How will they ever survive? He used to hide in the cupboard of my trailer, jump out at me and attack me with a giant shoe horn,' said Karen Gillan Deep in the bowels of the BBC Wales drama studios in Cardiff Bay, the opening scenes of the first episode of the new series of Doctor Who are being filmed. Producers have gathered together just about every single Dalek that has ever appeared in the show, even a replica on loan from former executive producer Russell T Davies.
Smith is wearing his trademark Time Lord ensemble of tweed jacket and bow-tie, while Gillan is decked out in black leather jacket and perilously short skirt. Both were unknown quantities when cast as The Doctor and his companion Amy Pond, roles that have since pole vaulted them to TV superstardom.
But it could have all been so different, as Smith explains. One leading bookmaker took just 15 bets on Smith landing the role, most of those laid by his neighbours. If the casting of Smith as the Time Lord upset all odds, it was an even greater surprise when Inverness-born Gillan, 24, landed the role of his companion. Gillan says she quickly became accustomed to the MI6 levels of secrecy that prevail in such a high-profile show.
I was taken into a room to meet the executive producer and the head of publicity. I was half tempted to make something up so that I seemed more interesting. He was just 26 when he successfully emerged from three weeks of gruelling auditions to become the youngest ever Time Lord Upon returning to our screens in , Doctor Who single-handedly restored Saturday teatime viewing to the status of family event.
Now, each new series is greeted with feverish anticipation by its millions of fans worldwide. This new season is more eagerly anticipated than most: Off screen, the chemistry between the two is palpable but purely professional.
They resemble brother and sister, so much so that they tease each other affectionately. Karen has her make-up applied. She'll bow out of the show in the fifth episode of the new series. She will laughingly mock him for his clumsiness on set. He used to hide in the cupboard of my trailer, jump out at me and attack me with a giant shoe horn. He must have done it a hundred times and I fell for it on every single occasion.
Karen and myself are terrible corpsers. When she joined the show, Karen never corpsed at all. Each new series is greeted with feverish anticipation by its millions of fans worldwide pictured: We both put our cards on the table in terms of when we felt Amy should go, then made a mutual decision.
I wanted to leave at exactly the right time so that my departure would have maximum impact. But it felt right. People assume my character is going to die. It might not be that clear-cut. Upon returning to our screens in , Doctor Who single-handedly restored Saturday teatime viewing to the status of family event pictured: I managed to get through the filming OK.
Then we wrapped the final scene. Steven made a big speech. I was wailing throughout the whole thing. What other TV shows could give me that?
Then I went off to study drama at university and it took off from there. It had to be my version of The Doctor. Like Einstein I saw The Doctor as being both brilliant and barmy. I was always keen to retain an element of The Professor. The boots and high trousers immediately felt right. When I suggested a bow-tie everyone groaned. Gillan has been single since splitting with photographer Patrick Green around the same time. Despite rumours, Smith and Gillan are not an item. Neither could have realised that joining Doctor Who meant they were signing away all rights to anonymity.
I get recognised for my red hair so I keep that covered up and keep my head down. Walking down Fifth Avenue we were mobbed by people. You never get used to driving down the street seeing people dressed exactly like you. It shows the appalling limits of our vanity that we wanted to go to a Doctor Who bar.
You could have heard a pin drop when we strolled in. With the 50th anniversary looming, the show is gearing up for the biggest TV celebration seen for years and he has no intention of missing a party like that.