Matt Smith and Karen Gillan Star in the New Season of “Doctor Who”


Karen Gillan and Matt Smith star in the latest incarnation of the popular British television series, “Doctor Who.” (Courtesy of

Published: April 22, 2010

“Geronimooooooo!” With that cry, the 11th actor to play the famed British sci-fi icon, the Doctor, catapulted 350 “Doctor Who” fans into the new season of “Doctor Who” at a screening of the season’s premiere episode on April 14. The screening was followed by a Q&A session with the series’ new head writer, Steven Moffat, the young actor who is taking on the role of the Doctor, Matt Smith, and Karen Gillan, who plays the Doctor’s new companion, Amelia “Amy” Pond. The theater was packed to capacity as fans lined up as early as 6 a.m. on the fateful day in order to get a seat at the screening, which was put on by BBC America. The crowd cheered as the panelists made their way into the building and didn’t cease until the lights dimmed and the episode flashed on the screen before them.

The episode itself exceeded the expectations many fans had for the new series. With fan favorite David Tennant no longer playing the iconic Doctor, fans questioned Smith’s ability to fill Tennant’s well-worn converse. However, Smith’s raggedy Doctor proved to be humorous, quirky and completely insane. As for Gillan’s portrayal of Amy Pond, the Doctor’s new companion, it was a refreshing take on the Doctor-companion dynamic. The red-head brought a youthful feistiness to the role and she was capable of both grounding the Doctor and bringing her own humor to a scene. We both fully enjoyed the first episode, particularly a sequence early on when the Doctor, who is still getting used to his new body, tests out a variety of different foods only to end up eating fish sticks dipped in custard. Also, Prisoner Zero, the main villain in the episode, displays classic “Who” special effects in that they are quite bad. In general though, this episode showed promise for what is to come in the new season.

Fans are excited for the upcoming season, which will feature both old and new friends, enemies and the ever-present Daleks, the alien race hell-bent on destroying the Doctor. Now that Moffat, who penned some of the fan favorite episodes from past seasons, is head writer, fans have been looking forward to a new side of “Doctor Who.” The screening was followed by a Q&A session with Moffat, Smith and Gillan, where the audience was encouraged to ask questions of the new head writer, doctor and companion. Fans of the longest running sci-fi series in television history were all too happy to oblige. The questions ranged from serious to utterly ridiculous with one fan asking poor Gillan if she was a “chubby chaser.” Moffat was quick-witted as expected with lines like, “It’s just right and proper that I never tell you what’s going on in [“Doctor Who”], and I am perfectly willing to lie.” And Smith was surprisingly candid when answering a fan’s questions about how he prepared for the role by admitting that he read Albert Einstein’s “Quotes for Life” while “on the toilet.” Unfortunately, Gillan was asked far fewer questions than the other two, but she was articulate when she did get the chance to answer. When asked about what she liked about her character, Amy Pond, Gillan responded that she “liked the fact that [Amy] would check out the Doctor while she is standing right next to her boyfriend.” In general, all three were willing to answer any and all questions, making the Q&A session quite enjoyable.

The whole event showed the great, unexpected amount of support that the long-running British television show has here in the U.S. and the wide range of fans that love it. The new season is sure to please old fans and delight new viewers. The new season premiered on April 17, and you can catch more of the season’s episodes every Saturday on BBC America. If you need to know more about the series, do as Moffat says and “just watch the sodding thing!”