Excited though we are for ‘Doctor Who’ to send off 2014 with its annual Christmas special (this year’s featuring Nick Frost as a sinister-seeming Santa) we can’t shake trepidation over recent rumors that “Last Christmas” would prove the … well, last for Jenna-Louise Coleman’s Clara. Now, the BBC has stepped in to address the departure, while another rumor suggests Clara will be around a bit longer.

Understandably wanting to preserve secrecy, the BBC itself would only say to RadioTimes of Clara’s potential exit from the series that “This is speculation so we won’t be commenting. Viewers will have to watch the Christmas episode to find out!” That said, the notably less reliable UK Mirror claims that where Jenna Coleman had in fact been scheduled to exit in the Christmas special, the actress opted to remain on partway through season 9.

From the BBC’s official synopsis of “Last Christmas”:

It’s Christmas in the North Pole when the Doctor and Clara return to BBC AMERICA in an all-new Christmas special. Last year’s special featured the emotional regeneration that marked the start of Peter Capaldi’s run as the Twelfth Doctor. This year the Time Lord and his companion are in for an all-new adventure as stars Capaldi and Jenna Coleman are joined by Nick Frost (The Worlds End, Shaun of the Dead) as Santa Claus!

Previously announced guest stars include Michael Troughton (Breathless, The New Statesman), son of Second Doctor Patrick Troughton, Natalie Gumede (Coronation Street, Strictly Come Dancing), Faye Marsay (Pride, The White Queen), and Nathan McMullen (Misfits, Casualty). Written by Emmy Award winner Steven Moffat (Sherlock, Coupling) and directed by Paul Wilmshurst (Strike Back, Combat Kids), the 2014 Christmas Special will air on BBC AMERICA.

We’ve included the latest previews below, but what do you think? Would you prefer Clara to remain on through part of ‘Doctor Who’ season 9, or should Jenna-Louise Coleman exit with “Last Christmas” later this year?