JUST IN TIME FOR CHRIST­MAS

Have your­self a merry lit­tle TARDIS this Boxing Day with Doc­tor Who: A Christ­mas Carol. Guy Davis’s present this year was learn­ing more about the Doc­tor’s com­pan­ion, played by Karen Gil­lan.

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will be happy to be kept in the dark, there are al­ways go­ing to be one or two who can’t help try­ing to find out what they’re get­ting for Christ­mas. So it’s for those peo­ple that we of­fer the fol­low­ing tit­bits of in­for­ma­tion.

Screen­writer Steven Mof­fat has sup­pos­edly based this episode on the Charles Dick­ens clas­sic A Christ­mas Carol, with spec­u­la­tion that a past Doc­tor will pop in as the Ghost of Christ­mas Past. And one of the ma­jor guest stars in the episode is vet­eran ac­tor Michael Gam­bon, per­haps best known as Dum­ble­dore from the last few Harry Pot­ter movies.

How­ever, the char­ac­ter Gam­bon will be play­ing and the im­pact that char­ac­ter will have on the story has not been dis­closed, so devo­tees of the Doc­tor will sim­ply have to tune in on Boxing Day to dis­cover what hap­pens next.

The 2010 Christ­mas episode is the first for the lat­est Doc­tor, played by Matt Smith, the youngest ac­tor to take on the role in the his­tory of the show. And it’s also the first for the Doc­tor’s “ com­pan­ion”, Amy Pond, played by Karen Gil­lan.

The feisty and out­spo­ken Amy has emerged as a pop­u­lar part of the Doc­tor Who uni­verse, her re­la­tion­ship with Matt Smith’s Doc­tor com­ing across as quite dif­fer­ent to that seen in pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tions.

“ I do think Amy is dif­fer­ent from pre­vi­ous com­pan­ions be­cause she’s very equal to the Doc­tor,” Gil­lan said. “ I’m not say­ing that she’s com­pletely equal to the Doc­tor, be­cause I think they’re kind of worlds apart in terms of char­ac­ter, but she’s def­i­nitely up there in im­por­tance.

“ She doesn’t take his word as gospel and she’s al­ways happy to chal­lenge him. If he tells her to do some­thing then she won’t nec­es­sar­ily do it; she might go off and do her own thing, which can some­times cre­ate a rift be­tween the two of them. They are best pals, though, and it’s a very up-and­down re­la­tion­ship be­cause they are both very pas­sion­ate peo­ple.”

While keen to hon­our the tra­di­tions of the show, the one thing Gil­lan wanted to avoid in her portrayal was toe­ing the line walked by her pre­de­ces­sors.

“ The one thing I never wanted to do with Amy was to base her on any kind of for­mula, to con­form to what works – or what has worked – in a com­pan­ion,” she said.

“ You know, the whole, like­able, girl-next-door busi­ness. Amy is like­able, I hope, but she’s not or­di­nary. She’s quite com­pli­cated and there are lay­ers to ex­plore. So I was tak­ing a few risks with her and I think it works.”

The whole process of au­di­tion­ing for the role of Amy was a top-se­cret af­fair, re­calls Gil­lan. While she knew that she’d be read­ing for the part of the Doc­tor’s com­pan­ion, she wasn’t in­formed about the char­ac­ter’s name or given any in­for­ma­tion about her. On top of that, she wasn’t al­lowed to tell any­one about the project.

“ They even had a code name for the role – Panic Moon,” she laughed. “ It’s an ana­gram of com­pan­ion, which I thought was re­ally clever.”

Her sec­ond au­di­tion was along­side Smith, and the two ac­tors found that they clicked al­most im­me­di­ately.

“ We just kind of bounce off each other,” she said. “ The ban­ter that you see on­screen – that’s what we’re like all day on set. And I think we might have been like that if we’d met in any other sit­u­a­tion.”

So this is Christ­mas: From left, Michael Gam­bon, Matt Smith and Kather­ine Jenk­ins join Karen Gil­lan in

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