Catherine Tate (born 5 December 1969) played Donna Noble in the closing moments of Doomsday and the following Christmas special, The Runaway Bride. She returned as a continuing companion to the Tenth Doctor in series 4. After Series 4, she returned to the role in The End of Time and Big Finish's audio adventures.
Early life[edit | edit source]
The date and even year of her birth is inconsistent across various sources. One of the possible dates is 12 May 1968 (12/05/68). Another account holds that she was born on 5 December 1969 (05/12/69). According to Tate herself, the correct date is 5 December 1969, and "it's always wrong" on online sources like Wikipedia, and the American abbreviation of dates often plays a part in the confusion.
Tate was born in Bloomsbury, London and brought up in the Brunswick Centre. Her mother was a florist. She attended St Joseph's, Macklin Street, a local Catholic primary school, then Notre Dame High School, Southwark, a south London convent secondary school. She studied for A-levels in the sixth form of Salesian College, Battersea, another south London secondary school, before training at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Career[edit | edit source]
Television[edit | edit source]
Tate began her acting career with roles in serial dramas such as Casualty. In 2001, she played Smeraldina in a Royal Shakespeare Company production of A Servant to Two Masters. She appeared in comedy series such as The Harry Hill Show, Big Train, Wild West, Attention Scum and That Peter Kay Thing before being given her own programme, which she co-wrote with Derren Litten.
The Catherine Tate Show[edit | edit source]
Tate co-wrote and starred in her own comedy sketch programme called The Catherine Tate Show. Despite speculation that the third series would be the last, Tate and the BBC have not ruled out further series or episodes. In an interview on The Paul O'Grady Show on 18 December 2006 Tate indicated that a fourth series was unlikely but hoped to film a one-off special episode in 2007.
In March 2005, she made an appearance in the BBC's Comic Relief in character as Lauren from The Catherine Tate Show, alongside boy-band McFly. In November 2005, as part of the BBC's annual Children in Need telethon, Tate appeared in an EastEnders sketch, again as Lauren. The sketch saw Lauren arrive in Walford in search of revenge on Stacey, who had apparently stolen her boyfriend. After arguing with Peggy, Lauren left The Queen Victoria pub after uttering some famous lines from the soap, including "Hello Princess" and "Rickaay!", along with her usual catchphrase, "Bovvered?". Also in November, Tate was a guest star at the 77th Royal Variety Performance as Lauren, accompanied by her friends Ryan and Liese. In the sketch Lauren looked up at the Royal Box and asked the Queen; "Is one bovvered? Is one's face bovvered?" .
Other television roles[edit | edit source]
At the end of 2005 she appeared in the award-winning BBC television adaptation of Bleak House.
Doctor Who[edit | edit source]
In 2006, Tate made an appearance in the closing few moments of Doomsday, appearing as a character referred to in the closing credits simply as "The Bride". According to David Tennant in his DVD commentary for the episode, extreme secrecy was maintained for her cameo (due to her star status in the UK, although the impact was lost on American and Canadian viewers unfamiliar with her). Tennant claimed only he and a few others knew she would be appearing and her scene was shot while the rest of the cast and crew were attending the wrap party for the season.
Her cameo led into the 2006 Christmas special, The Runaway Bride in which Tate returned, her character now named Donna Noble. This appearance was originally intended as a one-off. Tate commented on her role: "I was holding out for a summer season at Wigan rep but as a summer job, this'll do." 
A few months later, Tate and Tennant appeared together in a sketch for Comic Relief in which Tate played her signature character, Lauren Cooper, and Tennant played a substitute schoolteacher who turns out to be the Doctor in disguise. After enduring Lauren-style taunts about his accent and whether he "fancied Billie Piper", the "Doctor" changes Lauren into a Rose Tyler action figure with his sonic screwdriver.
Tate's appearance in The Runaway Bride garnered mixed reviews from fans and critics, but when Freema Agyeman announced she was leaving Doctor Who after the 2007 series, the producers returned to Tate and announced that Donna Noble would return for series 4, to be broadcast in 2008. The announcement resulted in substantial negative feedback from vocal fans who did not want "Lauren" in the TARDIS (once again, however, this backlash was almost exclusively UK-only, as Tate was an unknown quantity overseas, although DVDs of The Catherine Tate Show began to be released in North America around the time she joined the series).
Donna returned to the series in Partners in Crime in April 2008. Within a few episodes she had won over many of her critics. Tate acted alongside both of her predecessors, Billie Piper and Freema Agyeman, as well as John Barrowman's Jack Harkness and Elisabeth Sladen's Sarah Jane Smith. Donna Noble left with Journey's End, though the possibility of her returning to the series was not ruled out. In fact, according to Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale - The Final Chapter Tate said she would have gladly returned for another season.
Tate's popularity on the show is illustrated by the warm response she received when she introduced a portion of the July 2008 BBC Proms concert dedicated to Doctor Who. In October 2008, Tennant and Tate were nominated in the same category at the National Television Awards for Outstanding Drama Performance. Tennant won, but as he was unable to be present due to his theatre commitments, and having just announced his intention to leave the series, he asked Tate to accept the award on his behalf, joking with Tate that she should have won it.
Tate continued her involvement with the franchise into 2009, recording two original audio adventures for BBC Audio: The Forever Trap and The Nemonite Invasion. At the end of 2009 she reprised Donna for the two-part story The End of Time.
Also beginning in 2009, Tate and David Tennant formed an informal radio-host partnership. On at least three occasions as of February 2010 they co-hosted BBC Radio's Jonathan Ross Show as guest hosts.
In 2013, Tate returned to the Doctor Who universe, narrating Death's Deal, the penultimate story of the 50th anniversary audio series Destiny of the Doctor, before reprising the role of Donna Noble for Big Finish Productions.
Film and theatre[edit | edit source]
Tate has had roles in numerous films and theatre productions roles. These films included; Starter for Ten, Sixty Six, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Mrs Ratcliffe's Revolution, in which she plays the title character, Love and Other Disasters, Billionaire Boy, and Nativity 3 (Dude Where's The Donkey).
In 2005, Tate acted in the West End play Some Girl(s) with Friends star David Schwimmer, Sara Powell, Lesley Manville and Saffron Burrows. In an interview Tate commented that she could not look Schwimmer in the eye during her time with him, leading to speculation that they did not get on. Tate immediately denied the rumours, explaining that she was joking about her attempts to act "cool" around the actor, whom she described as "a very funny, personable man, and easy to get along with". In 2006 she starred in The Exonerated at the Riverside Studios and in 2008 acted in the West End play Under the Blue Sky. In 2010-2011, she played a lead role in Seasons Greetings at the National Theatre alongside Mark Gatiss. In 2011, Tate reunited with Tennant to play the lead roles of warring lovers in Much Ado About Nothing. Also in 2011 she played God in 66 Books at the Bush Theatre, which also starred Arthur Darvill and Shaun Dingwall. In 2013, she provided the voice of Nora the Sheep in the 3D animated film Khumba. And in March 2016 she appeared in the musical comedy Miss Atomic Bomb.
Awards[edit | edit source]
Tate's turn on her eponymous show received much critical praise. She won a British Comedy Award in both 2004 and 2006 for her work. It also earned her a Royal Television Society Award in 2006. Catherine Tate also resulted in her being a four-time BAFTA nominee, and a one-time International Emmy Award nominee.
Her work on Doctor Who earned her a National Television Award nod, but since she was in the un-gendered category of "Outstanding Drama Performance", she was in direct competition with David Tennant, the winner.
Personal life[edit | edit source]
Tate has one child, a girl named Erin (born 2003) with her ex-partner, Twig Clark. They live in Richmond, London.
[edit | edit source]
- Internet Movie Database at the
- British Comedy Guide at the
- BBC Comedy - Catherine Tate
- BBC Comedy Guide - The Catherine Tate Show
Footnotes[edit | edit source]
- Famous Birthdays
- DWDVDF 132
- REF: Who-ology: The Official Miscellany
- Catherine Tate. British Comedy Guide. Retrieved on 10 September 2019.
- Maxwell, Dominic (29 November 2010). Catherine Tate, quite a character. The Times. Retrieved on 13 May 2020.
- Gibson, Owen (23 December 2005). The Guardian profile: Catherine Tate. The Guardian. Retrieved on 10 September 2019.
- Greenstreet, Rosanna (29 April 2006). Q&A: Catherine Tate. The Guardian. Retrieved on 10 September 2019.
- Big Finish (12 May 2020). She's so fab, we have to celebrate her twice a year. Retrieved on 13 May 2020.