Karen Gillan admitted she found David Bailey as formidable as his reputation when she met the photographer after being cast as his former flame, sixties supermodel Jean Shrimpton, in a new TV drama.

The Doctor Who actress, 24, stars as Shrimpton in the BBC4 story We’ll Take Manhattan, which explores the explosive love affair between “The Shrimp” and the world-famous photographer.

The Scottish actress told the Radio Times she hasn’t been able to meet Shrimpton, who now runs a hotel and avoids public appearances, despite having been inspired by her before she was even cast in the drama.

But she said of coming face-to-face with Bailey in a recent Vogue magazine shoot: “I wasn’t sure if I was going to meet him, then I got this call saying: ‘You’re doing a shoot with David Bailey.’ Never in my wildest dreams did I think that was going to happen. And I’d done so much research on him that I thought I had an idea of what to expect.”

She told the magazine: “He’s a funny one, David Bailey. He plays mind games to provoke his subjects.”

Karen – who’s about to end her run as the Time Lord’s sidekick Amy Pond – felt camera-shy for the first time since she signed up to a modelling agency after dropping out of drama school.

She said: “He kept shouting, ‘Surprise me! Do something!’ He seems to build up your confidence but then knock it back down again. He kept on saying to me, ‘You’re pretty but pretty girls are like red buses.’… He meant being pretty is not enough to make an interesting portrait, essentially.”

Karen told the magazine Shrimpton saw the drama “and left a voicemail saying that she thought it was really accurate, so that was the best compliment I could have”.