I can't wait to tell her story.”

Victoria will be produced by Mammoth Screen (Poldark, Endeavour) and is created by novelist Daisy Goodwin, who will write the series in her screenwriting debut. Goodwin will serve as executive producer alongside Dan McCulloch (Endeavour, Indian Summers) and Mammoth Screen’s managing director Damien Timmer (Parade’s End, Poldark).

The series will open with a 90-minute episode, followed by seven one-hour episodes. Tom Vaughan (Doctor Foster, Starter For Ten) will direct the 90-minute pilot. Paul Frift (Doctor Who, Room at the Top) will produce. Shooting is set to kick off in October at locations in Northern England. Further casting will be announced shortly. 

Coleman will end her three-year tenure on Doctor Who with the show's new season. The actress played alongside previous Doctor Who star Matt Smith and the show's current Time Lord, Peter Capaldi. She was hotly tipped to have been exiting the series at the end of the last season, but showrunner Peter Moffatt confirmed that he had eventually written her into the 2014 Christmas special after she requested to stay. The ninth season – due to premiere on U.K. screens Sept. 19 – will now be her last.

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