Catching Up with Catherine Tate: 10 Things You Never Knew About the 'Doctor Who' Actress
Earlier this week Catherine Tate hilariously pranked her Doctor Who co-star David Tennant, reminding us how much we loved her companion, Donna Noble, and how much we enjoy Tate's playful sense of humor. So, it seems like a fine excuse to reconnect with the British actress – who's also known for her BBC sketch series The Catherine Tate Show and her stint on the American version of The Office – and find out a little more about her.
1. Her birth name was actually Catherine Ford.
But she changed her surname to Tate when she joined Equity, the U.K.'s theater union.
2. She grew up in The Brunswick Centre, a Grade II listed residential and shopping center in Bloomsbury, central London.
It's a distinctive modernist development that's been used as a shooting location for various movies and TV shows including Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, The Interceptor, and '70s Jack Nicholson film The Passenger.
3. As a teenager, she acted in a National Youth Theatre production with Daniel Craig.
And later reconnected with him in a special extended sketch for U.K. Red Nose Day. Craig's deadpan comedy chops are pretty darn impressive.
4. She was expelled from her convent school when she revealed she wanted to act.
“I said I wanted to be an actress, and what the nuns heard was ‘I want to be a prostitute,’” Tate recalled on a recent episode of Tennant's podcast.
5. Tate says she was "shy and awkward" during her school days, and used her sense of humor to deflect attention away from her.
"When I realized I had a facility for humor, I latched on to it, and it gave me confidence and I built my personality around it," Tate told The Guardian in 2008. "So I subconsciously made myself become the funny one so that would be my label rather than the ginger one or the red-faced one."
6. Adele dressed as Tate's popular Nan character at her 29th birthday party.
And here's a reminder of Nan from when Tate appeared as her, in character, on The Graham Norton Show.
7. Although she starred in Doctor Who, she says she doesn't always understand it.
Earlier this year Tate said playfully that she hadn't watched any of Jodie Whittaker's Doctor Who episodes "because I won’t understand them and it makes me feel inferior." Discussing her own stint on the show, she recalled: "I kind of just jumped into Doctor Who saying, 'Oh, this will be an adventure.' It was a real game-changer actually in my life, Doctor Who. I absolutely loved it. But it doesn’t make me a sci-fi aficionado! I still don’t know what goes on, and I wasn’t quite aware what was going on to me.”
8. Her Doctor Who co-star David Tennant made two guest appearances on her BBC sketch show.
In a special sketch for U.K. Red Nose Day, he played a teacher getting to grip's with Tate's sulky schoolgirl, Lauren, one of her most popular characters.
9. Fellow Doctor Who companion Bonnie Langford also guested on her sketch show.
Langford, who played Mel Bush, companion to Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy's Doctors in the '80s, appeared as herself in a sketch with Tate's character Derek Faye, a camp middle-aged man who doesn't like people to presume he's gay. Warning: some of the language in this one is a little fruity.
10. Tate doesn't drink alcohol because she dislikes "the loss of control."
And she doesn't like that quintessential English drink, a cup of tea, either!
What's your favorite Catherine Tate moment?