|Birth date:||12 May 1968 |
|In the DWU|
|Main roles:||Donna Noble|
|Notable non-DWU work:||The Catherine Tate Show |
Catherine Tate née Ford (born 12 May 1968) played Donna Noble in the closing moments of Doomsday and the following Christmas special, The Runaway Bride. She returned as a continuing companion for Series 4. She is an English comedienne and actress best known for the BBC Two sketch comedy series The Catherine Tate Show.
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.
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
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
At the end of 2005 she appeared in the award-winning BBC television adaptation of Bleak House.
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 REF: 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 TV: 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.
Film and theatre
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, and Love and Other Disasters.
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.
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.
Tate has one child, a girl named Erin (born 2003) with her ex-partner, Twig Clark. They live in London.