Catherine Tate was Donna Noble in ‘The Runaway Bride’, and then returned for series 4 and, later, David Tennant’s final episodes. Here are some excerpts from various interviews:
On her childhood
I wasn’t some sort of walking variety act around school. I think my circle of friends would have said I’m funny, but I wasn’t a class jester. Because I was a shy and awkward child I used humour to deflect attention. It was a controlling mechanism. Because I could use it to control my image.
I used to go red when anybody spoke to me. It’s awful because you absolutely cannot control it. If you are a child that blushes, or is shy, the one thing you want in the world is to be the child who comes in and says, ‘Hi’, to everyone and goes up and makes friends. I had one thing – see, your coat is on the floor… I’d think, ‘Oh, coat begins with c, then I would think of someone I knew whose name began with c who I would hate to see crumpled on the floor and then I’d have to pick it up. So it was quite debilitating for a short amount of time.
On playing Donna in ‘The Runaway Bride’
I’m not in the camp that thinks that comedy is a lesser art. People say, ‘Oh you’re acting now?’. With Doctor Who there was a lot of, ‘Oh, why have they asked her?’.
There’s a snobbery attached to comedy. They think it’s acting-lite. It has this connotation that you are not really as good as the proper people.”
On returning to ‘Doctor Who’ for series 4
I couldn’t have been more surprised. I went out to lunch with [executive producer] Julie Gardner and I thought we were just there to chat. When people say, “My jaw hit the floor”, I know what they mean! I made my decision as soon as they suggested it – it just took a while to work out the logistics.
For one brief moment (in the series 4 finale) I was the most important woman in the whole of the universe. Oh gosh, I can’t thank Russell [T Davies] enough for just making that possible. For many people, I’m sure, what a gamble to take on someone like me who is known, by the vast majority of people, for wearing wigs and comedy teeth.
On working with David Tennant
I always struggle to keep up with him because he hasn’t got breasts like I have. Breasts aren’t built for running.
On coming back again (again)
I wouldn’t have thought so, but it is sci-fi so you never know. But there are no plans for me to come back.