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The Doctor's New Companion?
Once again, producers look to past guest stars
By MICHAEL HINMAN @ airlock alpha
May-29-2009
Source: BBC




To the general television audience, most people wouldn't know her from any other young, beautiful Scottish actress. But "Doctor Who" fans should remember her from an episode last season.

That's because for the third time, producers have looked to its past guest cast roles to pick a new companion for The Doctor, this time around being played by Matt Smith. And the winner this time? Try 21-year-old Karen Gillan.

"When she auditioned alongside Matt we knew we had something special," said Piers Wenger, head of drama at BBC Wales, which produces the iconic series.

Gillan doesn't have a lot of acting credits to her name outside of a handful of British shows. But she did appear as the Soothsayer in the Season 4 episode "The Fires of Pompeii," and apparently impressed the production team even then.

Gillan will be the fourth full-time companion joining The Doctor. Billie Piper kicked things off alongside ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston, and continued through the second season with David Tennant. Freema Agyeman, who had a small role in the second season finale playing a different character, joined as Martha Jones in the third season. However, she was replaced in the fourth season with Catherine Tate, who appeared in the second Christmas special playing the same character, Donna Noble.

Gillan will have her hands full. This will be the first cast transition of the modern series to not have some holdover from the past. When Eccleston handed The Doctor reins to Tennant, Piper remained on board as the companion. For all the companion changes, Tennant has been the constant.

Having two unknown actors is likely a smart move by the producers, according to BBC News. Since Smith himself is not very well known, having a companion that could possibly overshadow him would be detrimental to introducing him to the vast "Doctor Who" audience.

When Gillan "walked through the door, the game was up," said new showrunner Steven Moffat. "She's funny, and clever, and gorgeous, and sexy. Or Scottish, which is the quick way of saying it.

"A generation of little girls will want to be her. And a generation of little boys will want them to be her, too."

Tennant is finishing out his run as The Doctor in a series of specials that continue in November, and end with a Christmas two-parter. BBC America announced earlier this week that it had won the American broadcast rights for the specials, taking over from SciFi Channel, which had aired the previous seasons.
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