What was it like filming in Utah?
Matt Smith: It was very strange. We were in the middle of the desert and suddenly there was a lady with a campervan and deck chair, holding an iPad up with a moving screen which read 'autograph please!'. I mean how on earth she knew we were in the middle of the desert I have no idea, but it certainly proved her dedication to the show! The landscape was incredible, and I think being in America, filming in that terrain, has definitely added a sense of scale and a filmic quality to this season of Doctor Who. It was an amazing experience and a brilliant laugh. I have to confess that I think the Stetson has been my favorite hat for the Doctor so far, 100%. Viewers may well see more of the Stetson later in the season but I couldn't possibly reveal when.
Karen Gillan: The new season starts with a real bang. Filming in Utah was so much fun and I spent a lot of time running around the desert; the scenery was amazing and simply wouldn't have looked the same if we had filmed it in Cardiff against a green screen. The desert backdrop really gives the opening two episodes an epic feel. We were all 'thermaled' up and I had on two pairs of trousers and four tops! Then the sun would come up making it blistering hot and we'd all peel off the layers.
What role does River Song play this season?
Matt Smith: I'm very fond of Alex [Kingston] and I simply love the part of River Song because it makes the Doctor come unstuck; she's the one person in the world who knows more than him. I think Steven has written some really revelatory stuff about the character and she's extremely important to this season.
Arthur Darvill: Alex is back, which makes the team feel complete. She's just a dream to work with and is hilarious on set.
What can you tell us about the cliff-hanger at the end of episode 7?
Steven Moffat: Normally our cliff-hangers are lives being threatened. With this one, three live are changed forever.
Karen Gillan: The ending of this first set of episodes has been hidden from everyone! Even I got given a dummy ending to episode 7 and it was only at the read-through that Steven Moffat took me, Matt and Arthur into the corridor to read the proper version on his laptop. We then all paced around going "oh my God!" It's brilliant and viewers will just have to tune in to find out more. It certainly provides a fantastic cliff-hanger to see us through until the autumn.
What about this season's guest stars?
Matt Smith: We've also been incredibly lucky to welcome a number of fantastic guest stars including Hugh Bonneville, Suranne Jones, and Lily Cole. James Corden also returns later in the season. I've admired so many people who have been involved and all of them have brought a touch of quality.
Karen Gillan: The great thing about this show is that it attracts big names and everyone who comes on set is so excited to be part of the Doctor Who experience. These actors could all be off doing other things but they choose to come on the show because they are either fans or their kids are, so it makes the whole experience enjoyable. For me, it's also a wonderful experience to watch these people at work -- it's like an acting master class every episode.
Arthur Darvill: Funnily enough I get more nervous meeting writers than actors. Even more so with Neil Gaiman as he's just brilliant.
It sounds like everyone had fun making the one with the pirate ship.
Karen Gillan: I had a brilliant time filming this episode. Swinging across a pirate ship was a particular highlight and I loved doing the sword fight. I'd never done anything like that before so I literally picked up the sword and started learning moves with a stunt guy -- in fact I loved it so much that I actually want to take it up as a hobby! Luckily I caused no major injuries on set, although I did collide with Arthur at one point but that was his fault.
Arthur Darvill: Going on a pirate ship was unbelievable; it felt like we were on a movie set. Karen got to do a massive sword fight and I thought she was going to be a liability. Someone was going to have their eye out at the very least! But she was actually pretty good, I think she'd been practicing secretly.
How do you get any filming done?
Karen Gillan: We genuinely mess around all day, but I think that works because as a viewer I'd like to see the Doctor, Amy and Rory having fun. Of course we are serious when we need to be, but in general we clown around between takes and I think that helps to create chemistry on screen. Matt has also taken to hiding in my trailer and I'll go in, humming to myself, and then he'll just jump out at me and shout. The first time he did it was hilarious because he scared me so much that I fell backwards against the wall and slid down it! He also has an annoying habit of filming me when I fall asleep, while in make-up in the mornings, and it's a hideous sight -- I'm not going to lie! Arthur eggs him on and the pair of them gang up but don't worry, I give as good as I get. Although it's brilliant when Alex Kingston is around because she knows how to handle them!
Arthur Darvill: [Matt and Karen] are brilliant, it's lucky we all get on so well. The most fun I have is when all three of us are together; it's a really good working relationship. It helps that we all came on board together because we're growing as a unit and keeping each other on our toes.