The time-traveling Doctor has a new traveling companion: the BBC announced Karen Gillan, 21, will star opposite Matt Smith in the 2010 season of Doctor Who. (Following in the footsteps of Freema Agyeman, who also got a major part in the show after playing a minor one.)

Gillan previously appeared in last year's "Fires Of Pompeii" as a soothsayer, and she's also appeared in the Scottish drama Rebus, plus Stacked, The Kevin Bishop Show and James Nesbitt's forthcoming film Outcast. "When she auditioned alongside Matt we knew we had something special," said Piers Wenger, head of drama for BBC Wales.

New showrunner Steven Moffat also gushes:

Writer and executive producer Steven Moffat said they saw some "amazing actresses" but Gillan "walked through the door the game was up".

He described her as "funny, and clever, and gorgeous, and sexy. Or Scottish, which is the quick way of saying it".

"A generation of little girls will want to be her. And a generation of little boys will want them to be her too," he added.

Insert obligatory comment about how young she is, and how young the new Doctor is, and why can't the Doctor still be a crotchety old man traveling around with a couple schoolteachers and his granddaughter. [BBC News]