a real world point of view
|Birth date:||28 November 1987|
|In the DWU|
|Main roles:||Amy Pond|
|Main time period active:||2010-2012|
|Notable non-DWU work:|
The Kevin Bishop Show
Karen Gillan (born 28 November 1987) played the Soothsayer in the Doctor Who television story The Fires of Pompeii and Amy Pond between series 5 and 7 of Doctor Who. She was the first companion actress since Billie Piper to appear as a regular in two consecutive seasons and the first since Sophie Aldred to appear with the same Doctor for more than one season.
Gillan was born and raised in Inverness, Scotland. Her father, Raymond John, a day centre manager, and mother, Marie, lived in Kinmylies. She attended school at Charleston Academy, formally known as Inverness High School. When she was sixteen, Karen decided to pursue her acting career. She studied acting at Edinburgh's Telford College. Later, she secured a place at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts drama school in London on the BA (Hons) Acting degree course.
Before Doctor Who
Gillan gained her first television role in Rebus while still studying at Italia Conti, and has since had parts in The Kevin Bishop Show, Channel 4's Stacked and James Nesbitt's forthcoming film Outcast. On The Kevin Bishop Show, Gillan played several roles in skits, including one in which she parodied both Angelina Jolie and Jolie's interpretation of video game heroine Lara Croft. She has also lampooned Julia Roberts' role in Pretty Woman and pop singer Katy Perry.
Standing 5'11, Gillan is the tallest actress to be cast in the companion role. When not acting, she has taken advantage of her height to take on occasional modelling roles, including 2007 London Fashion Week for designer Allegra Hicks' autumn/winter catwalk show.
Gillan also starred in the BBC's interactive digital thriller The Well in 2009 as Coll with Jo Woodcock, (Beth) Issac Ssebandeke, (Ivan) and Greg Foreman (Luis).
Following the departure of Catherine Tate from the series and the announcement that David Tennant was leaving the programme in 2009, speculation ran rampant as to who might play the Eleventh Doctor's companion. This speculation increased when young actor Matt Smith was cast as the Doctor.
Gillan's casting as companion Amy Pond was announced on 29 May, 2009 by the BBC. When she went to be cast she had to use the words "panic moon" (an anagram of companion).[source needed] Writer and executive producer Steven Moffat described her as being "funny, and clever, and gorgeous, and sexy". No further details of her character were released and, in fact, for several weeks only a first name was known, until the BBC later indicated the character's last name. Gillan said she won the audition hands down. She said she is thrilled to have been cast for the part.[source needed]
She is one of only a handful of actors to return to televised Doctor Who in an ongoing role after having previously appeared in a guest role. Others have included Colin Baker, Peter Purves, Jean Marsh, Nicholas Courtney, Ian Marter, Lalla Ward, and Freema Agyeman (plus David Tennant, who provided voice acting for Big Finish Productions audio dramas).
Gillan shares some similarities with her predecessor, Catherine Tate. Aside from both being redheads, Gillan is also known for her comedy impersonations and had appeared on comedy TV series before joining the cast of Doctor Who.
Gillan is not the only member of her family appearing on Doctor Who as her nine-year-old cousin, Caitlin Blackwood, portrayed Amy Pond as a child in TV: The Eleventh Hour, The Big Bang, and Let's Kill Hitler. Gillan and Blackwood had never met before Doctor Who; Blackwood grew up in Ireland and Gillan in Scotland. They first met at the first readthrough of series 5.
Gillan left Doctor Who along with her co-star Arthur Darvill at the end of the series 7 episode TV: The Angels Take Manhattan, although the last episode she filmed was TV: The Power of Three. She stated that she wanted Amy's departure to be "final", thereby ruling out a return appearance.[source needed]
- Karen cannot swim (or at least not competently); this was revealed by Neil Gaiman in DWM's production notes - he said that in his episode, The Doctor's Wife, he had originally intended for there to be a scene with Amy in the TARDIS swimming pool, but Karen couldn't swim.
- Her biggest fear is (or was, until she conquered it) driving a car (as revealed in the Doctor Who Confidential episode Heartbreak Hotel).
- Internet Movie Database at the
- BBC News report on Gillan's casting.
- Karen Gillan Fan site
- Karen Gillan in BBC The Well
- Images of Karen Gillan in The Well
- Clips of Karen Gillan in The Well