I must admit I didn't see this one coming, but it's a fun surprise. Rumor that actor Tom Ellis would serve as the regular companion in next year's "Doctor Who" fourth season have been shot down this morning as The BBC have confirmed that British comedienne Catherine Tate is taking on the role.
For those unfamiliar with Tate, the British actress is best known for her self-titled series "The Catherine Tate Show" which ran from 2004-2006. The show bears a resemblance to another recent comedy cult classic - "Little Britain" - in that Tate uses make-up extensively to portray assorted characters, half a dozen of which are regular including a bratty school girl, an annoying office worker, and a foul-mouthed grandmother.
Thanks to it, the catch phrase "Am I bovvered?" has become a synonymous part of the British vernacular. Her recent Comedy Relief show included sketches with Daniel Craig (clip), British Prime Minister Tony Blair (clip) and current Doctor Who David Tennant (clip). Who-fans though will mainly remember Tate's work as Donna Noble, the belligerent bride-to-be guest companion in last year's Christmas special episode "The Runaway Bride". The complete episode is available at Stage6.
It's confirmed that Tate will be reprising the Donna role for the full 13-episode fourth season which begins filming this month for broadcast from next Easter. As confirmed earlier, previous companion Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) will return mid-way through the season, and popstar Kylie Minogue will serve as this year's Christmas special guest star.
Finally, in other talk for the fourth year, a few more bits of gossip have popped up. Most notable is that one of the old alien races from the classic series (one not yet seen in the new series) is definitely slated to appear, and from the sounds of it relatively early on - probably around the time of the first two-parter. Speculation has already run rife over which ones are returning with the Sontarans, Ice Warriors, Zygons, Yeti, Silurians & Sea Devils being the most likely candidates.