By Li-mei Hoang
LONDON (Reuters) - A 25-year old soap opera actress beat hundreds of hopefuls to travel the universe alongside the Time Lord in one of the most sought after roles on British television, the BBC said on Wednesday.
Jenna-Louise Coleman was chosen to become the new companion of the 11th Doctor Who (Matt Smith) on the show of the same name, replacing Karen Gillan, who plays Amy Pond.
Best known for her roles in British soap "Emmerdale" and school drama "Waterloo Road", Coleman will replace Gillan and her on-screen partner Rory Williams (Arthur Darvill) when they depart the series in a heart-breaking departure planned later this year.
Executive Producer Steven Moffat said the storyline for "Doctor Who" this season will be full of thrills, adventures and big surprises as the show builds up to its 50th anniversary.
"Jenna is going to lead him his merriest dance yet. Who she's playing, how the Doctor meets her, and even where he finds her, are all part of one of the biggest mysteries the Time Lord ever encounters, Moffat said in a press statement.
"Even by the Doctor's standards, this isn't your usual boy meets girl."
Viewers will have to wait until Christmas to meet Coleman's character, who is described by Moffat as being even more talkative than the current doctor.
The actress, who is from Blackpool, told Britain's Guardian newspaper she was a fan of the show and of former cast members David Tennant and Billie Piper.
"I'm beyond excited, I can't wait to get cracking," she said. "Working alongside Matt I know is going to be enormous fun and a huge adventure."
Coleman has also appeared on the big screen in "Captain America: The First Avenger".
The seventh series of Doctor Who will air in the autumn with 14 episodes, including a Christmas special. The show first aired in 1963, starring William Hartnell as the Doctor.
(Reporting by Li-mei Hoang; Editing by Paul Casciato)