The Doctor Donna reunite for David Tennant’s podcast and a funny and honest account of what drives Catherine Tate

David Tennant’s podcast continues to serve as a testament to the extraordinary number of talented people he’s known and worked with. This week the light – which is less of a harsh spotlight and more of the soft glow of the dimmer lighting of a dinner party at your mate’s – falls on his former Doctor Who co-star Catherine Tate.

As usual, Tennant’s personal connection proves an advantage. It allows him to gently unearth anecdotes and attitudes from his temporary co-host that feel new and fresh. But more than that, it means his own enthusiasm for learning more about them makes him an excellent avatar for the listener. These are all people the former Doctor Who star genuinely likes, and wants to know more about, and it’s infectious.

The podcast covers a lot of ground and offers some fascinating new insights into Tate’s motivations and history. We learn about her school days as a“painfully shy child… who can not open her mouth without stuttering or turning red,” and the “survival instinct” which kicked in at thirteen years old (“rather than being the ginger one, or the shy one, or the speccy one… I was going to be the funny one.” ) And being expelled from her convent school when she revealed her stage ambitions. (“I said I wanted to be an actress, and what the nuns heard was ‘I want to be a prostitute’”).

Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) Doctor Who - The Unicorn and the Wasp (c) BBC
David Tennant and Catherine Tate together in their Doctor Who days (c) BBC Studios

Tate’s good-natured and witty self-commentary makes for an entertaining and quick moving hour

Perhaps what’s most surprising in this episode is hearing what motivates Tate in her career. The phrases “competitive streak” and “fear of failure” crop up repeatedly. They’re there when she’s determined to get into drama school even after three rejections. And again when revealing she can only sit in her house doing nothing for a week before getting itchy feet. Her slight cynicism about life in general (“not only is my glass half empty… but it’s not what I ordered,”) has fuelled her comedy. Because she fears, without a good laugh to get us through, none of us would get out of bed.

Tennant and Tate compare notes about the knowledge that their epitaphs are already written – that the first paragraph of their obituaries is certain to include the phrases “Doctor Who” and “Am I bovvered?” respectively – before ultimately concluding “how lucky to have an epitaph at all.” But, as Tennant himself notes, it’s a sign of how successful and iconic career Tate has had that these days Donna Noble, Lauren Cooper and Nellie Betram fighting it out for space in that paragraph.

David Tennant Does a Podcast with… Catherine Tate provides just the sort of funny stories you’d expect. But it also gives an honest and unsentimental window into building a career in show business from the ground up. It’s a swift, entertaining and enlightening hour of your time.


Next Week… David Tennant catches up with his Jessica Jones co-star Kristen Ritter


David Tennant does a podcast with… is created in association with Somethin’ Else and No Mystery Productions. Episodes feature David Tennant in conversation with the likes of Jon Hamm, Jodie Whittaker, Krysten Ritter, Michael Sheen, Samantha Bee, Gordon Brown and Ian McKellen.

You can subscribe to David Tennant Does a Podcast with… on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts from. You can also follow the podcast’s new social media accounts.


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