The DOCTOR Is In: We Preview WHO’s Return with Star Karen Gillan

In anticipation of the much-anticipated return of DOCTOR WHO,’s West Coast Correspondent Tiffany Vogt recently had the chance to sit down (alongside a gaggle of reporters) with star Karen Gillan, who was only too happy to tease what’s in store for fans as the show kicks off the second half of its sixth season this Saturday.

So we’re in the midst of the 6th season, which is very exciting, and when we last left off, there had just been the big reveal that River Song is Amy and Rory’s daughter and that she had been kidnapped again.  Is there anything you can share about what to expect for the second half of the 6th season?
KAREN:  Well, after that massive revelation of the last series — that relationship between Amy and River is definitely going to be explored  — a lot!  So that’s been really fun actually.  That relationship really, really develops and it changes the dynamic for everyone in the cast.  So that’s really big.  And also “Let’s Kill Hitler.”  What a title?!  It’s amazing and it’s such a good episode.  I think that you’ll like it.  It’s really cool.  It’s got a cool robot villain called the Teselecta, which is really snazzy.

So more gizmos for Rory to play with? That’s going to be a lot of fun.
KAREN:  Yes. Totally!

Will there be any more historical figures, like Van Gogh who appeared last season, upcoming in the 2nd half of the season?
KAREN:  What do we have in the next series? We don’t really have any well-known historical figures coming in — and, actually, that’s a total lie!  Their always popping up, and there’s a return of someone.  [laughter]  And also Episode 11 is quite interesting.  The monster, it’s call the minotaur, and its quite historical.

Do you know anything historically about the character?
KAREN:  No, actually, I don’t.  My knowledge is not up to scratch with Greek mythology, I have to confess!  But the minotaur as a monster is so, so scary.  I mean, we actually had a real guy as the minotaur chasing us down corridors, which is really exciting.  It is something like 7 foot tall and it was really exciting to have a monster that actually, physically kind of chases you.  There is a physical threat and not just a psychological one.  So it’s a nice thing.

Do you think Amy and Rory are ready to be parents of an adult child?
KAREN:  Not really.  How do you deal with that?!  I think Amy definitely wants her baby back because she missed a big chunk of her life. So, yeah, that’s something that she has to deal with.  She has to trust The Doctor to make it happen — trust has always been such a big issue between those two characters.  It is quite interesting.

Will we see a bit the rebelliousness in River’s relationship with Amy because she’s an adult and will that cause friction in their relationship?
KAREN:  There’s definitely some parental issues coming with their relationship now.  Trying to control River is not an easy because she is far more rebellious than Amy.  You can start to see a few similarities between them and I sort of get it now.  But she is obviously more extreme.

Will any of those parental instincts start to come out now that The Doctor has kissed River?
KAREN:  Oh yeah, definitely!

Did you know all along that Amy had been kidnapped and replaced with a Ganger, or were your completely surprised?
KAREN:  No, I did not know that.  I did not know that until I read the script.  So that whole time, I did not know.  I did not even know ’til I think we filmed that episode.  So I played all those episodes with no clue that I was not me.  That was the purpose basically.  They did not want there to be any hints or anything like that.

Was it actually identified when Amy was taken?
KAREN:  I think it was said that it was sometime when they were America.

Now that Amy has been through these latest trials, such as having her baby taken, does that take the shine off traveling with The Doctor?
KAREN:  Yeah, that’s really interesting.  Many things are happening to this girl that could really damage her.  Well, basically, she kind of really idolized The Doctor in the last series and many things have happened that could damage that.  But for some reason, there’s this kind of undying faith in him. In fact, it is something they explore with the minotaur and it’s really, really interesting.  And something happens that changes that completely — oh, I can’t tell you any of this!  [laughter]  It’s really, really exquisite and it’s really explored in Episode 11.

Will the upcoming episodes touch back upon The Doctor’s death again, or will it be more monster-of-the-week stories?
KAREN:  There’s a few sort of stand-alone adventures, but The Doctor’s death is always prevalent in all of the episodes.  It is definitely still going to happen.

Are you happy with the action figure of Amy?
KAREN:  I’m really happy!  It’s so cool! It’s a doll of me. I don’t believe that.  I really never thought that would happen.  It’s not the sort of thing you expect to happen.  I saw the dolls in the convention hall and it was really cool.

When you were growing up, did you watch DOCTOR WHO and, if so, did you have a favorite companion?
KAREN:  Well, growing up, it wasn’t on television.  But I knew what it was ’cause everyone’s heard of it in Britain.  But I never actually watched it. And then I watched a bit of it when it came back in 2005.  So I have to say my favorite companion has got to be Rose.  I love Rose.  Yeah, and I thought Billie did such a great job.  I just really related to her as a young girl.  So, yeah, she’s my favorite.

Can you talk a little about what it is like working with Steven Moffat?  He’s now known as such an iconic science fiction writer and creator.
KAREN:  It’s amazing ’cause we get just the best scripts!  You know what I mean?  I feel so honored to be delivering the lines that he’s written — and, you know, you can never predict what he’s going to write either.  You think you’ve got it sussed, and then he’ll do something completely different.  I don’t know what his brain is made of! He’s got to be approaching on genius.

[Executive Producer] Steven Moffat is on Twitter now and it’s very funny the way he talks to the public.  He seems like a brilliant, mad genius in his writing style and he seems to have almost a flirtatious humor about him.
KAREN:  Oh, yes!  He’s actually hilarious!  He’s so good with groups of people as well, and just kind of chats.

What’s your favorite episode, from those that you’ve worked on?
KAREN:  I think my favorite episode would be the first one we did, which was “The Eleventh Hour.”  Just because I think there’s something just tragic about that episode.  We met Amy as a little girl and see that relationship form, and then its turned on its head because he doesn’t come back and she’s just really angry.  You also really see who these people are to each other and I felt that it kind of bursts off the screen.  So that’s my favorite episode  — and it was possibly my favorite one to shoot as well.

In that episode there was a very funny scene where Amy grabs The Doctor by his full-length tie and sticks it in the car door, so he can’t get away.  It was only after that he decides to wear a bow tie. And I always thought that was what was instrumental in that change because Amy had grabbed him and held onto him because of it.  So he changed his tie.
KAREN:  Oh my gosh!  You’re right!  That’s brilliant.  Oh my god, that’s so good!

So it is actually like he thought, ‘I’ve got to get something she can’t hold onto’ when he chose the bow tie.
KAREN:   Okay, maybe bow ties are quite cool.  [laughter]

I watched that scene over and over again because Amy is so assertive in that scene and it is very rare for a companion to really put her hands on The Doctor and manhandle him.
KAREN:  She’s actually like that.  Feisty is the word that is commonly used for DOCTOR WHO companions, and I remember the British press asked about it and they were like, ‘what else?’ and I’m like, ‘No, she really is!’

Amy is one of the few companions that puts her hands on The Doctor and moves him.  Even River doesn’t actually put her hands physically on him very often, so Amy is the one person who has the freedom to touch him.
KAREN:  He’s sort of an untouchable character in a weird way.

He doesn’t have a lot of physical contact with other characters.  So it seems she has a privilege there, which is unique in that relationship.
KAREN:  No.  And yeah, that’s really interesting.

Are you worried about being type-cast?
KAREN:  No, I’m not actually.  Because, well I hadn’t thought about it!  [laughter]  I really hope to do a variety of things after DOCTOR WHO.  For instance, we have a bit of a break now, so I’m doing a play in London which is set in the ’60’s and it’s going to be on in the West End.  I’m really excited about it. It’s just really completely different.  So already it’s kind of looking good.  So I’m not worried about being type-cast. Actually, I think there’s a lot of variety in the show DOCTOR WHO.  So you get to show a lot of different aspects.

How do you find the energy to do it all?
KAREN:  It’s quite tiring.  But I’ve just got no social life pretty much. [laughter]

What was it like going to New York City for the Season 6 premiere with the fans?
KAREN:  That was amazing!  Seriously, amazing.  At the first ever screening we did in New York, we all couldn’t believe it and we will always remember it because the audience was so expressive.  It’s amazing.  They applauded, whistled and the cheering.

Did you like visiting New York?
KAREN:  Oh yeah.  I’ve fallen in love with that city, I have to say!  Oh my god, it’s magic — actual magic in the city.

You said you were surprised by the cheering and whooping during the screening.  Is there a difference between British and American audience reactions?
KAREN:  Oh, it’s really different.  Just in terms British people are really reserved.  And I actually remember when they were cheering that it felt quite shocking.  Like, why are they making noise?  But they were really, really excited.  With the British, there is maybe applause at the beginning and applause at the end; but not during it.

Can you talk about what it is like working with Arthur Darvill?
KAREN:  He’s brilliant!  He’s adorable.  He could not be here because he’s working at The Globe Theater in London.  But he’s great to work with.  There’s actually been a lot of Amy/Rory stuff in the next half of the series that’s coming up.  I feel like we’re a real team now.  He’s one of my really good friends.

What is he like off set, is he still really funny, vivacious and energized?
KAREN:  Yeah, we’re all a little like that.  It carries on from filming.  But it’s funny, when we’re off set — we’re quite different when we’re off set as people.  We chill out a bit more and talk to each other as people, more as human beings.

But then you’re not running from mad machines.
KAREN:  That’s true!  We’re not really running from machines or monsters then.  Even between takes on set, we’re pretty mental, but then we get off set and then its kind of back to being normal human beings.

Has there been a favorite outfit that you’ve worn as Amy?  It seems like she has worn some outrageous outfits.
KAREN:  Yeah, yeah, she really has.  Actually, I think it’s sort of funny.  I think that I like the police outfit ’cause it is sort of like her outfit.  I remember them choosing that and they tried to put me in these big trousers and I’m like, ‘No, you’re not!  She’s a kiss-o-gram!’  So, yeah, that’s kind of perfect.

Will we be seeing that outfit again?
KAREN:  Maybe.  It popped up in the Christmas Special, so you never know!

DOCTOR WHO returns with brand new episodes on Saturday August 27th at 9PM on BBC America (8PM on Space in Canada)

Photo Credit: Jennifer Schadel

Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to TheTVAddict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).