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Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill on Saying Good-bye to Doctor Who

The Ponds’ final run with the Doctor will include Daleks, dinosaurs on a spaceship, a visit to the Old West, and the return of the Weeping Angels. (God help you, Steven Moffat, if you freeze Amy and Rory for all eternity.) In preparation for what historically has been a heart-wrenching good-bye between the Doctor and his companions, Vulture sat down with Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill to talk about where we’ll find the Ponds when Doctor Who returns (Saturday at 9 on BBC America), what they each stole from the TARDIS on their way out, and whether or not they’d be down to drop by that Inspector Spacetime convention Community is planning.

Doctor Who always leaves me a wreck when a companion exits. How are you two handling it?
Darvill [to Gillan]: It is pretty teary, isn’t it?
Gillan: Yeah, but do you know what? We’ve known this was coming for such a long time now, and it was still so emotional actually having to film that last episode. It’s really good.

Where would you say it ranks among the episodes in which the Doctor and a companion part ways?
Gillan: I’ve seen pretty much all the episodes beginning with the reboot in 2005. I actually love the way Catherine Tate left. It was so tragic, Donna not being able to remember any of her time with the Doctor. And in terms of performances, I loved watching David Tennant leave Billie Piper on the beach because she just looked like he was genuinely leaving. She was genuinely crying. Then there’s Freema Agyeman [who played Martha Jones]. She had that unrequited love and had to get out. It was all pretty painful in a good way.
Darvill: Yeah, it’s always emotional when a companion leaves, but that’s what the show is about. No one can stay with the Doctor forever. It makes really good telly.

What else can you say about Amy and Rory’s last episode?
Darvill: There are some interviews we do, many in the U.K., where the questions we get asked, we can’t answer any of them. You get very good talking about nothing for ages.
Gillan: You become very good at avoiding putting your foot in it.
Darvill: I would disagree. You put your foot in it a lot. We really aren’t supposed to say anything. You already know about the Weeping Angels. I’ll tell you they’re actually a mix of actual statues and dancers.

Dancers?
Gillan: Yeah, they have to stand really still. [Laughs.] I don’t know why we hire dancers to do that.

What was it like filming your last episodes?
Darvill: It was a funny feeling. “The last time I’m going to pick up this cup … ”
Gillan: The last day in the TARDIS.
Darvill: We actually had our last day several weeks ago — and then we got a call, “Hey we need to do some reshoots.”
Gillan: “Hi, we’re back!”
Darvill: We kept going back over the last few weeks. It was like, Are we really actually done this time?

Did you take anything from the set?
Gillan: We did. We ripped the TARDIS.
Darvill: You have to.
Gillan: I took the binoculars.
Darvill: I’ve got the magnifying glass.
Gillan: I’m not sure they’ll notice. There are so many little bits. And also, they do tours for people to walk through the TARDIS and people take things slyly. Or, they think they’re being sly.
Darvill: I think they’ve just got doubles of everything, too. We break things all the time. We’re all so clumsy.

What was the wrap party like?
Gillan: Arthur’s favorite band played.
Darvill: Yeah! Misty’s Big Adventure. There’s a guy in the band who’s in this red suit with a blue face and blue hands. It goes with Doctor Who that way. They’re brilliant.
Gillan: We tried to give a speech, but it didn’t go so well.
Darvill: No, it did not.
Gillan: We’re not very good at speeches, it turns out.

Set up the new season for me: How are Amy and Rory doing when we return?
Gillan: Our remaining five episodes are kind of mini-movies, more epic than ever. We find Amy and Rory in a really interesting —
Darvill: Sticky.
Gillan: — yeah, sticky situation in their relationship. You see a whole new side to them. The Daleks are in the first episode, as well, and they’re genuinely scary this time. I’ve never found them scary before.
Darvill: Really?
Gillan: I don’t know why. But this time? Creepy.
Darvill [to Gillan]: Do you know it’s the same guy works with them all the time?
Gillan: Ha! Really? What’s his job title? Is he like our “Dalek Operator”?

Tell me about the most fun you had while filming.
Gillan: Our first episode, “The Eleventh Hour.” That was so magical. I love, which I can’t say, one scene we did in the final episode.
Darvill: Oooooh, yeah.
Gillan: It was charged.
Darvill: I just love all the things we did together. Like all of the stuff in “Let’s Kill Hitler” in the office, just us messing around with Matt Smith.

The code names!
Darvill: Legs. The Nose. Mrs. Robinson. [Sighs.] I love Alex Kingston.
Gillan: I’d say the momentum of the show is really fun, too. You’re never standing around talking. You’re always running. I’ve done my own stunts, too. I’ve been buried under the ground in soil, swung across an entire pirate ship. Never gets old.

Community is planning an episode set in an Inspector Spacetime convention. If they asked, would you be game for some cameos?
Gillan: Oh, how exciting!
Darvill: We are up for that.
Gillan: Definitely. We’re going.
Darvill: We’ll just constantly do the same job on different shows.

You’re still promoting the show, but have you started to miss anything about the job yet?
Gillan: Hanging out with you and Matt I might miss a little bit.
Darvill: Oh, stop it.
Gillan: Miss you, Arthur!
Darvill: [Whispers.] Kaaaaaren, I miss you too.
Gillan: Aaaaaa! Isn’t that creepy?
Darvill: You whisper anything and it freaks her out.  

Photo: BBC