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Catherine Tate (born 12 May 1968) is an Englishmarker actress, writer and comedienne. She has won numerous awards for her work on the sketch comedy series The Catherine Tate Show as well as being nominated for an International Emmy Award and four BAFTA Awards. Following the success of The Catherine Tate Show, Tate played Donna Noble in the 2006 Christmas special of Doctor Who and later reprised her role, becoming the Doctor's companion for the fourth series in 2008.


Tate was born as Catherine Ford in Bloomsburymarker, and brought up in the Brunswick Centremarker. Her mother, Josephine, was a florist, and Tate has said that the character of Margaret in The Catherine Tate Show, who shrieks at the slightest of disturbances, is based largely on Josephine.

Tate never knew her father, as he left very early on in her life, and consequently, she was brought up in a female-dominated environment, being cared for by her mother, grandmother and her godparents. As a child, Tate suffered from an obsessive-compulsive disorder which centred on word association. For example, Tate was not able to leave a jumper on the floor or it might have brought misfortune to her mother whose name began with the letter "J" like jumper.

She attended St Joseph's, Macklin Street, Holbornmarker, a local Roman Catholic primary school. She then attended Notre Dame High Schoolmarker, Southwarkmarker, a south London convent secondary school for girls that was run by nuns. By the time Tate was a teenager, she knew she wanted to follow a professional acting career, and was subsequently sent to a boys' Roman Catholic school, Salesian College marker in Battersea at the age of 16. The school had the necessary facilities for drama. Tate left school without sitting her A-Levels. She then tried for four years to get a place in the Central School of Speech and Drama, succeeding on her fourth attempt. She studied there for three years, and until the age of 26, she lived in Holbornmarker and Bloomsburymarker. Prior to getting a place at the Central School of Speech and Drama, Tate went to the Sylvia Young stage school, but left after a week; "Even at that age I realised I wasn't Bonnie Langford. It was very competitive", she stated.



Tate began her television acting career with roles in serial dramas such as The Bill, and Casualty. Tate started stand-up comedy in 1996, and has appeared in comedy series such as The Harry Hill Show, Barkingmarker and That Peter Kay Thing. She played the part of Kate in the unaired pilot episode of sitcom Not Going Out alongside Lee Mack and Tim Vine.

Soon after, she became involved with Lee Mack's Perrier Comedy Award-nominated New Bits show at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2000. In 2001, she returned to the festival with her own sell-out one-woman show, which was followed by roles in Big Train, Attention Scum and TVGoHome. After being spotted at Edinburgh, she was given the role of Angela in the comedy, Wild West, with Dawn French, who commented "Catherine Tate is far too talented and she must be destroyed."

Tate has also performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and at the National Theatremarker. She acted the role of Smeraldina in a 2000 RSC production of A Servant to Two Masters, and another role in The Way of the World at the National Theatre.


Tate was approached at a post-show party at the Edinburgh Festival by then-BBC controller of comedy Geoffrey Perkins, who encouraged Tate to develop her character ideas, especially to push the boundaries with teenager Lauren Cooper. Undertaking Perkins' advice, after a live show Tate found the audience walking out of the show repeating the character's catchphrase Am I bovvered?

Produced by Perkins at Tiger Aspect, Tate was given her own programme on BBC Two in 2004, which she co-wrote and starred in with Derren Litten, entitled The Catherine Tate Show, which ran for three series in all. Two of the show's well-known characters are teenager Lauren Cooper and Joannie "Nan" Taylor, the cockney grandmother. Tate's inspiration for the cockney grandmother came from visits to old people's homes when she was at drama college. Tate won a British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Newcomer for her work on the first series of The Catherine Tate Show, and with the first series becoming a success, in March 2005, Tate made a guest appearance during the BBC's Comic Relief as the character of Lauren from The Catherine Tate Show, alongside boy-band McFly, which gained her further exposure.

In November 2005, Tate appeared in another charity sketch as part of the BBC's annual Children in Need telethon. The segment was a crossover between EastEnders and The Catherine Tate Show, featuring Eastenders characters Peggy Mitchell, Little Mo Mitchell and Stacey Slater, whilst Tate appeared as Lauren. Also at that time, she was a guest star at the 77th Royal Variety Performance and appeared again in the guise of Lauren Cooper. During the sketch, Tate looked up at the Royal Box and asked The Queen, "Is one bovvered? Is one's face bovvered?". She also commented during the sketch that Prince Phillip had fallen asleep: "she is bling, but the old fella next to her is asleep!" He then reportedly complained to the show's executive producer, saying he had been insulted. Tate later won a British Comedy Award for Best British Comedy Actress for her work in the second series of The Catherine Tate Show. At the end of 2005, she appeared in the BBC television adaptation of Bleak House.

Tate returned to the stage for the first time since working with the RSC, to play a role in the 2005 West Endmarker revival of Some Girl, alongside Sara Powell, Lesley Manville, Saffron Burrows and Friends star David Schwimmer. In an interview, Tate commented that she could not look Schwimmer in the eye during her time with him, leading to speculation that the pair did not get on. Tate immediately denied the rumours, explaining that she was joking about her attempts to act "cool" around Schwimmer, whom she described as "a very funny, personable man, and easy to get along with".


The third series of The Catherine Tate Show aired in 2006, going on to win the National Television Award for most popular comedy as voted for by the public, and Tate's catchphrase "bovvered", used by her character Lauren Cooper, became so influential in popular culture that it was named Word of the Year and was even poised to enter the Oxford English Dictionary. Tate also played the role of Donna Noble in Doctor Who, a woman in a wedding dress who suddenly appears in the TARDIS at the end of the episode "Doomsday". The following episode, the Christmas special entitled "The Runaway Bride", saw Tate's character in a major role, where she was temporarily the Doctor's companion. On her appearance in the series, Tate commented "I'm honoured and delighted to be joining David Tennant aboard the TARDIS. I was holding out for a summer season at Wiganmarker rep but as a summer job, this'll do."

Tate had roles in three films in 2006, these included, Starter for 10, Sixty Six, and Scenes of a Sexual Nature. She later appeared in the films Mrs Ratcliffe's Revolution, in which she played the title character, and Love and Other Disasters.

In the 2007 television adaptation of the novel, The Bad Mother's Handbook, she played the lead role and co-starred with Anne Reid.

On 16 March 2007, Tate appeared for a second time on Comic Relief as some of her well-known characters from The Catherine Tate Show. She acted in sketches with David Tennant, Daniel Craig, Lenny Henry, and the then Prime Minister Tony Blair, who used the show's famous catchphrase, "Am I bovvered?" Tate also appeared as Joannie "Nan" Taylor in an episode of Deal or No Deal, hosted by Noel Edmonds.

End of 2007-present

Despite speculation that the third series of The Catherine Tate Show would be the last, Tate and the BBC have not ruled out further episodes. She later filmed a one-off special episode which aired on Christmas Day 2007. The episode was the subject to criticism when 42 viewers complained about the amount of swearing, and accused Tate of bigotry over the depiction of a Catholic family from Northern Irelandmarker as terrorists, whose Christmas presents included a balaclava and a pair of knuckle dusters, in reference to The Troubles. After the complaints were made, an Ofcommarker report later concluded that the show was not offensive and did not violate broadcasting regulations. An extract from the Ofcom report read "Overall this episode was typical of the Catherine Tate Show and would not have gone beyond the expectations of its usual audience. For those not familiar with the show, the information given at the start was adequate."

She has also been nominated for four BAFTA Award for her work on The Catherine Tate Show to date, including Best Comedy Performance.

Tate returned to Doctor Who in 2008 to reprise the role of Donna Noble as the Doctor's companion throughout the fourth series, which was shown on BBC One starting on 5 April for a 13-week run. Producer Russell T Davies said, "We are delighted that one of Britain's greatest talents has agreed to join us for the fourth series." Tate added, "I am delighted to be returning to Doctor Who. I had a blast last Christmas and look forward to travelling again through time and space with that nice man from Gallifrey." At the TV Quick Awards 2008, Tate was voted best actress for her role in Doctor Who. She will return as Donna Noble in the two-part Doctor Who special due to be broadcast over Christmas 2009.

In 2008 she starred as Michelle, a 38-year-old promiscuous maths teacher, in David Eldridge's Under The Blue Sky at the Duke of York's Theatremarker, London, alongside Francesca Annis and Nigel Lindsay. Tate injured her ankle in rehearsal on 15 July. She tackled previews with the aid of a crutch.

Personal life

Tate's partner is stage manager Twig Clark. They have one daughter, Erin (born at London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in January 2003) with whom Tate was pregnant during the filming of the first series of Wild West and The Catherine Tate Show. Following an emergency caesarean section to deliver Erin, Tate suffered from postnatal depression, from which she only recovered after the filming of the second series. During this difficult period, Clark gave up his work to care for Erin so that Tate could concentrate on her own work.She also suffers from occasional panic attacks, brought on by her propensity for obsessive compulsive behaviour. The family currently has a home in Richmond-upon-Thamesmarker, Londonmarker. She has both a cat and a dog, the latter of which was given to her by fellow comedian Jonathan Ross.Regarding her personal outlook, Tate has said "I'm an incredibly negative person, so any form of success is only ever going to be a relief to me and set my default position back to neutral."

Awards and nominations

(All for her work on The Catherine Tate Show unless otherwise stated)



  • 2004: British Comedy Award — Best TV Comedy Actress
  • 2005: British Comedy Award — Best TV Comedy Actress
  • 2005: British Comedy Award — People's Choice Award (polled most votes but award not received)
  • 2005: International Emmy — Best Performance by an Actress
  • 2005: BAFTA TV Award — Best New Writer
  • 2005: BAFTA TV Award — Comedy Programme or Series Award
  • 2006: BAFTA TV Award — Best Comedy Performance
  • 2007: BAFTA TV Award — Best Comedy Programme
  • 2008: Nickelodeon's UK Kids Choice Awards 2008 - Funniest Person
  • 2008: Nickelodeon's UK Kids Choice Awards 2008 - Best TV Actress (for Doctor Who)
  • 2008: National Television Award - Outstanding Drama Performance (for Doctor Who)


Year Film Role Notes
1990 Surgical Spirit Son's girlfriend
1993 The Bill WDC Palmer
1994 Milner Jesson's P.A.
Men Behaving Badly Young woman
1998-2002 Big Train various roles
2000 That Peter Kay Thing
2001 Attention Scum
2002-2004 Wild West Angela Phillips
2004–2007 The Catherine Tate Show various characters
2005 Bleak House Mrs Chadband
2006 Love and Other Disasters Talullah Wentworth
Starter for 10 Julie Jackson
Sixty Six Aunt Lila
Scenes of a Sexual Nature Sara
2005 Marple Mitzi Kosinski "A Murder is Announced"
Doctor Who Donna Noble "The Runaway Bride"
Series 4 (Full Series)
2009 Christmas specials

2007 Mrs Ratcliffe's Revolution Dorothy Ratcliffe
2009 The Sunday Night Project Herself Guest Host
The Justin Lee Collins Show Herself Guest
Genius Herself Guest
2010 Gulliver's Travels Queen of Lilliput

Radio and CD audio drama

Year Film Role Broadcaster
2008 The Forever Trap Narrator BBC Audio
2009 The Nemonite Invasion Narrator BBC Audio
Jonathan Ross Presenter BBC Radio 2


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