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Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan Recalls How Stage Fright Spurred Her On

Karen Gillan has spoken about something you wouldn’t necessarily think she’s ever suffered from: stage fright.

Gillan played Amy Pond opposite the Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith), regularly between The Eleventh Hour (2010) and The Angels Take Manhattan (2012), before cameoing in Smith’s swansong, 2013’s The Time of the Doctor.

She seems very confident, but that’s a result of her being so nervous, as she explains:

“I had a lot of belief in myself from the beginning because I had such bad stage fright when I was younger. I would get up and quiver and not be able to perform in front of people at all. I would just go to bits and so I had to really believe in myself. It just took extra belief in myself to believe I could overcome the hurdles of being terrified of doing the thing I wanted to do, so that’s my advice if you’re thinking about it — just self belief and perseverance.”

And though she’s been in some massive franchises, including the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in films grossing over $1 billion, she still counts her failures. She continues:

“Failing isn’t necessarily a bad thing: what matters is how you react to the failure. So if you keep going and don’t let that get in your way, then actually it can be useful because you can learn from that. But you’ve just got to keep going. Persistence, persistence.”

I find this particularly interesting. When I was a kid, aside form being a writer and artist, I wanted to be an actor, but I feared that my legs would turn to jelly in front of a full audience and I’d be useless. So to hear someone with as much talent, charisma, and apparent confidence has actually been fighting stage fright is a big surprise.

Having self-belief and being persistent is probably the key to life…

Philip Bates

Editor and co-founder of the Doctor Who Companion. When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything. Writer of The Black Archive: The Pandorica Opens/ The Big Bang, The Silver Archive: The Stone Tape, and 100 Objects of Doctor Who.

Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan Recalls How Stage Fright Spurred Her On

by Philip Bates time to read: 1 min
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