Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

Doctor Who hits America

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coverage of series 6, 2011

  1. Doctor Who hits America (23 April)
  2. (no article) | letters (30 April)
  3. (7 May)
  4. (14 May)
  5. (no article) (21 May)
  6. (28 May)
  7. Best job in the universe (4 June) | letters (18 June)
  8. The Doctor's Mrs Robinson | The impact of Who (27 August)
  9. (no article) (3 September)
  10. (no article) (10 September)
  11. (no article) (17 September)
  12. The odd couple (24 September)
  13. Who is my hero? (1 October) | letters (15 October)
  14. Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow (17 December)

coverage of other series
S1 | S2 | S3 | S4 | Specials | S5 | S6 | S7 | S8 | S9 | S10

  • Publication: Radio Times
  • Date: 2011-04-23
  • Author: John Naughton, Benjamin Cook
  • Page: 28
  • Language: English

The Time Lord is back, but way out West in a Stetson - Matt Smith shares his US diary exclusively with RT. But first - hold your horses - who's that in jeans? Karen Gillan tells us why she's wearing the trousers

WESTERN GAL Karen Gillan (Amy Pond) opts for jeans while filming in the Valley of the Gods, Utah. But what are those strange markings on her arms..?

I SPENT A LOT of time in Utah running around the desert,' says Karen Gillan. "It simply wouldn't have looked the same if we'd filmed it in Cardiff against a green screen. The desert backdrop really gives the opening two episodes an epic feel?'

You'd think filming in the desert would be hot work but, at night, temperatures fell below freeze g: "We were all 'thermalled' up and I had on two pairs of trousers and four tops! Then the sun would come up, making it blistering hot and we'd peel off the layers; laughs Gillan.

Trousers? Yup, for some fans of Amy Pond that's the bad news. In the opening episodes of e new series, Amy will forsake her traditional micro-mini in favour of sensible trews and her high heels for trainers.

"It's true!" giggles Gillan. "I quite like the idea that she's getting a little bit more tomboyish as she becomes more of an action girl."

Then, of course, she's married. Not that this will change her, she insists. I hate it when people settle down into a rut when they marry and get all subdued and a bit more boring. I was determined that that would never happen to her."

The new series marks a new start for the character Gillan simply calls "Pond". 'As the Doctor rebooted the universe at the end of the last series,

Pond's been given the life that she should have had," she reasons. "The life where she wasn't sat down by psychiatrists telling her she's crazy. She was obviously a broken person. She's generally a bit more settled now?'

Pond may be more settled, but Karen Gillan can still be thrown by the twists and turns of the story: "Everything's so important and precise in Steven Moffat's scripts. There are a couple of throwaway lines in the opening two-parter, which I thought were just a couple of funny gags but turn out to be one of the most important things that Amy's ever said. And I didn't know that at the time!"

But where else would she get the chance swash her buckle playing an intergalactic pirate as she does in "a full-on fight with no stun double" in episode three of this series?

"I'm wearing a miniskirt in that one," she reassures, "with some ridiculous pink tights, so I'm like a pink-tighted pirate! I love that so much."

A final thought. Who wears the metaphorical trousers on set? Has Matt Smith ever requested a cup of tea from the Doctor's "assistant"?

"Actually, he did try that the other day," she laughs dismissively. "He didn't get one."

Enough said.



Who puts the sand in sandwich




So, Doctor Who in a foreign land. I arrive later than Karen and Arthur [Darvill], because I had to go on Craig Ferguson's Late Late Show in LA. He's such a huge fan. He was so welcoming. I think it's the most fun I've ever had on a chat show.

Everyone in LA tells me there's nothing here in Utah. It's pitch black, so I can't see. I just feel the long road lull as we wind through endless American desert. Utah has to wait till morning.

And boom - from my motel, I look out and see the red-coloured desert, and I'm in awe. It's majestic. I go get pancakes. Karen is on the make-up wagon. "Oh my God, oh my God, it's amaaazzzing," she buzzes. I agree.

Across the street, a lady in a camper van has pulled up on the roadside. She wears a hat, has a small table and holds up an iPad across which flash the words "AUTOGRAPHS, PLEASE". We're in the middle of nowhere - even the coyotes get lost here, I'm told - but this lady, by some twist of fate or luck or persistence, really wants an autograph, so we oblige.

As the day winds on and we bemoan our jetlag, I'm excited about this afternoon. Karen is being chased by a helicopter, and we have big black stately cars kicking up the dusty desert in a chase. It's such a wonderful step for Doctor Who to have this type of location. It gives us the scale of a movie. This is where Forrest Gump stopped running, where Indiana Jones found the Temple of Doom, and now where the Doctor faces his darkest hour.

But for now - I'm sprawled on the bonnet of the coolest car [a bright red 1959 Edsel Villager Station Wagon], wearing a Stetson. Yeah, the Doctor wears a Stetson now. Stetsons are totally cool. I've been campaigning for a hat like this for months. And a coat. I want a coat. Not today, it's far too hot, but when we're back in Cardiff - later in the series - just you keep watching!

It was my idea to lie on the car, by the way. The script said the Doctor was leaning against it, but the Doctor is always leaning, it's such a Doctor thing to do, so I thought, "A car this cool? I have to lie on it!" To my surprise, they didn't say no.


Another drive through the night. A few hours sleep. A new day, a new state... and a sandy beach bordering a lake. This is where we're shooting today. I decide to wear thermals It's windy on this beach. Five hours later, it's floe the sun blazes, the thermals were a mistake, we're all lying on a blanket having a picnic. g this is no ordinary picnic. It feels like the last supper. The Doctor is in trouble...

And so am I - the sand is getting everywhere It's real food, cheese, bread - but real sand. One of my pet hates is actors not eating in scenes when they should be. It looks rubbish. I either have to go for it, or try to eat as little possible. I opt for the second. The Doctor isn't hungry, I figure. He's preoccupied with what - who - is about to come out of the water. Spoiler.

The wine isn't real. It's grape juice, and w Still, drinking warm grape juice in the sun, o the beach, among friends - there are worse to spend a day. There's one brilliant line where the Doctor wonders which came first, the wine or the gums. Kids will love that. That's why Steven Moffat is a genius - he taps into the minds children, the jokes, the scares.

It's hard sometimes for Karen, Arthur, Alex [Kingston] and me stop playing and concentrate. We must drive the crew mad, but that's part of our strange energy It isn't like that on other jobs - it's far more serious. Don't get me wrong, we take Doctor Who very seriously and get the work done, but the energy constantly needs to be so high, so I think we're consciously trying to keep it alive and bouncy. It's a very particular atmosphere. If you see us out of work, we're probably very different.


Another early start. It's 6am. The sun is yet to rise, there's a brisk wind - and this morning my thermals are a sure-fire hit. But poor Arthur has to wade into the freezing water. I can't tell you why, reader - I would have to kill you - but let's just say his teeth are chattering, but he looks determined not to be cold.

Is there a certain amount of schadenfreude, watching him waist-deep in Lake Powell? Well of course there is! You're always thinking, °Thank God it's not me wading into that freezing lake at six in the morning"... until you see it on screen, that is, and think, "Oh, wow, that would have been totally worth it." It's tough, this US shoot, for all of us - but by God, it'll be worth it on screen.

As the sun comes up, I can see for miles, space, distance... the colour of the land is unique. What's so special is the sense of scale here. Alex Kingston says she feels something spiritual, and I think she may be right.

For the rest of today, we're filming some crucial scenes for River Song. I can't be any more specific, reader - or I'd have to kill you, again, and who'd want to die twice? - but I will tell you that Alex is a dream to work with. She's a regular now. She's part of "Team Tardis", as we like to call it, rather smugly. I think Steven basically re-enacts his fantasies through Alex. He gives her the best exits and entrances, and great one-liners. She is a firecracker for sure. I simply love River Song. I'm hugely fond of her. Today, she is on top form. Everyone is.

Team Tardis does America... and I've a feeling we'll be winging our way west again before long. It would seem that the Doctor loves an American breakfast. Matt Smith

Rory mans up!

Rory's in it much more this series," says Arthur Darvill. "We discussed what it would be like with three people in the Tardis. My slight concern was that Rory was going to be a third wheel, but all the writing's been really clever. More things happen and people can go off in different directions."

And Mr Amy Pond displays more backbone in this series. "Going on these adventures makes him man up a little bit. Amy will always wear the trousers in the relationship. As much as Rory has proved himself, it's Amy after all, and I dare any man to be in charge of that relationship. She's a firecracker."

Asked to describe the sight of his on-screen wife wielding a sword in her pirate regalia, Darvill is to the point: "Terrifying. I did think she was going to have someone's eye out, but she was actually quite nimble. Karen Gillan does her own stunts. Official!"

Darvill also plays guitar and piano and has supported Fyfe Dangerfield of Guillemots on tour. Given these talents (and Katherine Jenkins in last year's Christmas special), is the series inching towards a Bzy-style all-musical episode? "We keep joking about it actually. It's fun occasionally to just rehearse the lines as a musical!" And what's Karen's voice like, we wonder? "Piercing." JN

DOCTOR COOL Matt Smith is glad of his thermals on a cold dawn shoot

BLANKET COVERAGE Arthur Darvill isn't too sure about Karen Gillan's new.JOOk

TIME LORDING IT Matt Smith: "A car this cool? I have to lie on it"

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  • APA 6th ed.: Cook, John Naughton, Benjamin (2011-04-23). Doctor Who hits America. Radio Times p. 28.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Cook, John Naughton, Benjamin. "Doctor Who hits America." Radio Times [add city] 2011-04-23, 28. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Cook, John Naughton, Benjamin. "Doctor Who hits America." Radio Times, edition, sec., 2011-04-23
  • Turabian: Cook, John Naughton, Benjamin. "Doctor Who hits America." Radio Times, 2011-04-23, section, 28 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Doctor Who hits America | url= | work=Radio Times | pages=28 | date=2011-04-23 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Doctor Who hits America | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=21 July 2024}}</ref>