‘Am I bovvered?’ Catherine Tate on her catchphrase and Australian tour
Is Catherine Tate bothered? Hardly.
But she is a little surprised at the way her signature catchphrase has taken on a life of its own.
The acclaimed British sketch comedian and actor has risen to prominence for characters that strike a little too close to home.
In particular, surly schoolgirl Lauren Cooper and her favourite phrase, “Am I bothered?” is an all-too-real look for many.
Not to mention the foul-mouthed, politically incorrect Nana character.
“Lauren is who I was, Nan is who I shall become. I think somewhere [Lauren] walked among me,” Tate joked.
“The greatest compliment you can get when you do characters is when people say, ‘That’s just like someone I know’.
“I think certainly with the old lady character … more often than not I get, ‘That’s just like my mum, that’s just like my neighbour, that’s just like my aunt’. She definitely walks among people.”
Tate to tour Australia
Tate is currently in Australia and has just announced her first ever live stage show Down Under, to come in November.
It will feature all-new sketches from her long list of known characters.
Tate is sure fans will be eagerly waiting to hear the snappy comeback, “Am I bovvered?!” which she first said years ago in a live show and the crowd really reacted.
As people left the theatre Tate could heard them repeating the phrase, and she knew she was onto something.
“It’s a blessing because you can’t sit down and write a catchphrase, it is the audience that actually picks up on something and repeats it back to you,” Tate said.
“I had no idea something would become a catchphrase because it is too difficult to try to second guess what people are going to latch on.
“But it absolutely will follow me around, for sure.”
Tate is a keen watcher of people and picks up on their behaviour. But she has no interest in doing impersonations or political satire.
“It’s not for me, I’m wigs and teeth,” she said.
“I pay more attention to people than I do to politics … I’m not a satirist and I don’t think it would be where my strengths lie.
“There are so many brilliant people who do it for me to wade in.”
After starting in stand-up comedy and landing parts in dramas like The Bill, Tate cemented her fame on Doctor Who and went on to spend years as the “companion” on the hit show.
Her upcoming stage show will include multiple costume changes in a tightly-scripted manoeuvre Tate never thought was possible.
It involves starting with multiple costumes layered over each other, which are quickly peeled off between scenes.
Tate jokes she sheds about 20kg over the course of the show.
“There are so many quick changes and you think you’re never going to be able to do it, you’re just never going to be able to get the wig on, the clothes off and the other clothes on in time.
“It simply is by the mastery of quick-change artists backstage, the hair and make-up people, who just got me into this routine. And it was like magic.”