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Series / The Catherine Tate Show

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The Catherine Tate Show is a popular British Sketch Comedy (2004-2007) show written and performed by comedienne Catherine Tate, as the name suggests. It is based on a number of regular characters and introduced many catchphrases, including "Am I bovvered?", "What a fucking liberty!", "How very dare you!", "Who, dear? Me, dear? Gay, dear? No, dear!", "Have a guess!", "I can do that!" and "The dirty bastards!"

The best-known recurring characters are Lauren, a cheeky "chav" schoolgirl with attitude; and Nan, a foul-mouthed grandmother.

A one-off Christmas Episode, Nan's Christmas Carol, aired in 2009 and Nan got her own sitcom pilot in 2014 followed by a short series during the 2015-2016 holiday season, and a movie in 2022.

The Catherine Tate Show provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All There in the Manual: The script books gave names to some of the characters who were never named in the show, including the office workers (Kate and Ellen), the croupier from series two (Hayley) and the spy from series three (Laura Powers).
  • Ambiguously Gay: Derek... kind of? Everything about his behavior says he's in the Transparent Closet at best, but he takes terrible offense ("How very dare you!") at anybody who assumes he's anything other than straight.
  • Artistic License – Chemistry: A mild example. In one sketch, Lauren and her friends are in science class, and her teacher quizzes her on the periodic table. After naming quite a few correctly, the teacher asks what "Mi" stands for, which gives Lauren the opportunity to say "Am I bovvered?" "Mi" isn't an abbreviation on the periodic table, but as "M" by itself isn't either, this was presumably the only way they could get the catchphrase in.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Nan's Christmas Carol shows that Nan and her husband had one (although she remembers it very fondly.)
  • Berserk Button: Derek, whenever someone assumes that he is gay.
    Derek: How very dare you!
  • Breakout Character: Nan became the show's most popular/successful character, overtaking Lauren after Lauren was killed off in the 2007 Christmas special. She has made appearances for Comic Relief and Children In Need, and had a Christmas special and sitcom pilot all to herself.
  • British Stuffiness
    • The Aga Saga Woman.
    • The uptight farting woman.
  • Burger Fool: Lauren is revealed to work in a fast food restaurant called Billy's Burger Bar in one sketch, where employees are required to wear a bear mask for an hour during their shifts. When her friends make fun of her while she's masked, she says still ain't bovvered.
  • Cassandra Truth: A lot of what Nan says turns out to be true, although most characters are hesitant to believe her because she regularly speaks in hyperbole and will accuse anyone of anything if it amuses her.
  • Catchphrase: Most of Tate's characters have at least one. In 2006, "bovvered" was named Word of the Year by the Oxford English Dictionary.
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: In the Lauren and Nan sketches.
  • Christmas Episode: Nan's Christmas Carol and three Christmas specials.
  • Comic-Book Time: Lauren remained 15 years old throughout all three series (though one episode in the second series showed her (abortive) wedding, for which she would have had to be at least 16). Nan's date of birth was once given as 1933, but in the Nan pilot (aired in January 2014) she stated that she was 75 years old.
  • Cringe Comedy: The Tactless Woman sketches.
  • Distracted from Death: One sketch involved a woman out with friends who would go to buy a snack and discover on her return that her friends had been killed horribly (such as a shark attack or drive-by shooting)
  • The Eponymous Show
  • Expy
  • Evil Old Folks: Nan, in spades.
  • Failed a Spot Check: In one sketch, a police detective is forced to take her kids to a crime scene with her as she can't get a babysitter in time. When they play around with a dead prostitute's corpse (even drawing cat whiskers on the body and poking it with sticks) she treats this as a minor irritation and just casually asks another officer to put the deceased back how they were.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: The entire point of the Posh Family sketches, where something very mundane and ordinary (eg. almost running out of extra virgin olive oil or not using organic eggs in an egg and spoon race) is treated as a massive crisis.
  • Flanderization: In the second and third series.
  • Gratuitous French: Lauren's French teacher accuses the girl that she can't be bothered to learn the language or understand its people, and threatens to fail her for the entire module. What follows is Lauren's catch phrase and other mannerisms, en français.
    Lauren: Suis-je bovvéred? Regardez mon visage. Est-ce que mon visage bovvéred? (...) Est-ce que vous disrespectez ma famille?!
  • Grave Humor: With the death of Lauren in the 2007 Christmas special.
  • Hidden Depths: Lauren reciting all of Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 ("My mistress's eyes are nothing like the sun") from memory in the 2007 Comic Relief sketch featuring David Tennant. This comes after she says "Reading's for losers," which means she either secretly enjoys reading Shakespeare or she memorised the sonnet out of pure spite.
  • I Resemble That Remark!
    • The Ghost of Christmas Present when Nan calls him effiminate.
    • Derek when he is assumed to be gay denies is while mentioning something about himself that seems gay.
  • Incompatible Orientation/Oblivious to Love: Bernie doesn't notice a lesbian nurse's very obvious flirting with her, until the girl passionately declares that she loves Bernie, at which Bernie is shocked: "I like a bit of Patsy Cline but that's as far as I'm willing to take it!"
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Nan; her Christmas Carol episode had flashbacks to her past where she was an adorable little girl, a Sexy Sweater Girl type in the 50s, and an attractive housewife in the 70s. Of course it helps she's played by Catherine Tate without the make up.
  • Jerkass: Does it really need to be said?
  • Lower-Class Lout: Lauren plays the chav stereotype for laughs.
  • Mistaken for Gay
    • Derek, though in this case he's probably just in deep denial.
    • Nan constantly refers to Grandson as gay, but it's probably For the Evulz - she sometimes sees him with a female partner.
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: After spending several episodes trying to get pregnant via a sperm donor, Elaine thinks she's finally succeeded, only to find she's actually having an early menopause.
  • Motor Mouth: Lauren especially. After she says "Am I bovvered?" the first time, she doesn't stop.
  • My Biological Clock Is Ticking: Happens to Elaine in series three, causing her to decide to have a baby by way of a sperm donor.
  • No Longer with Us: In one of the "information-desk worker" sketches from series one.
  • Northern Irish And Nasty: Played for Laughs. John's mother is a hard-talking Belfast woman who's aggressively supportive of her gay son.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: In the Nan special, the council worker Nan visits to ask for her taps fixed.
  • One of the Kids: Bunty, a woman in her 30s who demands to perform in a children's majorette team since technically there are no rules against it.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted - the show features two recurring Sandras and Amandas played by Tate.
  • "Mister Sandman" Sequence: "Nan's Christmas Carol" has several: A big band style instrumental of "Winter Wonderland" for the late 30s/early 40s, Elvis Presley's "Christmas Is Back In Town" for the 50s, and Wizzard's "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday" for the 70s.
  • Repetitive Name: Aga Saga Woman's son is Thomas Taylor-Thomas. There's also a Fergus Fitzroy-Ferguson and a Henry Harvey-Henry in his school.
  • Running Gag: Arguably Overused Running Gag.
  • Screaming Woman: One sketch featured a character who would constantly scream at everyday occurrences or quiet noises, such as crunching, a phone ringing, or finding a Post-It note left for her.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Nan, and how.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Nan. "What a fucking liberty!" "Take a fucking chill pill, you!" "It's too fucking!"
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: Used to censor Nan during her appearance in a charity sketch for Children In Need 2013.
  • Special Guest: Including Bonnie Langford, Peter Kay, George Michael, Charlotte Church, Paul Whitehouse, Una Stubbs, Patsy Palmer, Paul O'Grady, Daniel Craig, David Tennant, Philip Glenister, Noel Edmonds, Leslie Phillips and even the then Prime Minister Tony Blair (for a charity sketch).
  • Straight Gay: The whole point of the "Have You Heard about Our John?" sketches. A young, working-class Irishman named John tells his parents that he is gay, and they're accepting of him—and really interested in his homosexuality. John isn't stereotypical in any way—he loves football, hangs out with straight friends, and is generally very masculine—but everyone else he knows, from his mother to his grandmother to a local priest to a gang of tough-looking guys, constantly ask him questions about fashion and interior design, or press him about his sex life. It's taken up to eleven in the Christmas special, when John's mother gives him a chocolate penis as a present, and his grandmother offers him money to "go out and get himself a rent boy, on her."
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: The Aga Saga family are horrified by simple tasks like running the dishwasher themselves. They're also convinced frozen food, yogurt one day past its sell-by date, and egg-and-spoon racing with non-organic eggs will kill you, and treat anyone who's working class or from Oop North like unstable troglodytes.
  • Suck E. Cheese's: B.B.J.'s, the burger restaurant featured in the "Amanda the Waitress" sketches. Most of the customers are harried people who want a simple bite to eat, but the overly-perky Amanda insists on treating everyone like they're five years old. That, coupled with the fact that ordering nearly everything on the menu makes the entire waitstaff start singing and dancing, leads to an unpleasant experience.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Derek's responses when people assume he is gay.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The "Snack Lady" sketches go completely over the top with killing off Catherine's character's acquaintances—for instance, an entire apartment complex implodes on itself with her boyfriend inside, or her newly-engaged friend is hit about twenty times in a bloody drive-by shooting.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: In the Christmas Special, when Nan refuses to let her family members stay and leaves them out in the cold, her grandson decides this is the worst thing she's ever done and cuts her out of his life. With intervention from The Ghosts of Christmas Present, Past, and Future, she decides to treat them better.
  • Transparent Closet: Derek ... maybe.
  • Uncanny Family Resemblance: Bernie has a large number of siblings all identical to her.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The punchline of the "Snack Lady" sketches. Each one features Catherine's character briefly leaving an exciting scenario (her and her boyfriend buying their first flat, a friend telling her that she's engaged, and a coworker joining her for a beach vacation) to get a bag of snacks. While she's gone, something ludicrously horrible happens to her companion (in order: the entire apartment building violently collapsing with the boyfriend inside, the friend being attacked in a drive-by shooting, and the coworker being eaten by a shark). When Catherine's character returns, she doesn't react in the slightest, and simply munches on the snack while observing the carnage.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol