Before Doctor Who
Gillan gained her first television role in Rebus while still studying at Italia Conti, and has since had parts in The Kevin Bishop Show, Channel 4's Stacked and James Nesbitt's forthcoming film Outcast. On The Kevin Bishop Show, Gillan played several roles in various skits, including one in which she parodied both Angelina Jolie and Jolie's interpretation of video game heroine Lara Croft. She has also lampooned Julia Roberts' role in Pretty Woman and pop singer Katy Perry.
Standing 5'11, Gillan is the tallest actress to be cast in the companion role, and when not acting, she has taken advantage of her height to take on occasional modeling roles, including 2007 London Fashion Week for designer Allegra Hicks' autumn/winter catwalk show.
Karen can also be seen in upcoming teen drama The Well in the autumn.
The action in The Well centres on a derelict building, which contains a long-forgotten well, the resting place of a dormant malevolent force. When the house changes owners and renovations begin, four teenage friends uncover the well and unwittingly unleash an old and restless spirit.
2008 - Karen first appeared in Series 30 episode The Fires Of Pompeii where she played a Soothsayer - a member of the Sibylline Sisterhood that were in Pompeii in 79 AD. She has eyes painted on the back of her hands - a sign of a soothsayer. She was the first of the Sisterhood to see the TARDIS or "Blue Box" that had appeared in a prophecy. She had psychic powers due to breathing in dust from Mount Vesuvius that was converting her into a Pyroville and could see time thanks to the rift activity there. It is likely that she died during the eruption as it has not been shown otherwise.
She is one of only a handful of actors to return to televised Doctor Who in an ongoing role after having previously appeared in a guest role. Others have included Colin Baker, peter Purves, Jean Marsh, Nicholas Courtney, Ian Marter, Lalla Ward and Freema Agyeman.
Gillan is not the only member of her family appearing on Doctor Who as it's been announced that her nine-year-old cousin, Caitlin Blackwood, has also filmed an appearance in Season 31 episode 1 The Eleventh Hour where she will be playing Amy's younger self.
Amy meeting the Doctor years later