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Time catches up with The Doctor’s assistant as fans are turned away

It was chaos all round for Doctor Who aficionados yesterday as 150 fans were turned away from a personal appearance in Glasgow by Karen Gillan, who plays the Doctor’s feisty and flirtatious assistant.

The actress also admitted she didn’t even know if she’d be appearing in the third series of the show with Matt Smith -- the current time-travelling hero.

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Gillan cast doubt on her future during a signing event at Hamleys toy store in Glasgow’s St Enoch centre. When the 22-year-old actress from Inverness was asked if a third series was ahead of her, she said : “Who knows? I’m just taking it series by series and I’m just having fun. So, I don’t know. I have no idea.”

The star remained tight-lipped about the Christmas special and second series, which she is about to start filming.

“We are about to start in a week-and-a-bit on the series, which is exciting,” she said. “We’ve finished the Christmas special so that’s all in the can and it’s a good one.

“It’s really funny but it’s also heartbreaking ... There’s a really, really scary monster in the Christmas special.”

Speaking about the attention from photographers she said: “It doesn’t unnerve me. But it is surreal.”

However, many fans and families didn’t have the chance to show the young star any attention yesterday despite queuing for hours. There was anger when at least 150 fans were turned away and only 200 got in to see Gillan.

The crowd was a mixture of mums and dads with their kids and grown-up “geek” fans, mostly men, some even clad in the Doctor’s trademark jacket and bow tie.

Chris Paton, 39, brought his wife Claire and sons Calum, 9 and Jamie, 5, on the 7.30am train from Largs.

The family queued outside the Hamleys store from 8.30am but were eventually turned away at around 10.30am because all the wristbands allocated to fans had gone.

Paton said: “We queued for hours then they told us no-one else was going to get in. I asked to speak to the manager of Hamleys and was told they were out.

“Then the manager appeared and just blamed the BBC for the poor organisation. I’m angry and the kids are disappointed.”

For those who were lucky enough to have a place in the queue, the prospect of meeting Amy Pond was well worth the wait.

John Strathie, 45, from Grangemouth had brought along his daughter Leah, 7, to meet the star. They had been queuing since 6.45am and had been up since 4.45am in order to arrive in time. He said: “We all love the show, we watch it as a family. It’s always on in our house and we gather together on the couch every Saturday teatime for the latest episode.”

Julie Bisson, 32, from Jersey, is on holiday in Scotland visiting relatives, and brought along daughters Rebeckah, 11 and Caitlin, 7.

She said: “We were supposed to head back home but we hung on another day so the girls could come along. We are all massive Doctor Who fans.”

Speaking about the large number of people turned away, Hamleys’ manager Sam Connolly said: “We knew demand would be high, but we didn’t anticipate this level of interest.

“This is the first event we have done with the BBC. Our only previous signing was with Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson and it wasn’t as manic as this.”

A BBC Worldwide spokesperson for the event said: "Karen is an extremely popular star and we were pleased to see her fans out in force to cheer her on. It would have been impossible to meet and greet everyone who came so to manage the event fairly we worked together with Hamleys to allocate on a first come first served basis 250 wristbands. This was advertised clearly in advance both in-store and online and staff were speaking to people in the queue for the bands to keep them updated and aware of how quickly these were going. Karen very kindly stayed for an hour longer than we had asked to ensure that fans had a good amount of time with her and overall the event was very positive with fans excited to see Karen in person."  

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