Karen Gillan: Meet Doctor Who's new assistant
Doctor Who has a new assistant, Amy Pond. Karen Gillan, who plays her, explains what it's like to be the most envied woman in Britain
- The Observer, Sunday 14 March 2010
There is, I regret to inform those of you who like a bit of grit in the oyster to mitigate yellow jealousy, not a bad bone in this story. Karen is, truly and annoyingly, a lucky, pretty, talented, happy, smart, leggy, ordinary, honest, laughing girl, from a very loving family. Born in Inverness 22 years ago, she toyed for a while with a career in music before being told her acting was better than her singing, and heading to London's Italia Conti school, which she soon quit to take her first TV job, in an episode of Rebus. Suddenly she found herself out of work, out of college, having to take a job in a pub (The Pilgrim in Kennington, you fans might like to know) just to survive. But before long she was talent-spotted for a modelling job, and that was her career for the next couple of years, while trying furiously to get back into acting. She thought she "hadn't a hope in hell" of securing Amy, so just went for it, without fear.
"Then I got the recall, the second audition. That was when I started sweating. This huge thing. And it was so secretive I couldn't even tell BBC reception where I was going, had to pretend it was for something called Panic Moon, which is an anagram of companion." She was the last auditionee, and got the call later that same night that's still changing her life.
"To be honest, I wasn't really a huge follower of Dr Who before I got this part. I mean I knew it was huge, but … I was nothing like my mum, who's a proper diehard Whovian. She's got a Tardis money-bag, and Dalek bubble-bath. But having read the first episode I was utterly smitten, and with the character. Amy's a sassy lady, funny and passionate, and her relationship with the doctor has a really interesting dynamic." She kisses him this series: does she love him? Karen (who is in real life in a relationship), answers carefully. "She has a love for him, a really deep love for him. But not romantic.
"It's been an education in itself to work with Matt, who's so endlessly inventive, bringing something new to it every day rather than falling into the easy default scared-face. That's one of the challenges; you're faced with life-threatening situations every episode, but you can't just widen your eyes all the time. Yes, this doctor is preeeetty good. As, I've said, is Amy, and she gets to wear all these small skirts, which I will admit was very cold, but also very cool. They originally wanted to put me in trousers, but I did say I'd like to wear a skirt because – you'll understand when you watch it. Actually I think I love Amy. I'm in love with her. I want to be her."