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Going For The Doctor Karen Relishes Her Big Moment In Who History

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KAREN Gillan's big "pinch me" Dr Who moment -- and there have been plenty in her two seasons playing the good Doctor's feisty flame-haired companion Amy Pond -- came at San Diego's 2011 Comic-Con festival in July.

When Gillan and Dr Who lead Matt Smith fronted a panel attended by 6500 devotees -- many of them waving the Doctor's weapon and tool of choice, the sonic screwdriver -- Gillan realised the magnitude of the show.

"We didn't know what to expect going into San Diego," she says with a laugh. "We certainly didn't expect what happened. It was the most crazy experience. It's a weird moment when you run into yourself in the street -- me and Matt were just wandering through San Diego and we ran into the Doctor and Amy.

"But when we did this panel with all these people waving sonic screwdrivers, that was just an insane and a magical moment where we all went, 'Whoa, this show is bigger than any of us can comprehend'."

Playing Pond has been a career triumph for Gillan, a Scottish model turned actor, who in season 6 of Dr Who is dealing with the impending death of the Doctor, finding out she has a daughter who is older then her (without getting into it too much, that works in the Dr Who world).

But this week's episode, The Girl Who Waited, sees Gillan score a personal triumph against co-star Smith -- who has good-naturedly bagged her in the press for being clumsy -- when she pulls off a single-shot choreographed fight scene and takes out six enemy "Handbots".

"I was quite proud of myself," says Gillan, who makes no bones about the fact she is unco-ordinated. "Everything is done fairly rapidly in the world of Dr Who, so I had a 20-minute rehearsal the night before and then went and did it the next day.

"It had to be well-rehearsed because the director wanted a long continuous shot where the camera didn't cut away.

"It took a few takes, but I got there in the end.

"Having pulled that off, I don't need to say anything to Matt, but I will challenge him to a choreographed fight."

The Girl Who Waited is Gillan's favourite of the current series, which Australian fans are lapping up thanks to it being fast-tracked here within a week of airing in the UK.

Fight scenes aside, it's an episode in which Pond is front and centre, trapped in a quarantine facility for victims of an alien plague -- a plague that will kill the Doctor in a day.

It's a tear-jerker episode, in which Gillan gets to shine.

Thanks to the time-travelling nature of Dr Who, Gillan plays a young Amy and an old Amy as she waits for rescue -- a storyline that saw her spend hours in the make-up chair and give her a glimpse of what she might look like when she's older.

When she's not time-travelling as Pond, Gillan is an earthly 23 years old and has no qualms about playing, and looking, old.

"It was a challenge for me as an actress, I kind of begged everyone to let me do it," she says. "I was so curious about how I'd look old."

She gives a raucous laugh, then adds: "I've discovered I don't age well. I know it's all downhill from here for me."

Gillan says the role of the Doctor's most independent companion has been the opportunity of a lifetime.

"'Amy's a brilliantly written character, with so many layers," she says.

"She deals with more serious issues than I have to. It keeps things in perspective for me. I love the fact that she's quite empowered and she is a really strong female. She's more fiery than I am as a person. She's the kind of person I would quite like to be. I get to pretend it, which is the next best thing."

DR WHO

Saturday, 7.30pm, ABC1

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  • APA 6th ed.: Schipp, Debbie (2011-09-11). Going For The Doctor Karen Relishes Her Big Moment In Who History. The Sun-Herald p. TV Extra, p. 7.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Schipp, Debbie. "Going For The Doctor Karen Relishes Her Big Moment In Who History." The Sun-Herald [add city] 2011-09-11, TV Extra, p. 7. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Schipp, Debbie. "Going For The Doctor Karen Relishes Her Big Moment In Who History." The Sun-Herald, edition, sec., 2011-09-11
  • Turabian: Schipp, Debbie. "Going For The Doctor Karen Relishes Her Big Moment In Who History." The Sun-Herald, 2011-09-11, section, TV Extra, p. 7 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Going For The Doctor Karen Relishes Her Big Moment In Who History | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Going_For_The_Doctor_Karen_Relishes_Her_Big_Moment_In_Who_History | work=The Sun-Herald | pages=TV Extra, p. 7 | date=2011-09-11 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 September 2019 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Going For The Doctor Karen Relishes Her Big Moment In Who History | url=http://cuttingsarchive.org/index.php/Going_For_The_Doctor_Karen_Relishes_Her_Big_Moment_In_Who_History | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=23 September 2019}}</ref>