Actress Karen Gillan on the "Crazy Resistance" to a Female Doctor Who (Guest Column)

Steve Schofield/BBC Worldwide
Jodie Whittaker as Doctor Who.

As part of The Hollywood Reporter's year-end Rule Breakers issue, the 'Avengers' star, who played Doctor Who companion Amy Pond from 2008-13, dissects why there was pushback on a female lead and how Jodie Whittaker "knocked it out of the park" with her performance.

You can't grow up in the U.K. and not be aware of Doctor Who.

You're practically born knowing what a Dalek is. But whenever there have been rumors about Doctor Who being played by a woman, there was resistance. People would write to the BBC and complain. I thought it was crazy: Who says Doctor Who can't be a woman? So when I watched this season's premiere with my mom — she's a huge Whovian, even before I was on the show — it was emotional.

Jodie Whittaker knocked it out of the park.

She has elements of Matt Smith and David Tennant — that manic energy, brain going 100 miles an hour — but she made it her own. And that's the great thing about the role — it has no limits. It can be played by any race or gender. All you need is a great actor. A great British actor. Or one who can do a convincing British accent.

Karen Gillan stars as Nebula in the Guardians of the Galaxy/Avengers franchise and played Amy Pond, a Doctor Who companion, from 2008-13.

This story first appeared in the Dec. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.