Karen Sheila Gillan (born 28 November 1987) is a Scottish actress and former model, best known for her portrayal of Amy Pond in the British science fiction series Doctor Who.

Early life and education[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Karen Gillan was born and raised in InvernessScotland, UK.[1] She is the only child of John Gillan (full name Raymond John Gillan), a Day Care Officer, and mother, Marie Gillan (née Paterson), who live in Kinmylies.[2] She learned to play the piano when she was seven.[3] At a young age, she developed a love for acting, joining several local youth theatre groups and taking part in a wide range of productions at her school, Charleston Academy.[3] When she turned 16, Gillan moved to Edinburgh and completed an HNC Acting and Performance course at Telford College.[4] She then moved to London at 18 to study at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts drama school in the BA (Hons) Acting degree course.[5][6]

Career[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Modeling[edit source | editbeta]Edit

While studying at Italia Conti Gillan was scouted by a modeling agency.[7] Gillan worked as a model in 2007's London Fashion Week for designer Allegra Hicks' autumn/winter catwalk show[7] and the launch party of Nicola Roberts' Dainty Doll Make-Up Range. This was shown in Roberts' episode of the documentary, The Passions of Girls Aloud[citation needed] which premiered on 4 April 2008. Gillan has said she would not give up her acting career to return to modeling. She stated that she enjoyed modeling but acting was always her main interest and goal.[8]

Acting[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Gillan's early television acting career included guest appearances on several drama series, with her first ongoing role being a two-year stint as a member of the ensemble cast of the sketch comedy series The Kevin Bishop Show in which she played multiple characters, as well as celebrities such as Katy Perry and Angelina Jolie. She appeared in Channel 4's Stacked; she had the part of Ginny.[3] Gillan also appeared on TV in a leading role in a horror project entitled The Well, which was broadcast as a series of episodic short films on BBC Two, and then later also as a web series on Part of the BBC's multimedia "switch" programming, the short episodes interconnect with online games that further explore the environments presented in the series.[9]

[1][2]Gillan with Matt Smith, promoting Series 5 of Doctor Who in March 2010

She was cast for the role of the Eleventh Doctor's first companion, Amy Pond, on the British sci-fi series Doctor Who in May 2009. She made her first on-screen appearance as Amy Pond in "The Eleventh Hour" with her cousin Caitlin Blackwood portraying a young Amelia (Amy) Pond.[10][11][12] She was confirmed in Issue 420 of the Doctor Who Magazine to be appearing in the 2011 series. Gillan had appeared in Doctor Who once before in the 2008 episode "The Fires of Pompeii" in the role of a Soothsayer.[7]

Gillan made her first theatre appearance playing the role of Shirley in John Osborne's play Inadmissible Evidence along with Douglas Hodge.[13] The play debuted at the Donmar Warehouse on 16 October 2011.[13]

During an interview at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, Gillan revealed she would be returning to Doctor Who for its seventh series.[14] On 15 December 2011, it was announced Gillan and Arthur Darvill (Rory Williams) would be leaving Doctor Who during the seventh series in 2012.[15] On 26 January 2012, Karen Gillan played the part of supermodel Jean Shrimpton in the BBC Four film We'll Take Manhattan, which told the story of Shrimpton's relationship with the photographer David Bailey.[16][17]

In August 2011, it was announced Gillan would star in an indie Scottish rom-com called Not Another Happy Ending alongside Emun Elliott.[18] She was picked by director John McKay because he came to know her during the production of We'll Take Manhattan, which he also directed, as "a very bubbly, vibrant, energetic, funny, slightly clumsy person" who was a perfect fit for the character.[19] Filming took place in July 2012,[18] though Elliott was replaced by Stanley Weber.[20] Gillan told journalists that she was happy to be involved in a Scottish production that "isn't about drug use or fighting the English".[21] The film is set to premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2013.[22]

.[23][24] Gillan is to star in a supernatural horror pic called Oculus cast in the lead role and filmed in Alabama.[25] She revealed that she has been cast in comedian Charlie Brooker's TV series A Touch of Cloth.[26]Gillan has also been cast in a film titled ' The List ' which began filming in Los Angeles in May 2013.

FHM magazine ranked Gillan #42 in FHM's 100 Sexiest Women 2011.[27] In 2012 they also ranked her #36.[28] Gillan has also voiced adverts for eHarmony and The Royal Bank of Scotland. In May 2013, Gillan was cast as Nebula in the superhero science fiction film Guardians of the Galaxy, scheduled for release in 2014.[29] Gillan revealed that she shaved her head to play Nebula to a stunned audience during the 2013San Diego Comic-Con International on July 20.[30]

Personal life[edit source | editbeta]Edit

In 2011, Gillan helped promote Fashion Targets Breast Cancer (FTBC)[31] and the opening of Squirrel Ward in Great Ormond Street Hospital.[32][33] During an interview with Craig Ferguson on The Late Late Show, she confirmed she now lives in Los Angeles.

Filmography[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Film[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Year Title Role Notes
2008 Stacked Ginny Turner[34]
2008 New Town Killers Girl at bus station
2010 Outcast Ally
2012 We'll Take Manhattan Jean Shrimpton
2013 Not Another Happy Ending Jane Lockheart
2014 Oculus Kaylie
2014 Guardians of the Galaxy Nebula

Television[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Year Title Role Notes
2006 Rebus Terry Cotter[7][35]
2007–2009 The Kevin Bishop Show Various characters
2008 Coming Up Anna
2008 Doctor Who Soothsayer Series 4: "The Fires of Pompeii"
2008 Harley Street Holly[7]
2010 The Well Coll
2010–2012 Doctor Who Amy Pond Series 5, Series 6 & Series 7 (part 1)
2010 Doctor Who Prom Herself hosted with Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill
2010–2011 Doctor Who Confidential Herself
2012 In Love With Coward Laura
2013 NTSF:SD:SUV:: Daisy

Theatre[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Year Title Role Venue
2011 Inadmissible Evidence Shirley Donmar Warehouse

Video games[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Video Games
Year Title Role Notes
2010 Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: City of the Daleks Amy Pond
2010 Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: Blood of the Cybermen Amy Pond
2010 Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: TARDIS Amy Pond
2010 Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: Shadows of the Vashta Nerada Amy Pond
2010 Doctor Who: Evacuation Earth Amy Pond
2010 Doctor Who: Return to Earth Amy Pond
2010 Doctor Who: The Mazes of Time Amy Pond
2011 Doctor Who: The Adventure Games: The Gunpowder Plot Amy Pond

Awards and honors[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2010 TV Quick Award[3] Best Actress Doctor Who Nominated
2010 Cosmopolitan 'Woman of the year' Awards Best Actress Doctor Who Won
2011 SFX Awards[3] Best Actress Doctor Who Won
2011 TV Choice Awards[36] Best Actress Doctor Who Won
2011 Scream Awards Best Sci-Fi Actress Doctor Who Nominated
2012 National Television Awards[3] Best Drama Performance: Female Doctor Who Won
2012 Scottish Fashion Awards[37] Scotland's Fashion Icon Herself (modelling) Won
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