Dismay, derision and disbelief. In the main, that was the reaction of Doctor Who fans when the BBC announced that Catherine Tate would team up with David Tennant as the Doctor's permanent companion.
A quick scan of the papers, magazines and online forums reveals two camps; those that love her and those that can't stand the sight of her. She's the Marmite of Saturday night TV. A writer for Doctor Who Online said: "Although I'm a huge fan of Catherine Tate, I have to admit that she wouldn't have been my choice in the role of Donna Noble." The Daily Telegraph sniffed: "Tate is reprising her role as Donna Noble, who joined the Doctor in the Tardis for his 2006 Christmas special [The Runaway Bride]. She makes an unlikely assistant - 14 years older than spunky Billie Piper, and trying to save the planet in a sensible trouser suit." The Guardian's TV blogger didn't hold back: "I am very, very afraid. Having such a well known light entertainment figure cast a Tardis crew member makes me think only of Bonnie Langford who was badly miscast as Mel, companion to the sixth and seventh Doctors in the late 80s. She was awful, and I fear Catherine may be nearly as bad." The most optimistic view I could find was from TV Scoop - they conceded: "Catherine Tate not bad."
It puts me in mind of the negativity Daniel Craig faced when he was revealed as the new James Bond; enthusiasts can be terribly territorial about their obsession y'know. And if the face doesn't fit, fans throw one. But why all the Tate-hate? Whovian detractors insist that she: "can't act"; "mistakes shouting for emoting"; is "too old" and "too famous as a comedienne" for a drama series and that the character of Donna Noble is just plain annoying. Are they right? Have your say.