Oi, watch it spaceman! There’s a birthday girl on the scene – Donna Noble herself, Catherine Tate, turns 49 today!
Before joining the Whoniverse, Tate was a household name from her success as a comedienne. The Catherine Tate Show ran for three series between 2004 and 2006. It featured a variety of iconic characters like schoolgirl Lauren and the foul-mouthed Nan. Tate was won numerous comedy and TV awards for her performances.
Coinciding with the end of her sketch show, Tate made her first Doctor Who appearance as Donna Noble in Doomsday. She materialised in the TARDIS at the very end of the episode, leaving The Tenth Doctor no time to recover from Rose’s tearful departure. The story continued in The Runaway Bride, where Donna teamed up with The Doctor to unravel a sinister plot by the Racnoss. Before parting ways, The Doctor offered Donna the chance to travel with her, but she declined. She changed her mind by Series 4 though, reuniting with The Doctor to solve the mystery of the Adipose.
“That friend of yours, what was her name?”
The pair would then travel together through time and space sharing lots of fun times and friendly banter. However, their adventures were not without consequence. Their visit to Pompeii would lead to some history-altering events (especially for The Doctor’s future incarnations). Plus, Donna’s parallel world perils in Turn Left would turn out to be one of the most emotional stories of all. Ultimately, Donna helped to save the universe from Davros and the Daleks in Journey’s End by absorbing The Doctor’s meta-crisis regeneration energy. She became part human, part Time Lord – forcing The Doctor to wipe her memories of him to keep her alive. This would not be the last time we saw Donna though. She – and her grandfather Wilf – would also play a vital role in David Tennant’s swansong, The End of Time.
Since leaving Doctor Who, Tate continued to impress as both a comedienne and an actor. She appeared in BBC sitcom Big School and a stage production of Much Ado About Nothing alongside David Tennant. Her best-loved characters got a welcome comeback too – Nan even got her very own series! Tate also returned to Doctor Who as part of the new Tenth Doctor adventures on Big Finish audio. As a fan favourite companion, we’re sure this is only the start of her triumphant return in extended media.
Please join us in wishing Catherine a very Happy Birthday. We hope it’s so fantastic, not even Donna would ever be able to forget it! (Well, wouldn’t that be wizard?)