Catherine Tate: “Doctor Who was a Dream Job”

As he said goodbye to one of his best friends, the Tenth Doctor said that travelling with Donna Noble was “the best of times”. And now Donna has echoed those words – well, the actor behind her has.

In a recent appearance on Absolute Radio’s The Jason Manford Show, actress Catherine Tate, who portrayed Donna in TV from 2006-10 and then on audio for Big Finish since 2016, described her time on Doctor Who as “a dream job”.

Tate’s first full appearance was in the 2006 Christmas special, The Runaway Bride, where she played said bride. The impracticality of spending a whole Doctor Who episode running in a wedding dress meant the story featured segways, car chases, and TARDIS travel instead.

“I kind of just jumped into Doctor Who saying, ‘oh, this’ll be an adventure’,” Tate reminisced, using words the Tenth Doctor quite probably would have chosen when inviting a potential companion to join him on his travels:

“It was a real game-changer actually in my life, Doctor Who… It was a real dream job. I got a message to say ‘Russell [T Davies, then-showrunner] has written a part for you in a Christmas special, would you do it?’ And I said ‘absolutely’. I didn’t want to see a script because I just thought, what a great thing. I didn’t want to know what it was or anything like that… I didn’t even know what the part was.”

Tate’s lack of sci-fi knowledge has meant she’s sat out watching Jodie Whittaker’s first series as the Doctor, so far.

“I haven’t [watched Series 11] yet – only because I won’t understand them and it makes me feel inferior. But I know she’s brilliant because she’s fantastic.”

Many of Tate’s colleagues, who either starred in the Davies or Steven Moffat eras of the show, have expressed desires to return to the series on TV, but as Tate explains to Manford, it’s out of the actors hands.

“It wouldn’t be up to me because you can’t just turn up on the set uninvited. They don’t like it. Even with my wedding dress. But that would be nice.”

Donna Nobel can next be seen – well, heard in The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Volume 3 from Big Finish, coming in May 2019.