attending several youth theatre groups and taking part in a wide range of productions at her school, Charleston Academy.
Aged 16, Karen decided she wanted to pursue her acting career further and a year later secured a place at the prestigious Italia Conti academy in London. During her first year she landed a role in Rebus and soon appeared in a variety of programmes including Channel 4′s Stacked and The Kevin Bishop Show. Karen also stars in the forthcoming film Outcast starring James Nesbitt.
When she’s not acting Karen likes to play the piano and loves rummaging through vintage clothes shops. But it looks unlikely she’ll be able to do much rummaging in the near future as she gears up for a life in the TARDIS, and in the limelight!
But she’s ready for the challenges and adventures that will follow, declaring, ‘Matt Smith is an incredible actor and it is going to be so much fun to act alongside him – I just can’t wait to get started!’
Gillan also has a modelling background, including working at London Fashion Week. She has described modelling as a hobby, rather than her chosen profession. She’s also performed on stage several times, something she says she’s keen to go back to at some point.
As part of the experience, she was lucky enough to be part of a select few who flew out to Rome for the location shooting. “It was so much fun playing a villain – you can really go over the top,” she told Highland News in advance of the episode’s transmission. That role in 2008 was only her second television part, following her debut two years earlier in the Ken Stott crime drama Rebus. In the episode ‘Question Of Blood’, she played ‘off the rails’ teenager Terry Cotter at a college in which a shooting takes place.
This wasn’t her first dalliance with the modelling world, hardly a surprise given her statuesque 5″11 frame and luminous looks. In 2007 she roamed the catwalk at London Fashion Week for designer Allegra Hicks. “It’s something I was doing as a hobby… I really enjoy it,” she told Highland News. There’s no doubt that many lenses will be trained on her in the very near future, so it’s very handy that she’s fine with being gawped at. Her notable height does beg the question – should the Cybermen wear stilettos to maintain their towering stature if they encounter The Doctor’s upcoming companion? After all, they wore moon boots and cricket gloves in the 80s – and are predisposed to flares.
Acting has always been Gillan’s first love though, and such was her determination to succeed that she ditched school after her GCSEs to study acting at Telford College in Edinburgh. This enabled her to nab a highly prized spot at London’s prestigious Italia Conti Stage School,