Karen Gillan on why Douglas is Cancelled is 'so relevant to so many professions' (2024)


Karen Gillan talks to the Big Issue about new ITVX drama Douglas Is Cancelled, misogyny in the workplace and Doctor Who reunions

by: Adrian Lobb

27 Jun 2024


Karen Gillan has spoken to the Big Issue about the big issues in new ITV drama Douglas is Cancelled, in which she is reunited with former Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat and co-star Alex Kingston.

“The series touches on really important themes,” Gillan said. “The female experience in the workplace, power dynamics –the abuse of power. It shows how women have to deal with that while trying to progress in their profession.

“This was my favourite job ever. It felt like a big reunion and it was so nice and comforting to be back with everyone. I even got to go shopping with Alex Kingston –a bit of mother-daughter bonding time! She’s the most incredible person and actor. I’m in awe of her.”

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Douglas is Cancelled sees Gillan take the lead alongside Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville. They play beloved primetime news anchors Madeline Crow and national treasure Douglas Bellowes.But when the former fans the flame of a Twitterstorm that erupts after allegations are made that her Live At Six co-host told a misogynistic joke at a wedding, careers are in the balance.

“At first Madeline seems like she could be calculated or manipulative. But then we meet her before and what you find is a really innocent, excitable, young woman that’s so enthusiastic about working in this job,” Gillan said.

“And we watch her go through an experience that causes her to put these barriers up. We understand why she ends up the way she does. It’s been necessary for her to survive the workplace. I think it’s true for a lot of workplaces. This happens to be set in the world of television, but it’s relevant to so many professions.”

Steven Moffat’s writing has been criticised for the way he has depicted women. But Karen Gillan insisted this story needed telling.

“My thoughts are that I think it’s an important story to tell,” she said. “And Steven has done such an incredible job telling it. It’s very fair. Playing the lead female role, it felt very empowering. And it showed the reality of what it’s like to be a woman in a profession.

“We need more of these stories are told, regardless of who’s telling the story.”

She also revealed that when she first read the script, there were no thoughts of eventually playing Madeline Crow on the small screen.

“Steven Moffat wrote it as a play originally and shared it with some of his close friends to chip in with thoughts,” revealed Gillan.

“And I was one of those people. So I read it without considering ever playing Madeline. I loved it and went on this campaign to get him to turn it into a film at one point. I thought this story needed to be told. Then suddenly he was making it into a TV show with ITV and wanted me in it.”

To prepare for Douglas is Cancelled, Gillan watched Emily Maitlis interview Prince Andrew. “I was more studying her than him, trying to understand the tone someone might take. It was a very disturbing interview,” she said.

But an obsession and love for another broadcaster informed her portrayal even more. And even though she lives in Los Angeles these days, Gillan never misses a chance to watch her in action.

“God, Susanna Reid is brilliant! I just have to put that out there,” Gillan said. “She has given the men on that show a real run for their money. When are they going to be on her level?

“I watch Good Morning Britain every morning. I think it’s mainly because I’m homesick. There’s something so comforting about it. And it always has a story that makes me cry. We even filmed for Douglas is Cancelled on the set of Good Morning Britain.It was quite trippy for me.”

Douglas is Cancelled is on ITVX and ITV from 27 June. Read the full interview with Karen Gillan in The Big Issue magazine on sale from 1 July.

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Karen Gillan on why Douglas is Cancelled is 'so relevant to so many professions' (2024)
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