Doctor Who: What If Catherine Tate Was The Doctor? - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: What If Catherine Tate Was The Doctor?

On Catherine Tate's birthday, Chris Morley imagines the possibilities...
As the Ninth Doctor prepares to return to audio - Christopher Eccleston stepping back into the role he left under such a cloud - let us ponder on a possible different path for the product of his eventual regeneration. For what if, in the days before Chris Chibnall finally gave us a female Doctor, Russell T Davies had chosen to retrospectively in a sense give a new take on the Doctor-Donna of Journey's End and hand the TARDIS key to Catherine Tate as the Tenth Doctor?

And lets not deprive her of a companion, either, for her dynamic with David Tennant could so easily have been reversed to make him the perfect person to accompany her. It isn't so hard a leap of faith to take given that she could bring so much to the role of the Time Lord, not least her emotional range in that one minute she brings the laughs ans the next she can really open her heart, only now she'd have two.....
Looking back maybe she really was the most Doctor-ish of all companions, making this a perfect chance to turn the tables.
DONNA: Donna Noble, Health and Safety. Don't mind me.
CLARE: We deliver within three working days.
DOCTOR: John Smith, Health and Safety. Don't mind me.
Even from that opening snippet of Partners In Crime it's abundantly clear that were you to switch Tate & Tennant those words would still work. You could even go so far as to say that a set-up not unlike The Runaway Bride as an introduction to Tennant's alt-companion could still work, only this time he'd be a groom who was somewhat taken aback as his wedding is disrupted by the arrival of the TARDIS.
DONNA: Who are you?
DONNA: Where am I?
DONNA: What the hell is this place?
DOCTOR: What? You can't do that. I wasn't. We're in flight. That is, that is physically impossible! How did.....
DONNA: Tell me where I am. I demand you tell me right now where am I?
DOCTOR: Inside the TARDIS.
DONNA: The what?
DONNA: The what?
DONNA: The what?
DOCTOR: It's called the TARDIS.
DONNA: That's not even a proper word. You're just saying things.
DOCTOR: How did you get in here?
DONNA: Well, obviously, when you kidnapped me. Who was it? Who's paying you? Is it Nerys? Oh my God, she's finally got me back. This has got Nerys written all over it.
Make a few tweaks and you can very well imagine Tate having fun with Tennant's original lines, delivered exactly as she would have done in the original episode with a little fire in her belly, Tennant in turn taking those adapted for him as the other half of the pair and running with them, bouncing off her as it seems they always did.

Indeed,looking back over it all it seems that if Davies had run with her, he wouldn't necessarily have had to make change just for the sake of it in so many places, so natural is their fit.
You could even perhaps make the case that she might have been even more emotive at several key moments in their travels, giving rise to a Fires Of Pompeii in which she rallies passionately for the need to save everyone while her companion argues for the preservation of history for the greater good, all done in a sort of inversion of the dilemma her First incarnation & Barbara found themselves in during The Aztecs.
BARBARA: We failed.
DOCTOR: Yes, we did. We had to.
BARBARA: What's the point of travelling through time and space if we can't change anything? Nothing. Tlotoxl had to win.
BARBARA: And the one man I had respect for, I deceived. Poor Autloc. I gave him false hope and in the end he lost his faith.
DOCTOR: He found another faith, a better, and that's the good you've done. You failed to save a civilisation, but at least you helped one man.
Give a line of the sort Barbara gets there to the Tate Doctor & the First Doctor's to Tennant & it would still sound relatively fresh on the page- try also with this...
DONNA: You can't just leave them!
DOCTOR: Don't you think I've done enough? History's back in place and everyone dies.
DONNA: You've got to go back. Doctor, I am telling you, take this thing back. It's not fair.
DOCTOR: No, it's not.
Would there even be such a debate? The Tate Doctor would most likely not even have it in her hearts to consider leaving a soul behind, and do all she could to prevent it from happening even if it caused her eventual regeneration before time. "I don't want to go" perhaps becoming "at least I tried", with her eventual departure ensuring the Eleventh Doctor already knew how it felt to be ginger after all.
And indeed before that moment of rebirth they could have had a lot of fun with a tweaked Christmas Invasion introductory moment for the Tate Tenth...
ROSE: Er, different.
DOCTOR: Good different or bad different?
ROSE: Just different.
DOCTOR: Am I ginger?
And for however long, she could've been, so much more than the oh so brief Doctor-Donna.

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