Catherine

Catherine Tate (née Ford) was born on 12 May, 1968 in Bloomsbury, London. Her mother, Josephine, was a florist, and she never met her father as a child. Since a very early age, Catherine demonstrated certain comedy skills, as she would often impersonate her mother and grandmother, just to have a laugh.

She attented to an all-girls secondary school before being transferred to a boys’ Roman Catholic school at the age of 16, already knowing she wanted to follow a professional acting career. After she finished school she then tried for four years to get a place at the Central School of Speech and Drama (University of London), succeeding on her fourth attempt. She studied there for three years.

Her first role on Television was on a little show called Surgical Spirit. “The casting director used to own a sandwich shop nearby, that I used to go in. And she knew I was about to go to drama college, and gave me an audition. I was about 18, and I was quite nervous – we filmed in Manchester, I didn’t know what I was doing”, Catherine recalls. She also had minor roles on other series such as The Bill and London’s Burning. She’s also appeared on many other comedy series, such as That Peter Kay Thing and Men Behaving Badly. In 1998 she’s written and starred Barked, a skecth show broadcasted on Channel 4.

In 2000, she was at the Edinburgh Film Festival with Lee Mack’s show New Bits. In 2001, she returned to the Festival with her own stand up show after which she was given the role of Angela in BBC Two comedy series Wild West, alongside Dawn French. She continued her career on theatre as well, performing at the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

She was approached in the early 2000s by Geoffrey Perkins (then the BBC controller of comedy) who encouraged her to develop her stand-up character ideas, especially her teenager Lauren Cooper, whose catchphrase Am I Bovvered? would instantly become a fan favourite.

In 2004, she was finally given her own sketch show, which she co-wrote with Darren Litten and was produced by Perkins at Tiger Aspect, The Catherine Tate Show. The show was an enormous success, and she won several awards for it, such as the British Comedy Award for Best Newcomer. The Catherine Tate Show made her one of the most popular comedy actresses in Britain, her characters appeared everywhere, and guest stars and special sketches were frequent. The word “bovvered”, as said by her character Lauren Cooper, was included in the Oxford Dictionary in 2006 and won the title of “Word of the Year”. The Catherine Tate Show ran for 3 series. She was nominated for four BAFTAs.

Catherine also had roles in films, such as Starter for Ten, Sixty Six, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Mrs Ratcliffe’s Revolution, and Love and Other Disasters, all of those filmes in 2006. In 2007 she’s starred The Bad Mother’s Handbook.

In 2007, Catherine gained a whole new public as she was casted to play the role of the Tenth Doctor’s companion Donna Noble, on the long-running sci-fi show Doctor Who. Donna first appeared on the series two Christmas special The Runaway Bride, but later on became a regular character during the fourth series in 2008. For this role she became a lot more popular outside the UK, and up until today Donna is one of the most beloved companions on the whole of Doctor Who.

Never leaving aside her theatre career, she’s also starred the play Under The Blue Sky, at the Duke’s of York Theatre in 2008. During her time in Doctor Who, she and David Tennant became very close friends, and they worked together several times outside the TARDIS. He starred as the Ghost of Christmas Present on her Nan special Christmas sketch in 2009. In 2010 she took part in a series of comedy short films Little Crackers, retelling a moment from her childhood, and also starred in the film adaptation of Gulliver’s Travels.

In 2011 she and David Tennant reunited again in the Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing, at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre. For her performance as Beatrice, Catherine won the Broadway World UK Award for Best Leading Actress in a Play. In 7th season of the American version of The Office she guest starred as Nellie Bertram, remaining until the end of the show at its 9th season.

More recently, she starred alongside David Walliams and Philip Glenister 2013/14 BBC comedy series Big School. In December 2014 she appeared on Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s my Donkey?, and on early 2015 she’s debuted on musical theatre in Sondheim’s Assassins. She now appears on the play The Vote, and has plans for more special sketches starring her character Nan.