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Jenna Coleman leaves Doctor Who to play Queen Victoria in ITV miniseries

Either Doctor Who needs a new companion, or he’ll be traveling solo in the TARDIS soon. Jenna Coleman, who plays Clara, told BBC Radio 1 on Friday that she’s leaving the show so that she can star in an upcoming ITV miniseries about Queen Victoria.

Coleman’s announcement comes just a day before the Sept. 19 premiere of Doctor Who season 9. With the actress remaining tight-lipped on when or how her character will exit the series, the issue will now be hanging over fans’ heads. All she would reveal was that her departure will happen “at some point this season” and that they “worked out a really good story arc.”

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It’s been three years since Coleman joined the show, first appearing during the seventh series. She shared that she’s loved being on Doctor Who — calling it a “unique beast” — and assured fans that her departure was carefully planned. “It’s been in the works for a long time,” she said. She even sat down with writer Steven Moffat a year-and-a-half ago to figure how best to do it.

For Coleman, it’s been emotional saying her goodbyes, but she’s found a role she’s even more excited about. The actress will star as Queen Victoria in an eight-part drama series about the monarch and her relationship with eventual long-time husband Prince Albert. The series, Victoria, was created and is being written by novelist Daisy Goodwin and will begin filming in October.

Meanwhile, Coleman has reminded Doctor Who fans on Twitter that’s she’s not gone yet.

Catch the season 9 premiere of Doctor Who on BBC America on Sept. 19 and prepare to say goodbye (at some point) to Clara.