Matt Smith And Karen Gillan Talk About DOCTOR WHO And Filming In America | Entertainment Blog
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Doctor Who returns to UK screens later this month for a seven-episode run which opens with a spectacular two-parter set in the USA
and penned by “Who supremo” Steven Moffat.

In the opening two episodes, co-produced with BBC America, key scenes have been filmed in Utah for a story set in the late Sixties in
which the Doctor, Amy and Rory find themselves on a secret summons that takes them on an adventure from the desert in Utah – right
to the Oval Office itself.

The new series follows on from the Doctor Who Christmas Special which featured guest stars Katherine Jenkins and Michael
Gambon, and has been split into two blocks, with the second block to be shown in autumn 2011. By splitting the series Moffat plans to
give viewers one of the most exciting Doctor Who cliff-hangers and plot twists ever, leaving them waiting, on the edge of their seats,
until the autumn to find out what happens.

Matt Smith inhabited the role of the Doctor last year and instantly won a legion of fans with his kooky take on the iconic character.
Here he reveals what lies in store for the Doctor and his fellow TARDIS travellers in 2011, and why the Fez is no longer his favourite
hat.

“I think The Silence are one of the greatest monsters of recent years and certainly one of the scariest,” reveals Matt Smith. “They’re
also very clever and I love the fact they’ve been silently working since the dawn of time to make The Doctor come unstuck.”

Matt is talking about the new breed of monster which viewers will be introduced to in the opening two episodes of the series. He is
remaining tight-lipped about what viewers can expect but he does offer some insights into the story arc for this series. “Steven [Moffat,
writer] has a grand plan and some of the seeds he planted in the last series start coming to fruition and affecting the characters in drastic
ways,” explains Matt. “Every character is faced with the most seismic and high-stakes choices we’ve seen so far.”

Opening the new series is a special two-part story penned by Steven Moffat and set in America, marking the first time in its history that
an episode of Doctor Who has been filmed there. The cast spent three days in the desert in Utah but that didn’t stop hardcore Doctor
Who fans from tracking them down. “It was very strange,” laughs Matt. “We were in the middle of the desert and suddenly there was a
lady with a campervan and deck chair, holding an iPad up with a moving screen which read ‘autograph please!’. I mean how on earth
she knew we were in the middle of the desert I have no idea, but it certainly proved her dedication to the show!

“The landscape was incredible,” continues Matt, “and I think being in America, filming in that terrain, has definitely added a sense of
scale and a filmic quality to this series of Doctor Who. It was an amazing experience and a brilliant laugh. I have to confess that I think
the Stetson has been my favourite hat for the Doctor so far, 100 per cent. Viewers may well see more of the Stetson later in the series
but I couldn’t possibly reveal when…”

Alex Kingston joined Matt, Karen and Arthur in Utah to reprise her role as River Song and Matt admits it was great to have her back.
“I’m very fond of Alex and I simply love the part of River Song because it makes the Doctor come unstuck; she’s the one person in the
world who knows more than him. I think Steven has written some really revelatory stuff about the character and she’s extremely
important to this series,” teases Matt.

“We’ve also been incredibly lucky to welcome a number of fantastic guest stars including Hugh Bonneville, Suranne Jones and Lily
Cole. James Corden also returns later in the series,” reveals Matt. “I’ve admired so many people who have been involved and all of
them have brought a touch of quality.”

Matt also has high praise for his fellow co stars, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. “I think with Rory, Arthur has perfectly judged the
humour and he’s got some fantastic storylines with Karen. I do think that Amy and Rory now being married has changed the dynamic
in the TARDIS and in many ways it’s the Doctor who is perhaps the odd one out,” explains Matt. “However, Karen and Arthur are
hilarious and together we are always mucking around between takes and telling silly jokes to annoy each other!”

Matt also reveals that his clumsy reputation is still fully justified! “I was chatting away to someone the other day on set and I had my
hand on a lamp stand. Little did I know that as I was leaning it was actually turning and suddenly it came crashing down on my head!”

Perhaps it was lucky for the rest of the cast then that Matt wasn’t tasked with any sword fighting in episode three which is set on a
pirate ship: “It was 4am and we had four huge rain machines making us soaking wet but we all loved it. Karen had to do the sword
fighting though,” chuckles Matt, “I just had to walk round and act clever in the background!”

Karen Gillan burst onto TV screens last year as feisty companion, Amy Pond, and immediately secured her place in Doctor Who
broadcasting history which has been an integral part of British culture since the Sixties. Returning for her second series aboard the
TARDIS, Karen reveals what lies in store for Amy, the naughty tricks her co-stars play on her and why she has a newfound passion
for fencing.

“There were clues planted in the last series that are going to become major storylines in this one,” divulges a conspiratorial Karen
Gillan; a revelation which is bound to have all “Whovians” avidly watching Series Five to spot what the Inverness-born actress is
referring to.

“There’s a really interesting arc in this series that involves all of the major characters and it’s evident from the first episode that everyone
on the TARDIS is withholding secrets from one another,” continues Karen. “It makes for a fascinating dynamic between the characters
and it’s incredibly important to the overall series.”

Karen also believes that Amy has more respect for her new husband Rory after his recent adventures. “I think Rory has perhaps
developed the most out of all the characters,” explains Karen. “By the end of last series he became a Roman Centurion hero and he
had changed a lot; it felt like he had earned his place in the TARDIS. In fact, it’s hard for me to imagine the TARDIS without him now!”

But has married life changed Amy Pond? Karen quickly sweeps that concern out of the way exclaiming: “if anything she is even more
Amy Pondish! I don’t think it would work for Amy to completely change now that she’s a married woman and I certainly don’t think
she should become a subdued version of herself. However, I do think being married has helped to define the Doctor and Amy’s
relationship and I can reveal that something takes place this series which makes Amy see Rory in a new light…” teases the actress.

While the majority of filming for Doctor Who usually takes place in Cardiff, the cast found themselves in the middle of the desert in
Utah last November to film scenes for the opening two-parter. “The new series starts with a real bang,” exclaims Karen. “Filming in
Utah was so much fun and I spent a lot of time running around the desert; the scenery was amazing and simply wouldn’t have looked
the same if we had filmed it in Cardiff against a green screen. The desert backdrop really gives the opening two episodes an epic feel.”

However, it wasn’t all fun for the actors as temperatures plunged below freezing at night and then they had to battle searing
temperatures during the day. “We were all ‘thermaled’ 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 all peel off the layers,” laughs Karen.

But despite the elements, Karen enjoyed being reunited with Alex Kingston who plays enigma River Song. “Alex is so much fun to have
around,” reveals Karen. “She makes the TARDIS team feel complete.”

But the question on viewers’ lips is: “will we find out who River Song actually is?”

“The ending of this first set of episodes has been hidden from everyone!” laughs Karen. “Even I got given a dummy ending to episode
seven and it was only at the read-through that Steven Moffat took me, Matt and Arthur into the corridor to read the proper version on
his laptop. We then all paced around going, ‘oh my God!’. It’s brilliant and viewers will just have to tune in to find out more. It certainly
provides a fantastic cliff-hanger to see us through until the autumn.”

Karen also reveals that this series is set to be the scariest yet with the debut of a number of new monsters. “Ooh, in particular I think
The Silence, which are the new monsters in the opening two episodes, actually rival the Weeping Angels in terms of scariness and they
look disgusting!” says Karen, screwing up her face in revulsion. “The concept behind them is ingenious because it feels like they are
undefeatable, and this series also sees the return of some of the Doctor’s oldest foes, but with an interesting twist…”

A new series of Doctor Who wouldn’t be complete without a number of well known guest stars; Hugh Bonneville, Lily Cole, Suranne
Jones and Marshall Lancaster are all billed in upcoming episodes.

“The great thing about this show is that it attracts big names and everyone who comes on set is so excited to be part of the Doctor Who
experience,” explains Karen. “These actors could all be off doing other things but they choose to come on the show because they are
either fans or their kids are, so it makes the whole experience enjoyable. For me, it’s also a wonderful experience to watch these
people at work – it’s like an acting masterclass every episode.”

With each story set at different points in time and occasionally on alien planets, Amy Pond has certainly experienced a lot in her
relatively short time on the TARDIS. But for Karen the episode that really stands out for her this series features Hugh Bonneville as a
Pirate Captain in the 1600s. “I had a brilliant time filming this episode,” reveals Karen. “Swinging across a pirate ship was a particular
highlight and I loved doing the sword fight. I’d never done anything like that before so I literally picked up the sword and started
learning moves with a stunt guy – in fact I loved it so much that I actually want to take it up as a hobby! Luckily I caused no major
injuries on set, although I did collide with Arthur at one point but that was his fault.”

It is clear that Karen has become firm friends with her co stars Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill and their chemistry certainly translates on
screen. “We genuinely mess around all day,” confesses Karen, “but I think that works because as a viewer I’d like to see the Doctor,
Amy and Rory having fun. Of course we are serious when we need to be, but in general we clown around between takes and I think
that helps to create chemistry on screen.

“Matt has also taken to hiding in my trailer and I’ll go in, humming to myself, and then he’ll just jump out at me and shout”, giggles
Karen. “The first time he did it was hilarious because he scared me so much that I fell backwards against the wall and slid down it! He
also has an annoying habit of filming me when I fall asleep, while in make-up in the mornings, and it’s a hideous sight – I’m not going to
lie!” continues Karen. “Arthur eggs him on and the pair of them gang up but don’t worry, I give as good as I get. Although it’s brilliant
when Alex Kingston is around because she knows how to handle them!”

So with two mischievous lads and a number of monsters to deal with, both Karen and Amy Pond have a lot to contend with, but where
would Karen go if she had sole control of the TARDIS? “The tundra,” she says, “no reason why! Just go with it!”